Pixel Scroll 12/14/16 The Wee Pawn Shops Of Ishtar

(1) ATTENTION ON DECK. Star Trek: Discovery has cast its lead reports Entertainment Weekly.

Sonequa Martin-Green, well known to genre fans for her role on AMC’s mega-hit The Walking Dead, has been cast as the lead of Star Trek: Discovery, sources tell EW.

The casting ends meticulous search to find the ideal actress to anchor the eagerly anticipated new CBS All Access drama. Martin-Green will play a lieutenant commander on the Discovery. (CBS Television Studios had no comment.)

Martin-Green is will continue to serve as a series regular on AMC’s zombie drama, where she has played the tough pragmatic survivor Sasha Williams since season 3

(2) CREATOR OF KRAZY KAT. The Washington Post has a review by Glen David Gold of Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand, a 600-page biography of the creator of “Krazy Kat.” Tisserand explains why Herriman was so subversive, literary, and weird that his fans included T.S. Eliot and Umberto Eco.

Genius is simplicity. A dog, who is a policeman, loves a cat who loves a mouse. The mouse throws bricks at the cat, and the policeman jails him. Some aspect of this, more or less every day, for more or less 30 years, was the comic strip “Krazy Kat.” In isolation it seems as though it dropped out of the sky, and when its creator died in 1944, to the sky it returned. It has since been recognized as one of the greatest American comic strips, a mix of surrealism, Socratic dialogue, low-rent vaudeville, jazz improvisation, Native American motifs and, as it turns out, a subtle — so subtle no one seems to have noticed at the time — commentary on the peculiar notion of race.

(3) FOLLOW THE MONEY. A Reuters infographic charts the cumulative weekly box office take of all previous Star Wars movies, for those who want to see if the new release is as successful.

With the release of Rogue One, the first Star Wars anthology film, Disney is hoping to expand the Star Wars universe with stories that run outside of and in tandem with the main saga

(4) NEED FOR SPEED. Jay Leno’s Garage had Neil DeGrasse Tyson go to JPL to drive the Mars Rover, reports John King Tarpinian. There’s also a YouTube clip of Tyson along for a different ride “Jay Leno Blows Out The Window In His Jet Car.”

Blast off! Jay Leno takes Neil DeGrasse Tyson for a ride in his jet car. Built in Jay’s garage, the EcoJet has 650 hp and a Honeywell LTS-101 turbine engine. Watch the season finale of Jay Leno’s Garage Wednesday, December 14 at 10p ET/PT on CNBC!

 

(5) NAUGHTY OR NICE. The BBC tells how a gaming company dealt with a “troll”: “Fable video game team hunted down troll”.

The images had been posted to Lionhead’s own forums, which gave the staff access to the internet protocol (IP) address of the person who had uploaded them.

IP addresses can easily be traced back to a physical location through a variety of online tools, assuming the user has not taken steps to conceal the details.

In this case, the 16-year-old culprit had not taken the precautionary measure.

“We knew where the guy was living and managed to get a hold of the guy’s high school record through a mate, including the poem that he had recited at his end of year [class],” Mr Van Tilburgh said.

“We wrote a public message as Lionhead Studios to the group Kibitz and we started the message with the opening lines of the poem he had recited in high school, and we included the landmark he could see from his house where he lived.

“And I said, ‘You have got to stop this now otherwise I pass all this information on to your mum.’

Chip Hitchcock comments, “I’d have called this induhvidual a hacker or thief, but the interesting feature to me is the civil-liberties issue the article completely ignores. I wonder whether the gaming co. tried talking to the police or just assumed that would be useless (or at least not as effective as vigilantism).”

(6) FOX OBIT. Bernard Fox, who specialized in playing eccentric Englishmen on American television, has died at the age of 89 says The Hollywood Reporter. A popular actor who got a lot of work, he found some of his bit parts resulted in repeated callbacks.

Fox appeared as Dr. Bombay on 19 episodes of Bewitched, which ran from 1966-72, and then reprised the role on the 1977 sequel Tabitha, in 1999 on the soap opera Passions and on a 1989 episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

In a 1998 interview, Fox said he drew inspiration for Dr. Bombay from a man he served with in the Royal Navy during World War II.

“He was the officer in charge of the camp that we were in, and it was an all-male camp, and one evening, I was on duty and we got six Women’s Royal Naval Service arrived to be put up,” he recalled.

“So I went to this officer and said, ‘What shall I do?’ And he said, ‘Oh, I don’t know, give ’em a hot bran mash, some clean straw and bed ’em down for the night.’ And I thought, ‘What a great way to play [Dr. Bombay.]’ And that’s the way I played him, and [the Bewitched writers] just kept writing him back in.

“If I’d just gone for an ordinary doctor, you wouldn’t have heard any more about it. But because I made him such a colorful character, that’s why they wanted him back; he was easy to write for. They came up with the idea of him coming from different parts of the world all the time and in different costumes; that was their idea. The puns, I came up with, and in those days, they let you do that.”

Fox’s genre credits include the movies Munster, Go Home!, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Yellowbeard, and The Mummy, and appearances in episodes of TV series The Flintstones (voice), I Dream of Jeannie, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild, Wild West, Night Gallery, Fantasy Island, and Knight Rider.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 14, 1972  — The end of an era: Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan re-entered the lunar lander — the last man to walk on the moon.
  • December 14, 2005King Kong remake debuts.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRLS

  • Born December 14, 1916 — Horror novelist Shirley Jackson.
  • Born December 14, 1946 – Actress Dee Wallace

(9) WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN? This gallery of 10 actors who have played Darth Vader wouldn’t make a good clickbait quiz because you wouldn’t remember half of them.

(10) POP-UP MUSIC. James Davis Nicoll asked his Facebook friends, “Has anyone done an angry song from Hermione’s point of view? Perhaps called ‘No, I won’t do your god-damned homework.’” His question inspired JTigwell to instantly create one. Tune in at Soundcloud – “(Hermione) I won’t do your fucking homework”

Nicoll has the complete lyrics at More Words, Deeper Hole. Here’s the last verse —

I know you’re always saying,
I’m the girl who has no fun,
But listen up here boy who lived,
I’m the girl who gets shit done

(11) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #16. The sixteenth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for an autographed copy of a Blaze Ward novel AND a Tuckerization.

Today’s auction comes from author Blaze Ward, for an autographed trade paperback copy of AUBERON and a Tuckerization (meaning you’ll show up as a minor character) in one of Ward’s forthcoming books. You can be either a hero or a villain — your choice!

About the Book:

Jessica Keller faces court martial for disobeying a direct order. Her actions also prevented a massacre during the latest starship battle between the Republic of Aquitaine Navy (RAN) and the Freiburg Empire.

What does this maverick commander have to do to impress the RAN high command? To get the Freiburg Empire to declare her a threat? And at what cost to herself?

Auberon–the first novel in The Chronicles of Jessica Keller–combines adventuring to distant stars with seat-of-the-pants excitement. A fascinating expansion to the Alexandria Station universe.

(13) NEW YORK SF FILM FESTIVAL. The first New York Science Fiction Film Festival takes place January 20-22. It’s only a conflict for those of you with Inauguration Ball tickets – which is to say, none of you at all.

The festival will serve as a meeting place where creativity and expression takes center stage with a highly acclaimed lineup of science fiction, horror, supernatural and fantasy films and virtual reality entertainment. Valuing the importance of filmmakers from all walks of life, the festival presents to audiences modern masterpieces where storytelling transcends expectations and possibilities are endless.

Highlights include the USA premiere of Marcos Machado’s UFO’s in Zacapa (Ovnis en Zacapa) (2016), the NYC premiere of Marco Checa Garcia’s 2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be (2016) and the East Coast premiere of Ian Truitner’s Teleios (2016). Among its many gems, the festival is also proud to screen Hiroshi Katagiri’s Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016) starring Doug Jones (Hellboy) and Lance Henriksen (Alien), Lukas Hassel’s Into the Dark (2014) starring Lee Tergesen (The Strain) and a prominent virtual reality block featuring Ben Leonberg’s Dead Head (2016) and Ryan Hartsell’s I’ll Make You Bleed (2016) set to the music of the band These Machines are Winning.

The festival will run on January 20, 2017 at Instituto Cervantes (211 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017), January 21, 2017 at Producers Club (358 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036) and The Roxy Hotel Cinema (2 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013) and January 22, 2017 at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue [at 2nd Street], New York, NY 10003).

(14) BUT THERE ARE NO OLD BOLD COLD EQUATIONS. Paul Weimer has worked up a great Twitter thread based on the discussion of “The Cold Equations” here at File 770.

(15) POPULARIZING SF IN CHINA. The Hugo-winning author is the genre’s spearhead in China – “’People hope my book will be China’s Star Wars’: Liu Cixin on China’s exploding sci-fi scene” in The Guardian.

When he was a schoolboy, Liu Cixin’s favourite book was Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. This might seem like a fairly standard introduction to science fiction, but Liu read it under exceptional circumstances; this was at the height of the Cultural Revolution, in his native China, and all western literature was strictly forbidden….

But more than 40 years ago, growing up in a coal-mining city in the Shanxi province, a young Liu found the book that would alter the course of his life, hidden in an old box that once belonged to his father.

“No science-fiction novels were published, and people did not have any notion of scientific imagery,” Liu recalls. “At the time, almost all the translated novels from the west were strictly banned, so I had to read it in secret. This very book turned me into a sci-fi fan.”

It wasn’t until the late 1970s, when China experienced economic reform and the strictures on western literature were relaxed, that science fiction was translated widely into Chinese. With this came a sudden surge of Chinese authors writing in the genre – and Liu wanted to be one of them. But instead of studying literature, he got a job as a power-plant engineer in Yangquan. But what looks like a career diversion was entirely strategic: the stability of his career meant he could write, he says.

“For about 30 years, I stayed in the same department and worked the same job, which was rare among people of my age. I chose this path because it allowed me to work on my fiction,” he says. “In my youth, when I tried to plan for the future, I had wished to be an engineer so I could get work with technology while writing sci-fi after hours. I figured that if I got lucky, I could then turn into a full-time writer. Now looking back, my life path has matched my design almost precisely. I believe not a lot of people have this kind of privilege.”

(16) NASA VISUALS. NASA now is sharing its best images on Pinterest and GIPHY.

On Pinterest, NASA is posting new and historic images and videos, known as pins, to collections called pinboards. This social media platform allows users to browse and discover images from across NASA’s many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight, and more, and pin them to their own pinboards. Pinboards are often used for creative ideas for home decor and theme-party planning, inspiration for artwork and other far-out endeavors. To follow NASA on Pinterest, visit:

https://www.pinterest.com/nasa

NASA also is now on GIPHY, a database and search engine of animated images in GIF format. Users can download and share the agency’s creations on their own social media accounts, and can be used to create or share animated GIFs to communicate a reaction, offer a visual explanation, or even create digital works of art. These GIFs are accessible directly from the Twitter app. Just tap or click the GIF button in the Twitter tool bar, search for NASAGIF, and all NASA GIFs will appear for sharing and tweeting.

To see NASA’s animated GIFs on GIPHY, visit:

http://giphy.com/nasa

iss-wave

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

99 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/14/16 The Wee Pawn Shops Of Ishtar

  1. From time to time my mind returns to my favorite “Eek and Meek” strip. Meek, a mouse, is hit from behind by a snowball thrown by Monique, another mouse. “Are you crazy?” splutters Meek, “Where do you get a snowball in the middle of July?”
    “Oh, you know,” says Monique casually, “A flake here, a flake there…”

  2. fifth!

    The graph of Star Wars income would be a lot more interesting if corrected for inflation. And can anybody guess what the dotted lines in the ANH curve stand for? (I’m amused to note how long that curve is compared to the others, especially since I saw it six times over ~5 months in the same theater.)

  3. (5) Ahahahhaha! “Tried talking to the police!” About wrongdoing on the internet! Very droll Mr. Hitchcock, very amusing indeed!

    Meanwhile, the TOR people are muttering, “Hey kid if you had just used us, they’d never have caught you.”

  4. (14) I don’t see any argument being presented as to why my reaction to “The Cold Equations” is supposed to be any more significant than my reaction to any other story. I just see that several other people have had opinions about it.

  5. (14) @Eli: I think his point is that “The Cold Equations” is a story which tends to elicit strong reactions from most readers, and also that those reactions vary widely.

    In other words, the fact that many people have many opinions on the story is precisely what makes it interesting to Weimer.

    And, of course, a Rorschach test, not a litmus test 🙂

  6. (5) Ummm. “He trolled us, we doxxed him”?

    The move could have backfired and created a scandal for Lionhead ahead of Fable’s release. Mr Van Tilburgh acknowledged that the studio’s legal team was only told of the matter at a later point.

    But he added that the risk paid off.

    “He kept quiet and he was a very kind polite boy after that,” he said.

    Well that’s totally OK then. :-/

  7. (2) Excellent! I haven’t looked at any Krazy Kat strips in years. I feel I didn’t fully appreciate it in the past. With Tony Millionaire retiring Maakies, my interest in comic strips has suddenly flared up.

    (5) “I wonder whether the gaming co. tried talking to the police or just assumed that would be useless ”

    Uh… you don’t need to assume talking to the police about that would be useless, any more than you need to assume you’ll stick to the sidewalk as you walk down the street. I find it hard to believe that anyone in 2016 would think the police would have done anything at all. You have to cross a line defined by damage in dollars before the police will do anything significant.

    When not rules-lawyering the definition of neo-Nazi this week, I’ve been reading:

    Thief of Time, Pratchett.
    This was probably my favorite Discworld book yet.

    A Cold-forged Flame, Marie Brennan
    Recommended by a Filer some time ago. I noticed it on my Kindle when I had just a little time to read, decided to check it out, and remembered that it was recommended as being a tightly written story with good action and characterization, because that’s what it was. I think there is another novella or something written within this world, and I’m looking forward to checking it out.

    To Ride a Rathorn, P.C. Hodgell
    My current read. Hodgell seems to be having a lot of fun with this series, taking her time to explore her insane world. The last book (Seeker’s Mask) somewhat hinted at where the series would lead, tone- and setting-wise, but then veered off on a kind of sped-up PCP travelogue of Rathillien. To Ride a Rathorn settles down in one spot (at least at the beginning of the book) and looks like it’s veering almost into YA territory with the “amazingly skilled and smart yet clumsy and humble Chosen One at the academy beset by unethical enemies but also protected by oft-unseen allies”-but-with-a-cat thing. Or, for all I know, I’m half a chapter from a complete 180 degree turn from the current plot. I have my seat belt on. I’m not worried. I feel like Hodgell is constantly stomping into over-mined tunnels in Fantasy and coming back all dusty holding up a gem and saying “but look what I found!”

  8. kathodus: A Cold-forged Flame, Marie Brennan: Recommended by a Filer some time ago. I noticed it on my Kindle when I had just a little time to read, decided to check it out, and remembered that it was recommended as being a tightly written story with good action and characterization, because that’s what it was. I think there is another novella or something written within this world, and I’m looking forward to checking it out.

    Yay! I (and, I suspect, Mark-kitteh and Arifel) am pleased that you have become “One Of Us”! 😀

    Lightning in the Blood is due out March 28, 2017.

  9. Standback: Adding Audible to that is an extra $3.50, so that’s going for a song as well.

    Thanks for the opportunity to remind Kindle ebook owners that Audible Matchmaker gives them YOOOOOOGE discounts on the audiobooks which go along with their Kindle ebook purchases. 😉

  10. kathodus: Echoing Standback’s question about (14). I don’t recall that discussion.

    You’re most likely going to be sorry for diving into that morass, but here it is. 😐

  11. @Kathodus

    “One of us” 🙂 The sequel novella is Lightning in the Blood, out middle of next year. (ETA, JJ already said that!)

    Tor.com did a roundup of all their 2016 novellas/novels, and rather embarrassingly I’d actually read 2/3rds of them. On the other hand I’d rec at least 2/3rds of what I read, and most of the remainder were more “not my thing” rather than “ugh”, so that’s a pretty good strike rate IMO.

    Reading dilemma: sequels from Genevieve Cogman and KB Wagers have both landed on my ereader, and I have those Wired shorts from yesterday too. Do you think “too much reading” as an excuse for a day off will work on my boss?

    (16) NASA VISUALS.

    Cue the internet giving those gifs silly captions in 3,2,1..

    (1) ATTENTION ON DECK

    Cue “The Walking Trek” jokes…

    (I’ll see myself out)

  12. (6) FOX OBIT. Aw, the actor who played Dr. Bombay / Winston (from “The Mummy”) died? ;-( (Those are the roles I knew him best from.)

    @kathodus & @JJ: I keep meaning to read the sample for Brennan’s A Cold-forged Flame. To paraphrase Miquel Brown, “So many samples, so little time, how can I read them.” Maybe one day I’ll join your august company. 😉

    ::cautiously tiptoes away from mention of “The Cold Equations” a.k.a. That Story::

  13. @Mark: “Reading dilemma: sequels from Genevieve Cogman and KB Wagers have both landed on my ereader, and I have those Wired shorts from yesterday too. Do you think “too much reading” as an excuse for a day off will work on my boss?”

    LOL, let me know how that works out for ya! Wagers’s sequel lands in my mailbox Friday (methinks). 🙂

  14. @Mark, Kendall: (reading dilemmas)

    Speaking of Cogman reading dilemmas, I received an ARC of her third Invisible Library book last week. (I’m not sure why, don’t remember entering a contest for it, but wouldn’t put that past myself. I’m sneaky that way.) At any rate, while I have the ebook for the first volume, I haven’t bitten on the second yet – primarily because, at $11.99, it’s still on my Too Damn Expensive list. So there’s this nice, enticing block of thinly-sliced ink-stained former tree sitting in my living room, quietly mocking me…

    I’ve been whittling away at Mount TBR lately, though. As always, the biggest challenge is transforming stuff from “purchased” into “reasonably formatted with proper metadata” so I can load it onto the reader. The recent cash squeeze has slowed my acquisitions to a crawl, so I’ve processed about half a dozen books lately. Four of those are either by Seanan McGuire or include a story from her, and then there’s this LGBT-themed superhero collection called Out for a Hero that looks promising. I’m also about halfway through an indie supers novel called The Union of Heroes – decent story, but the editing’s really getting on my nerves.

    Don’t tell anyone, but I even picked a couple of tree-books out of the eternal pile: Dayton Ward’s The Last World War and its sequel. Each is close to 500 pages, and I really had to grit my teeth to finish the first one. Its cardinal sin was spending the first half of the book embedding the reader with some Marine reservists who encounter an alien invasion during war games. That part went fine, but then the next several chapters amounted to “see the aliens appear somewhere else, through the eyes of someone you get a feel for just as they get whacked.” Really lost the momentum, but toward the end he brought part of the original crew back in to finish the arc. I’m now giving the sequel some serious side-eye; I’d like to finish it this month, but after the way the first book went…

  15. Re 14 (mine own entry!) @standback

    It’s the Scroll for the 11th that the Cold Equations discussion on File 770 is (still!) going:

    http://file770.com/?p=32431

    Re Eli

    The thread portion by Mike doesn’t quote it, but after I posted that bit on the Cold Equations, Laura Mixon tweeted to me that her novel UP AGAINST IT had a reaction to it, and then Alex Acks pointed me to a Cory Doctorow Essay about reacting to the story. And I imagine there is plenty more. I stand by my assertion. 🙂

  16. @Rev Bob. You got an Arc of the third Cogman novel? Nice. I wish I had one!

    Oh and it seems I have not had enough caffeine yet. Need to better engage neurons…I thought Mike hadn’t captured everything from the thread.

  17. @JJ, @Paul: Thanks!

    I’m finding it a really interesting discussion, although wow does it turn personal and pretty nasty for some of it :-/

    BUT, interesting, and all hail @Kip for the Dead Parrot rendition and other humorous sallies 🙂

    @Rev. Bob: I’m curious — what’s the formatting and metadata-tweaking you do for ebooks? Inquiring minds want to know 🙂

  18. @Standback Honestly, that is a reason I didn’t link the conversation directly on my twitter thread. I wanted to focus on thoughts about the story shorn of that stuff if possible. But it was the, um, passionate nature of the conversation here that helped inspire me to talk about it.

  19. @Standback:

    The best way to explain is with an example, but for professional reasons I’m not going to identify the book. Since I have the original and polished copies on hand, I can actually give real numbers. I’m going to lay out the steps so the topics make sense, but this isn’t a “do this, then that” guide. There’s a lot of overlap involved.

    On the formatting front, it was hideously overspecified. The CSS file – the style document that controls how the text displays – had over 1500 lines of rules, declaring all kinds of things that simply didn’t need to be done. (For instance, if your default text is full-justified and neither bold nor italic, you don’t need to say “full-justify this and clear bold and italic” for every paragraph style.) I got it down to 75 lines, by both combining redundant rules and “clearing out the brush” by deleting extraneous ones.

    Much of that bulk was due to the way the anthology was put together. Each story had its own set of style rules, and they were just different enough that whatever software assembled the package didn’t combine them together. That takes a human touch.

    That brings me to look and feel. You know how, as you go through a print anthology, each story usually “looks” like the rest? There’s one style of title/author formatting, one bio design, the paragraphs use the same spacing and first-line indent… you get the idea. Well, that wasn’t the case here. Skipping one line versus two may not sound like much, but it’s visually jarring – so once I had the style rules slimmed down to a reasonable size, I could go through and make sure all of that “chrome” was uniform.

    The book was also big – almost seven megabytes, most of which was in the form of three huge images that were in a nonstandard format that most platforms can’t render. I considered saving those by turning them into JPEGs, but since they were only used on ad pages and it’s a personal project for my own use, I just deleted the ads and the bad images. Sacrificing those three ad pages dropped nine-tenths of the file size, from 6985K to 678K.

    Metadata is usually the last thing I tackle, because it’s just so much easier that way. In this case, the book lacked navigation. It had a table of contents page at the front, but ebooks have another table of contents as part of the structure – so if you tell your reader to skip to the next chapter, it knows where to go. I built that from scratch, based on the visible version; that’s pretty easy stuff. The other side of metadata is the author – or, in this case, authors and editor – as well as title, publisher, publication date, blurb, ISBN, copyright info, language… that fun stuff. I usually wind up going to Amazon for that info, because they do such a good job of organizing it. That’s typically a matter of pasting in a template and filling in the blanks.

    And that’s about it. When I’m done, I have a book that works better and takes less horsepower to display. All that’s left is to ship it over to my Kobo and hope I don’t grind my teeth over missing commas and poor spelling. (The last indie book I read averaged more than one such error per standard page, mostly dropped commas.)

    That may sound like a lot of work, and sometimes it is, but more often it’s only an hour or two. Even this case, with the loads of extra rules and the variety of visual styles, was mostly resolved by leveraging global search-and-replace and asking “what styles get used for Standard Roles X, Y, and Z?” over and over. If there are a dozen “standard body paragraph” classes, all I have to do is define one and change all the other references to use that. After I’ve done enough of that, the task tips over to “okay, I’ve got the common stuff handled, so where does THIS get used?” – which often ends up being either something I can get rid of or yet another variant of a cleaned-up definition.

    Does that answer the question? 😀

  20. I am a huge Krazy Kat fan, especially the Sundays. I have a huge facsimile book of a selection of early colour works at original size; so much detail in those pages, and such incredible pen work.

    Herriman’s creation of, and breaking of, almost as quickly as he came up with them, many of the rules of comic art are fascinating, and it’s no surprise that his work is an reflection of his own experiences as a man in two or more worlds.

  21. Rev. Bob, wow, and I thought I obsessively edited my ebooks. I don’t hold a candle to you. (I’m nervous of messing with the CSS files.)

    I did get my Hugo-voter’s copy of Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade edited down from a ludicrous ten or so meg to a standard ebook size. The PDF conversion put quite literally hundreds of iterations of the publisher’s logo throughout the book. I also cleaned up the paragraph breaks (putting them where they belonged), removed as many of the extraneous hyphens from linebreaks as I could find, and cut out all (or at least most) of the extraneous spaces in the middle of words put in by the pdf-to-epub conversion. This took several hours because I essentially had to read the book in epub form side-by-side with the pdf (to get the paragraphs breaks correct).

  22. @Rev. Bob: Oh wow. That’s… pretty amazing, really. And, just to clarify: this is effort you put in in order to improve existing ebooks, for your own reading preferences? Or is this partially professional?

    I’ve recently become… more aware that ebooks are more modifiable than I’ve actually been using. I’m not worked up about sub-optimal layout; probably saves me some frustration and effort 😛

    What I do spend time on, and often, is composing little personal anthologies off of whatever batch of stuff online has caught my attention. It’s really nice to be able to set things up exactly how I want, so I think I can understand spending effort on the details.

    But I really seem fairly oblivious to formatting. (I was under the impression that *most* of ebook formatting is pretty simple and basic-HTML-ish, which I’m generally fine with.) If you get into ebooks that have been actually formatted, I guess that’s a whole world I’m unfamiliar with. This is really interesting 🙂

  23. Rev. Bob on December 15, 2016 at 5:33 am said:
    I have a clue what it’s like on the physical formatting.

    I once rebuilt a manual for work, redoing all the graphics and rearranging the text so related stuff was all in the same chapter, and I created a document style for it (doing it in Word 3.1, because that was what I had). For fun, I also it as a master document with subdocs – it wouldn’t do the pagination the way I wanted, so didn’t use that. It came out 30 pages longer (about 160 total) and about 1.5 megabytes smaller. (Everyone who used it liked it.)

  24. (1) And, unfortunately, if you read the comments to the article, people are already complaining about the show ignoring white heterosexual males, and this is why Trump got elected, and diversity is bad, and Star Trek has gone to hell, and nobody is going to watch this stupid show anyway because it’s on the All Access channel.

    Apparently they’ve forgotten about the concept of IDIC.

    I’ve made a few comments, trying to do my part, but man, fighting this shit is exhausting. Now think how much worse POC have it.

  25. What I do spend time on, and often, is composing little personal anthologies off of whatever batch of stuff online has caught my attention.

    I’ve done similar things, including inserting The Life Cycles of Software Objects (I think that is the title) into Stories of Your LIfe and Others, and scanning and OCRing All Seated On the Ground from the original (Analog?) publication and inserting it into Connie Williseses collection of Christmas stories. I’ve also collected together all of the findable short stories of certain authors that have been published on line–some of them still “officially” available through various web publications, some removed, but still available through internet archive cached versions of the websites.

    And I’ve taken official PDF versions of illustration-rich non-fiction books and converted them to EPUBs (with lots of hand-editing) and produced files that are better than the official EPUBs when they are eventually released (just to toot my own horn.)

  26. So, I went to the local library and picked up The Weaver (Emmi Itäranta), A Natural History of Hell (short stories by Jeffrey Ford), and Faller (Will McIntosh). What a great haul!

    BTW, I owe thanks to the person who clued 770 into the Kate Elliott deal. For some reason, I had passed over Elliott in the past but after starting Jarad, I won’t make that mistake again.

  27. I bought PDFs of the last few issues of Black Gate Magazine when they became available. Someday, if I’m ever feeling really ambitious and have the time, I need to try to convert them to a format that’s actually usable on my Kindle. (For added fun, the magazine used two-column layout.)

  28. Star Trek has gone to hell, and nobody is going to watch this stupid show anyway because it’s on the All Access channel.

    All signs are that CBS is handling this project with supreme incompetence, and I do think putting it on pay streaming only is the cherry on the fustercluck sundae.

  29. @Standback

    Re “personal anthologies”, that sounds very interesting as I currently have lots of individual “send to kindle” short story files on my kindle. How do you go about it? I use calibre for backups etc but haven’t explored the creation options before.

  30. How do you go about it? I use calibre for backups etc but haven’t explored the creation options before.

    Here’s how I do it.

  31. Mark: (1) ATTENTION ON DECK
    Cue “The Walking Trek” jokes…

    There we go. For some reason I couldn’t come up with something like that when I was trying to think of it yesterday.

  32. @Paul: I stand by my assertion. ?

    Well that’s fine, I’m just trying to understand your assertion. There was a statement that one’s response to that story in particular was the key to all kinds of deeper insights about science fiction. Then there were links to various people having opinions about the story. I’m not questioning whether people have opinions about it– of course they do! I’m trying to understand why you think that’s so significant for the field of SF in general. It seems like that part went unsaid, or you’re hoping it will be self-evident to readers.

  33. JJ: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee is on sale for 99c on Kindle (and possibly other formats).

    I was excited to see that and rushed to buy a copy. Amazon replied that I’d already bought the book last July. What? So it’s here on my Kindle somewhere, I just need to find and read it.

  34. @PJ Evans: German newspaper Zeit had a good review about in (in German): In a nutshell: The author thinks its the best Star Wars, because it can focus on telling a good story, without having to consider the bigger arc. They dont discuss tyrrany much or the “Pseudo religious mumbo-jumbo”. The fighting scence are not as disorienting as the ones in Star Wars 7. So, overall good. He basiccly just dislikes the CGI-version of Tarkin.

    Will storeaway Pixels be scrolled out of the File? Read “the cold Scroll” for a definite answer!

  35. ELI: I’m trying to understand why you think that’s so significant for the field of SF in general. It seems like that part went unsaid, or you’re hoping it will be self-evident to readers.

    Okay, basically my assertion is that the story is a Rorschach test for SF readers and writers, even today. Exploring one’s reaction to this story tells a reader a lot of what they think of SF, and their relationship to it. It’s a ball of stuff of a story, with assumptions and problems, and issues, and worldbuilding that it seems difficult to remain neutral to. It’s neither the greatest story, nor the best written. And yet, it is there, a monolith in the field that many readers who encounter it cannot help but react to. Its a story that I wager that any reader of it finds hard to ever forget or fail to have an opinion on. That’s my thesis.

    Am I overplaying a single story in the SF canon? Perhaps. But judging from the heat in the File 770 thread, and how people came forward on twitter with links and what not. I don’t think so.

  36. Mike Glyer on December 15, 2016 at 10:25 am said:

    JJ: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee is on sale for 99c on Kindle (and possibly other formats).

    I was excited to see that and rushed to buy a copy. Amazon replied that I’d already bought the book last July. What? So it’s here on my Kindle somewhere, I just need to find and read it.

    Cool that this particular book is messing with the calendar

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