Pixel Scroll 12/24 Yes, Virginia, There Is A Pixel Scroll

(1) A DREAM. Pat Cadigan on Facebook:

It’s Christmas Eve, and you know what that means––it’s time for my favourite Christmas story!

One night, Confucius had a dream about chopsticks…..

(2) THE CASE FOR EMAIL. NASA calculated the surprising amount of money it would cost to send a Christmas card to Mars.

Next: they can calculate how much it will cost to send someone to receive the card on Mars. (With and without potatoes.)

(3) DECK THE TARDIS. Alex Kingston and Matt Lucas kick off the holiday.

(4) THAT SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR. And the Doctor Who Christmas Special is just hours away. Here are two previews.

The Doctor reunites with River – The Husbands of River Song – Doctor Who Christmas Special – BBC

 

“Are You The Surgeon?” – The Husbands of River Song Preview – Doctor Who Christmas 2015 – BBC

 

(5) ART APPRECIATION. An sf art collector discusses a cover artist of the Golden Age — “Hubert Rogers’ Astounding Covers — And His Fascinating Correspondence with Robert A. Heinlein and L. Sprague de Camp” by Doug Ellis at Black Gate.

At IlluxCon this past October, one of our major purchases was a pulp painting by artist Hubert Rogers. Rogers was Astounding Science Fiction’s primary cover artist from late 1939 to early 1952, with a break from 1943 through 1946 due to World War II (which he spent in Canada painting war posters and other paintings related to the war). We’d made arrangements over the summer to buy it from a friend of ours, who had owned it for many years, and he drove it up to IlluxCon with him so we could complete the deal.

Ellis maximizes the visual interest of his post with copies of the covers, and reproductions of several letters from L. Sprague De Camp and Robert A. Heinlein.

One of the Heinlein’s 1941 letters to Hubert Rogers says —

I will be interested to see how you have conceived the character Lazarus Long in my new serial I thought of him as looking a good deal like Carl Sandburg, earthy and robust, but not tall. My wife says he likes like an Uncle Sam with a dash of Doctor E. E. Smith. We are anxious to find out what he actually does look like.

(6) Today In History

  • December 24, 2011 – Cheetah, chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s, died on this date. Your monkey’s mileage may vary.

(7) Today’s Birthday Boy

  • December 24, 1910 – Fritz Leiber

(8) SPACE CHOW. “Christmas dinner on the International Space Station: What do the astronauts eat?” in The Independent.

Nasa tends to dominate the operations on the ISS, so the Christmas food is more typically American – turkey, green beans, sweet potatoes and cornbread are staples, and they’re all served out of small plastic packages that can be heated up in a special onboard oven.

However, Russia also has a strong presence in space, so there is some regional variation – Cloeris said the Russians have some “really good mashed potatoes,” as well as excellent cranberry sauce.

(9) AND FOR DESSERT. “Oh, Just a Gingerbread House Rendition of the Overlook Hotel from ‘The Shining’” at Messy Nessy Chic.

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” quite like a cult horror movie turned miniature winter wonderland in the form of everybody’s favourite Christmas cookie!  Come play with us…

(10) THESE AREN’T THE DROIDS I’M LOOKING FOR. Why would George R.R. Martin (“Puppies at Christmas”) endorse Sad Puppies 4 in advance of seeing what they actually do, unless he believes the power of suggestion can make it so?

For decades now, LOCUS and NESFA and other fan groups have produced reading lists at year’s end, long lists generated by recommendations from their editors/ members/ etc. If at the end of this process, Sad Puppies 4 puts forth a similar list, one that has room for BOTH Larry Correia and Ann Leckie, I don’t think anyone could possibly object. I won’t, certainly. A list like that would not be a slate, and the whole “slate voting” thing will become moot.

And that would be great. That would mean no Puppygate II. That would mean a spirited literary debate about writers and books without the acrimony and the name-calling. From that debate a truly democratic and diverse ballot could emerge, one that represents all tastes. That would mean no ‘No Awards’ at Big MAC II, and the Hugo ceremony could once again become a joyous celebration of the best and brightest in our field.

In my post-worldcon blog post last August 31 (( http://grrm.livejournal.com/440444.html )) I expressed the hope that the ugliness of 2015 could be left behind, that Fandom and Puppydom could coexist in peace. That’s still my hope. And right now I am feeling a little more hopeful than I was in August. People are talking books, not trading epithets…

(11) DOCTOR HOOEY. Or will this turn out about as well as people expect? In the comments on Kate Paulk’s “Hugo Category Highlight: Best Fan Writer”, Dr. Mauser pleads for even more attention….

(12) PRODUCTION NUMBER. “California Christmastime,” from Rachel Bloom and the cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

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

130 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/24 Yes, Virginia, There Is A Pixel Scroll

  1. Merry Christmas, everyone! And if Christmas is not your thing, I wish you a very happy other holiday, whatever that may be, and to all north of the Equator, the lovely news that the days are getting longer.

    As to SPiv, I am reminded of an episode of American history I heard about. For a dozen years in the USA, there was a thriving market in blocks of grape concentrate. These blocks came in varieties like burgundy, bordeaux, etc. with instructions to place the concentrate in a jug of water. All carried a solemn warning on them. Under no circumstances was the buyer to place this jug in a dry warm place for two weeks or more, otherwise the mixture would turn into wine, which would illegal. And the buyer would of course not wish to break the law.

    Reading SPiv’s instructions for their totally not a slate recommendation list, I am reminded of that tidbit of history. I think GRRM is right to hope for a good result of this, right to hope that this turns into a discussion of books and not a stew of Puppy resentments. But I think being hopeful puts me under no obligations to lobotomize myself and forget the past.

  2. Merry Christmas to all!

    George’s post was very nice, given the spirit of the day. Sometimes it really is true that extending a bit of kindness works. Even when it doesn’t, it was usually worth the try.

    In that spirit, I’ve thought more than once about proposing stories myself on SP4, but what stops me is the fear that any stories that make their list will either be withdrawn or else be crushed at the Con. At the moment, though, the SP4 site seems to me to have very low participation, and such as there is is spread over so many works that I’m not sure it will be possible for them to produce a list of ten works in any category simply because there won’t be ten with more than two votes each. At that point, I think the organizers will be reduced to either listing everything nominated or to creating their own slates based on their own personal preferences.

  3. Merry Christmas!

    Yesterday I received a nice email from WorldCon75 (Finland) saying that as a member of their Con I was also entitled to nominate for the Hugos in 2016 and unless I directed otherwise they would forward my contact info to MidAmericon.

    I’m already a supporting member of MidAmericon, but I thought it was nice that they are being so prompt about notifying people of their nominating rights: as a European WorldCon they may have early members who aren’t part of the WorldCon/Hugo cycle yet.

  4. Merry Christmas all.

    In honour of the day, here’s a version of the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon dubbed in Icelandic and then, for no reason I can imagine, subtitled in English. I had always thought nothing could replace Boris Karloff’s narration but it actually works quite well in Icelandic — it sounds something like a mashup of the Grinch and the Lord of the Rings.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2xce2a_how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-1966-islandisch-islenska-english-subtitled_shortfilms

  5. Merry Happy! I hope everyone has/had a good day and that Santa brings books for all (and maybe a little extra time to actually read them!)

  6. Hmm. Mauser never did answer my question upfront about what his agenda was. Guess it’s a bit more obvious now. Sigh.

    Well, the chips will fall where they may. Meanwhile, the house smells like roast beast here, and the coonhound got out and had a great run across the field and the neighbor’s yards before being grabbed, so is now sleeping the sleep of a happy dog (and my husband is grumbling the grumbles of a middle-aged man forced to run flat out in a bathrobe and slippers across fields and lawns before breakfast.) And I have coffee.

    May you all have as lovely a morning, without the dog chasing bit.

  7. TheYoungPretender on December 25, 2015 at 5:53 am said: For a dozen years in the USA, there was a thriving market in blocks of grape concentrate. These blocks came in varieties like burgundy, bordeaux, etc. with instructions to place the concentrate in a jug of water. All carried a solemn warning on them. Under no circumstances was the buyer to place this jug in a dry warm place for two weeks or more, otherwise the mixture would turn into wine, which would illegal. And the buyer would of course not wish to break the law.

    Last time I checked Q-Tips were still the same, with a warning on them to absolutely never, ever put them in your ears. I’ve often thought the tobacco companies could have saved themselves a few billion dollars by putting FOR INSECT REPELLENT USE ONLY — DO NOT INHALE on each pack of cigarettes.

  8. Pingback: Some magazine covers by Hubert Rogers | Webomator Blog

  9. Under no circumstances was the buyer to place this jug in a dry warm place for two weeks or more, otherwise the mixture would turn into wine, which would illegal.

    I heard that this was done with canned grape juice – complete with the amount of yeast that should not be added. (This was actually part of a lecture on women’s history, where it was compared to the detailed instructions on what pregnant women should not do in order to have a baby.)

  10. Merry Christmas all y’all.

    (10) THESE AREN’T THE DROIDS I’M LOOKING FOR. GRRM is apparently basing the I am not seeing any “nominate this, it will make their heads explode” posts that we saw so often last year… People are talking books, not trading epithets… lines on the SP4 Best Novel page. I would suggest considering the Best Fan Writer / Fanzine/ Related Work SP4 pages before disseminating that narrative.

  11. I predict that no matter what SP4 does, and no matter what they end up nominating, or how, anything they get on the ballot will lose to Noah Ward. There may be a double assterisk distributed for 2016.

    I further predict that the nomination process will be fraught with hellacious acrimony, no matter what. Authors will be smeared, reputations besmirched, sent into exile. Even more this year.

    The reason I think these things is that Mr. Glyer is busy thinking about it on Christmas Eve day.

  12. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it! And to those who don’t I wish a happy peaceful day and a winter full of warmth and comfort (or a summer full of shade and comfort, as applicable.)

    I think JJ and Standback are missing something: a slate of ten is still a slate. Normally a beloved work gets on between 10% and 25% of the nominating ballots–even of a group selected for coinciding tastes (the former is from the SP3 “nominating” process, and the latter was a normally selected runaway favorite.) People choosing randomly from a list of ten means every work gets on 50% of the nominating ballots from that group. That’s between a 2-fold and a 5-fold boost in nominating power for that group.

    A slate of ten is simply slate-light. Half the unfair advantage. This is part of an effort by the Puppies to step slates back to a level of unfair advantage the rest of fandom will agree is acceptable.

    I vote for zero unfair advantage. How about you?

  13. ART APPRECIATION
    I really like these posts on old painted covers. I reminds me of looking at my Dad’s old Galaxy magazines and other pulps.

  14. A merry, happy, jolly Christmas or seasonal holiday of your choice to everyone!

    Christmas viewing: The finale of Kagewani, because I couldn’t wait.

  15. Cat: I think JJ and Standback are missing something: a slate of ten is still a slate.

    I’m not missing that at all. That’s part of the point I was making.

    The other part is that they’re encouraging voting for slated   top recommended works as a way to recognize those authors, instead of encouraging voting for works that one loved as a way of recognizing those works.

  16. I hope EPH gets passed this year so that no special interest group, whatever their special interests may be, will ever be able to do again what the Puppies did this year.

    … But wishes for the New Year are still a week away, more or less.

    A merry Christmas to you all, and good will in the coming year.

  17. Happy Christmas from The Beach, where we have not yet washed away in the tides

    Or as we say here, “Bouan Noué et Bouanne Année!”

  18. Happy Merry Jolly days to all!

    It’s 70 degrees in Texas though a major winter storm will probably dump rain on us.

    And we’re having a lovely relaxing time.

    (Can highly recommend In the Heart of the Sea — and I don’t even like Moby Dick.)

    @emgrasso: I got the same lovely email as well!

  19. Many happy returns of the day to all, whether it is or is not a holiday for you.

    ART APPRECIATION – I lust over those retro covers and see why an original might be carefully lighted and displayed. Also delightful was the recounting of building a writing shed, complete with self-improvement.

    NOT THE DROIDS – Perhaps because I’m not anti-slate, just anti crap writing, the top ten list doesn’t bother me. In fact, given the Puppy approach that popularity is the ne plus ultra of literary merit, it makes total sense. Actually, it not only makes sense, I’m not sure that approach would allow for an unranked wodge of dozens of works.

  20. Season’s Greetings to everyone!

    Quick question I didn’t get to ask to @Meredith before. Why does the-author-who-cannot-be-named-on-File-770 get called Tank Marmot? I can tell it’s an anagram. Does the name get moderated out? I’d noticed before and wondered if it was a Filer tradition like ‘fifth’.

  21. Vivienne Raper:
    I can tell it’s an anagram. Yes.
    Does the name get moderated out? Yes.
    I’d noticed before and wondered if it was a Filer tradition like ‘fifth’. Yes.

  22. @JJ Thanks 🙂

    How come a name gets moderated out? I thought that only happened with spam terms like graVia (think pills). I guess there’s a lot of fan lore/history I’m missing…

  23. Vivienne Raper: How come a name gets moderated out?

    In particular, because he had posted so many vile things here at File770 (some of which were thinly-veiled threats of violence) that the moderator here added his last name to the list of words which would kick a post into moderation. Filers figured this out and figured out how to get around it. The moderator eventually got tired of having to wade through the trash in his posts and finally just banned him.

  24. Cheryl S. on December 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm said:

    NOT THE DROIDS – Perhaps because I’m not anti-slate, just anti crap writing, the top ten list doesn’t bother me.

    Interesting point.
    Sort of three dimensions to objections to Puppies:
    1. Bad slates
    2. Bad books
    3. Bad politics
    Where ‘bad’ in each case, is obviously in the eye of the beholder and ‘bad slates’ is meant to indicate ‘slates are bad’ . Interestingly the Puppies do themselves no favors by claiming that the only opposition to their campaigns is point 3. Point 3 is certainly an issue (for me at least) but there is a big scope conceptually for a middle ground that the Puppies consistently alienated.

  25. Vivienne Raper:

    “How come a name gets moderated out? I thought that only happened with spam terms like graVia (think pills). I guess there’s a lot of fan lore/history I’m missing…”

    I do believe Tank Marmoset have some kind of tradition of being banned from forums because of his behaviour. RPGnet, SOCNET and Tor comes to mind.

    There are some examples of the language he used in threads here on failfandom.

  26. Vivienne Raper: I somehow assumed Mike moderated posts via IP address or due to lots of links.

    WordPress has a default filter set up. Blog owners can add to or change this.

    More than 3 links will get a post sent to moderation. So will mention of Red Sea Pedestrians and World War II German Nationalists and popular pills to assist sexual experiences.

    Mention of socialism and socialists used to get sent to moderation because those words contained the name of an aid to a healthy sex life, but Mike fixed that after we pointed it out.

  27. @Vivienne: IIRC, the Marmot is also known for vanity-googling and then leaping in where the mention was not favorable, which was one reason it became an auto-mod term. Now, in theory, by now he has also learned to search for “Tank Marmot.” But by now he is straight-up banned for abuse and threats. I believe he is the only Puppy author ever to be outright banned here. (There was one other Pup/VFM who dropped, I think, outright racist stuff in his first post who got an immediate ban. It may have been some other species of blatant bigotry. Note: this was stuff even a Living Marxism alum would probably recognize as, “Yeah, kinda over the line there.”)

  28. And am back from Christmas over at my brother’s where the pecan pie was a success (except for the fact where the crust was cemented to the pan and you had to kind of chisel it out, and it was just a series of blobs on the plate; but it tasted mighty fine!) and my parents (well, I assume mostly Dad) gave me an Artoo Detoo showerhead that I have no intention of actually hooking up to my shower.

    Merry Christmas!

  29. Merry Christmas (or Happy Friday and ooo! Special Doctor Who) to all.

    I like that GRRM is so kind and generous, but Pups gonna Pup, ‘specially if they’re Rabid. A slate of 10 with a nudge and wink towards the top 5 is still a slate. Puppies are still hung up about rewarding the author (and often their politics) instead of the work, and still worshiping popularity above all. Lots of tribal need for conformity there. Marching in lockstep. And the entitlement attitude, I just can’t even.

    Whereas we here at File 770 argue vehemently all the time and no blood feuds are sworn. People even apologize when they’re wrong. It’s nice. Probably because we argue about books/movies and that’s a matter of taste. One can think “Mr. X likes that POS?! Worst. Book. Ever. Oh well, he’s a great guy otherwise.”

    I fundamentally don’t get the “nominate the winner!!1!” thing. I mean, everyone’s gonna nominate “Ancillary 3: This Time It’s Lapsang Souchong”, so I don’t need to. It leaves me a slot open for “Bryony and Roses”, which I read back-to-back with “Uprooted” and B&R stuck with me more.

    Everyone’s gonna nominate “The Martian” so I’m looking at other movies. (Must confess one of my slots is going to Star Wars, because I’m still giddy a week after seeing it.) People are going to be all about the TV shows that get the big press — but my one vote might help an episode of “Person of Interest” which aired 9 months earlier to squeak onto the ballot, the same way that one episode of “Fringe” squeaked on a couple of years ago.

    I nominate what I love. Most of the stuff I’m listing in my Google Doc has just the titles — I’ll have to go and look up the authors’ names. I’m not nominating authors. Some years even your favorite writer turns out a dud work (cough Seveneves cough) and they don’t deserve to be on the ballot that year no matter how many copies they sold or how much they gave to charity.

    Must get cracking on vonD’s collections for Retro Hugos… where I’m going to follow the same philosophy. You KNOW Heinlein’s going to be heavily represented, so I’m going to be looking farther down the “popularity list”. Except “If This Goes On –” which was the first thing I wrote down. Because duh.

    Big ups to Greg H and all at RSR for bringing stuff to our attention, with links. I don’t always agree with the reviews, but simply having things in one place is good.

    I almost bought myself a book today, but turns out it was a pre-order for JUNE. Aaargh. Oh well, it’s not like I don’t have too much to read anyway.

    The sugar buzz from breakfast of panettone covered in lemon curd has worn off. There’s going to be protein and veggies galore in 3 hours, so I think I’ll go mainline me some more sucrose. Holiday calories don’t count.

  30. lurkertype: I fundamentally don’t get the “nominate the winner!!1!” thing. I mean, everyone’s gonna nominate “Ancillary 3: This Time It’s Lapsang Souchong”, so I don’t need to.

    If you genuinely believe that Ancillary Mercy is in your top 5, then I encourage you not to take that approach. It’s very probable that the Puppy slates will skew the nomination process again this year, and a dozen people saying “I don’t need to nominate this, because everyone else will” might make the difference between a genuinely-nominated, non-Puppy work getting on the finall ballot or not.

  31. lurkertype on December 25, 2015 at 3:27 pm said:

    I fundamentally don’t get the “nominate the winner!!1!” thing.

    One of the requirements of a healthy democratic society is the ability to be a good loser. If you are sufficiently allergic to losing, you may start feeling like you must only be part of the “winning team,” even if it’s not what you personally like, because you’ve invested more in winning than being true to yourself.

  32. Merry Christmas!
    The ham is in the oven though no one in this household of Jews, Muslims, communists, and northerners has any idea how to cook it.

  33. I um… shuffles feet… actually haven’t read Ancillary 3 yet. So I can’t, in good conscience, nominate it. I know it’s amazing, but I haven’t personally laid eyeballs upon it myself. Another difference between me and Puppies; I’d genuinely feel guilty listing something I’d never read/seen.

    @Amina: luckily you have internet. I wonder why you went with ham in that case, however — why not roast beef or turkey?

    Had a banana and 3 pumpkin macarons. Blood sugar back up. Ready to go face giant spiral ham.

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