Pixel Scroll 12/29 ’Twas Pixel, And The Slithy Scrolls Did Gyre And Gimble In The Wabe

(1) LEMMY WAS A FAN. Lemmy of Motörhead fame died last night. But did you know about his love for Science Fiction and Fantasy? See “Parting Shots: Lemmy” reposted from a spring 2011 issue of Relix.

I recently bought a complete set of the Elric of Melniboné fantasy books by Michael Moorcock. One of them is dedicated to you. Are you still friends with him?

Yeah, I haven’t spoken to him in years, though. He’s in Texas someplace. I did want to get in touch with him actually. Somebody was gonna text me his number but they didn’t do it. I must get ahold of him.

In addition to working with Moorcock in Hawkwind, you were in the 1990 movie Hardware. Are you a big science fiction fan?

Yeah, I always liked a bit of sci-fi. My favorite sci-fi author’s someone you’ve probably never heard of – Jack L. Chalker. Try him, he’s good.”

(2) JEMISIN BRANCHES OUT. N. K. Jemisin talks about the debut of her New York Times Book Review column “Otherworldly” in “My New Side Gig”.  (The first installment is already online.)

I’m an eclectic reader, so the new column will obviously feature science fiction, fantasy, horror, some YA, some graphic novels, some anthologies, and even some nonfiction where it impacts the genre. I’ve got no problem with self-published or small-press books, although I believe the NYT has a policy forbidding selfpubs if they can’t be found in “general interest” bookstores, whatever that means. I like books that feature complex characters, period, but stereotypes piss me off and stuff I’ve seen too often bores the shit out of me. I don’t “believe in” the Campbellian Hero’s Journey, for pretty much the same reasons as Laurie Penny. Obviously I’ve got a thing for worldbuilding and secondary world or offworld stuff. I believe wholeheartedly in the idea that we all should get to dream, and I look for books that let me.

(3) FUTURE OF WHO. ScienceFiction.com gives a rundown on the major players signed for the next season of Doctor Who.

Leaving is a constant theme on ‘Doctor Who’ as even the role of the title character regularly shifts to new actors.  This past season saw the departure of the longest running companion in the show’s history, Clara Oswald played by Jenna Coleman.  And recently, the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi has hinted that he wants to exit in order to focus on directing.  But like Moffat, he is signed on for at least one more season.

Moffat wrote the latest Christmas Special as though it might be his last reports Digital Spy.

Steven Moffat hadn’t signed for a 10th series of Doctor Who when he wrote this year’s Christmas special.

The showrunner told press including Digital Spy that he thought the festive episode could be his last ever for the show.

“I hadn’t signed for next year at that point,” he confirmed. “I have now – unless they fire me, which would be quite sensible!

“I thought it might be the last one, so to get River (Alex Kingston) in – that was bringing me full-circle…”

(4) JANUARY FRIGHT SALE. Cthulhu bedding from Needful Things priced to go at $112.98.

Cozy up with Nyarlathotep on those long, dreary nights with this Cthulhu bedding by Melissa Christie. Set includes one Queen-sized duvet cover (86″x86″) and two pillowcases (20″x30″) printed on 100 percent cotton with eco-friendly inks. Available on white, blue or weirdo purple fabric.


Cthulhu bedding

(5) POLAR PUN. James H. Burns writes: “Our friends in Alaska and other areas up North have also long been familiar with ‘The Force.’

“They use their Inuition.”

(6) GROTTA OBIT. Daniel Grotta of Newfoundland passed away December 13 in Philadelphia. He was known for his 1976 biography J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth, in print for more than 30 years.

(7) BUSINESS SECTION. John Scalzi’s new comment on “Very Important News About my 2016 Novel Release and Other Fiction Plans” also applies to arguments under discussion here.

I understand that one of my constant detractors is asserting that the reason the first book of my new contract comes out in 2017 and not 2016 is because I turned in a manuscript and it was terrible and now Tor is trying to salvage things. This is the same person, if memory serves, who asserted that Lock In was a failure and Tor was planning to dump me, shortly before Tor, in fact, handed me a multi-million dollar contract, which included a sequel to Lock In.

Now, as then, his head is up his ass and he’s speaking on things he knows nothing about. I haven’t turned in a manuscript; there’s no manuscript to turn in. They (remember I’m working on two) haven’t been written yet. To be clear, the only thing I’ve turned in to Tor since submitting my manuscript for The End of All Things is my contract for the next set of books. That was accepted without any additional revision, I would note.

For the avoidance of doubt, you should assume that any speculation about me or my career coming from that quarter is based on equal parts of ignorance, craven maliciousness, and pathetic longing for my attention, and almost certainly false. Anything said by that person about me is likely to be incorrect, down to and including indefinite articles.

(8) LOVE IN THE RUINS. Earlier in the day Scalzi scoffed at another rant in “I Ruin Everything But Mostly Science Fiction”

Here’s the thing: If I ruin the genre of science fiction for you, or if the presence in the genre of people whose politics and positions you don’t like ruins the genre for you — the whole genre, in which hundreds of traditionally published works and thousands of self-and-micro-pubbed works are produced annually — then, one, oh well, and two, you pretty much deserve to have the genre ruined for you. It doesn’t have to be ruined, mind you, because chances are pretty good that within those thousands of works published annually, you’ll find something that rings your bell. And if you do, why should you care about the rest of it? It’s literally not your problem. Find the work you’ll love and then love it, and support the authors who make it, hopefully with money.

(9) ANALYZING HUGO PARTICIPATION. Kevin Standlee is gathering data to help answer whether Hugo voter participation is expanding at the same rate as the eligible voter base.

The figures do show that, broadly speaking, nominating participation for 1971-2008 was generally static in a range of about 400-700 people per year. 2009 was the first year we see a significant up-tick in nominating participation from the previous few years.

What is unclear (and even now still is unclear) is whether the percentage of eligible members is actually increasing. WSFS has been steadily increasing the nominating franchise, bringing in first the previous year’s members and then the following year’s members, so that the eligible nominating electorate is he union of three years of Worldcon members as of January 31 each year, a group that could be more than 20,000 people at times, compared to the fewer than 5,000 previously eligible prior to the expansion of the franchise. It’s actually possible that the percentage of eligible members participating has gone down even as the absolute number of nominations has gone up.

(10) GRRM’S PRO ARTIST RECS. George R.R. Martin recommends four creators for the Best Pro Artist Hugo in “More Hugo Suggestions”.

First: JOHN PICACIO http://www.johnpicacio.com/ Yes, John is a past winner. Truth be told, he is one of the current crop of Usual Suspects. He was nominated for the first time in 2005, and lost. Thereafter he was nominated every year from 2006 to 2011, losing every year and winning a place of honor in the Hugo Losers party… until he finally broke through and won in 2012. He won again in 2013, lost to Julie Dillon in 2014, and was squeezed off the ballot by the Puppies last year.

(11) KEEP THOSE REVIEWS COMING. Another review of “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers” by Federhirn at Bastian’s Book Reviews

It’s a well-written book. The prose flows pleasantly, there is a sense of fun and joyfulness about it, and the story plods along from one feel-good scene to the next. Unfortunately, there isn’t really much of an overarching plot. The story is episodic, with almost every chapter telling a different episode of their journey. It’s a cheerful road movie in space.

One thing which is very obvious is that the story was inspired by Firefly and seemingly created from a wish list of themes and ideas that the people derogatorily called ‘Social Justice Warriors’ might have come up with. (Social Justice Warriors are people who want a more equal world, with opportunities for all, and a more diverse, multicultural, multiracial, multisexual representation of life in fiction)….

(12) PUPPY CENSUS. Brandon Kempner at Chaos Horizons ends the year by “Checking in with Sad Puppies IV”. His count shows John C. Wright’s novel Somewhither currently has 12 recommendations, more than any other.

(13) EMPIRE BEAUTY PAGEANT. Jeff Somers at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog nominates “The 6 Most Fascinating Galactic Empires Outside of Star Wars”.

Invariably, when the topic of galactic empires comes up, someone will reference Star Wars—the muddy details of the Empire’s economy and structure, maybe a few pointed jokes about trade disputes. Yet as cool as some of the principal officials of the Empire’s vast bureaucracy are (do we ever find out Darth Vader’s official title? Does he get a pension?), the Empire is actually only the eighth or ninth most interesting galactic empire in science fiction. Which ones are more exciting? Glad you asked: Here are the six most interesting empires stretching across time and space in SF lit.

(14) CLASSIC TREK. A 16mm print of the second Star Trek pilot preserves an experiment with a radically different style of introduction. The smiling Spock in the first scene is even more unexpected.

The original print from Star Trek’s 2nd pilot was never aired in this format. Had different opening narration, credits, had acts 1 thru 4 like an old quinn martin show and had scenes cut from aired version and different end credits and music. The original 16mm print is now stored in the Smithsonian oddly enough the soundtrack for this version was released with the cage.


[Thanks to Jim Meadows, Andrew Porter, Hampus Eckerman, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA. ]

186 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/29 ’Twas Pixel, And The Slithy Scrolls Did Gyre And Gimble In The Wabe

  1. Its nice to find fellow Ammonite fans, here.

    Among my many material obsessions, along with meteorites, trilobites, megalodon teeth, and banknotes. (And it is a good thing I don’t live in Japan or I would be dumping way too much money into gashapon machines, even though none of these include bacon.)

  2. Thanks for the pointer. Jim Henley: if you think DAVE is chuffed, you should hear his mom!

  3. I think that Scalzi rather enjoys pointing and laughing at people on Twitter.

    His insult spree today left no doubt. I am offended on behalf of all cheesesnorting Rhode Island nickelhoarders.

  4. Darren Garrison said:

    (And it is a good thing I don’t live in Japan or I would be dumping way too much money into gashapon machines, even though none of these include bacon.)

    With gacha potato chips, ramen, and bread spotted in the wild recently, I’m sure bacon is only a matter of time.

  5. The old scroll now away is fled, the new scroll, it is pixelled.

    Put an accent on pixelléd, and that’s great.

    I was thinking Out With the Scroll, In With the Pixel

    But nah.

    A Pixel Cup of Kindness?

  6. A Scrollful of Pixels Helps The Medicine Go Down?
    Scrolldrops on Roses and Pictures of Kittens?

  7. Aah, but in case I stand one little chance
    Here comes the pixel question in advance
    What are you scrolling New Year’s
    New Year’s Eve?

  8. Mike Glyer on December 30, 2015 at 11:05 am said: But haven’t I used it before, out of season?

    I Googled the phrase (both permutations) and nothing came up, but a title might not have turned up for some reason.

  9. @Oneiros: (Irredeemable)

    If it’s any indication, I finished volume five before forcing myself to set it aside and get some sleep. I’ve spotted one apparent plot hole, but it could be nothing more than someone making a greivous miscalculation. (Rot13’d for later: Gur pnaqyr jnk ohyyrg. Gur fgbel fnlf ur’f ihyarenoyr juvyr gur pnaqyr oheaf. Vg fnlf abguvat nobhg uvz orvat ihyarenoyr gb gur jnk gung erznvaf nsgrejneq.) The story just does not let up. My only complaint is that, reading the series as PDFs in iBooks, there’s no way to display both pages of a double-page splash together. Some graphic novels resolve that by treating those as double-width single pages, but that has its own problems…

  10. Eva Whitley –

    Matt: Spoonflower and a sewing friend can hook you up: http://bit.ly/1NSax90

    I recommend Candy Madigan of Hourglass Creations. She does custom work. http://on.fb.me/1NSaHNI

    Awesome!! I love the patterns. Thank you for sharing that, I’m trying to learn how to make my own so I might buy some of that fabric once I’ve got the hang of it.

  11. Just been to see The Force Awakens, a thoroughly enjoyable 8/10.
    Story and major plot points were a bit underdeveloped, but the tone was just right, and the casting was pretty spot on, the new young cast did great work, especially Adam Driver.

  12. World Weary,

    If Dragon’s behaviour was the only problem with The Red Queen I would have been happy. There were so many writing craft problems. Telegraphing instead of foreshadowing, having two characters say the same thing, and of course the giant turd on the doorstep – the fact you could cut out most of the first third and not affect the story one iota!

    Have you read her earlier books? I liked them so much more, possibly because they were shorter and tighter.

  13. With the exception of some novels I still want to get to, I may have to be pragmatic and just guillotine the 2015 tbr on Jan 1st.

    I really wish I could say that, but unfortunately I still have a bunch of issues of Asimov’s and F&SF to get through, as well as several very promising anthologies and novellas. I will still be reading those and posting reviews on my blog (and updating my ever-expanding Hugo longlist); but I hereby declare that whatever I don’t finish by February 1 has missed its chance.

    I don’t intend to be playing catchup like this next year, so starting in February will hopefully allow a bit more sanity.

  14. @ James Davis Nicoll

    re: YP Read Old SF

    Thanks for the update. Please keep us informed. After looking over your list, I realized I’d never read Vintage Season. So now there’s an Old Person who is adding some Old SF to the pile! 😀

  15. @Vasha,

    I strongly suspect I’m going to slip (I’m already thinking of “oh but…” exceptions) but I’m with you on needing to do 2016 in a sensible way. It’ll be quite pleasant to be able to discuss the magazines in a vaguely chronological order, for example.

  16. The Ace of Pixels
    Iron Pixel
    Scrollers of the Pixelverse

    That’s a lot of reaching, I’m afraid…

  17. re: Hugo reading

    I’m with those making a cut-off date. Except for a few things I’ve already started/bought, I’m done come this Friday. I’ve realized there’s no way to ‘read it all’ and I need to catch up with some other hobbies, RL, and begin 2016 Hugo reading/planning.

    @ Peace
    I received and devoured the duck bacon, Yummmmmm!

  18. This is at least a page ago, but I couldn’t resist fake Variety headlines, even if I’m not exactly sure what the basic idea is going for. If it were vulpine instead of feline, it could be Vox Vexes Fox Rex. Or to stick with kitties, Vox Vexes Felis Rex. If this is supposed to be closer to the happy king of cats getting under someone’s skin (instead of vice versa), it could be Felix Felis Rex Vexes Vox.

    I’ll let myself out…

  19. Just found another author to squee over, by the way — Charlotte Ashley! Here’s her bibliography of recent publications. This woman has an imagination like… Well the answer to the old question “where do you get your ideas?” in her case must be drunken conversations with particularly demented denizens of fairyland. Her stories are all so different from each other and so unexpected. My favorite was “La Héron”, unfortunately the only one not free; but do read the others (but avoid “The Posthuman Condition” if you’re squeamish).

  20. I’m not a pixel, I’m a free scroll.
    It’s better to pixel out, than to scroll away.
    Dancing with pixels in our scrolls.
    Pixels for nothin’ and your scrolls for free.

  21. And I am sorry to say that I have been reading; not just any reading: but

    The Mighty Dead: why Homer Matters

    I’m happy to say that it’s a great book, and I’m entitled to some time to read stuff which is not SF/F…

  22. junego on December 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm said:

    @ Peace
    I received and devoured the duck bacon, Yummmmmm!

    I know, right?

  23. Princejvstin:

    Ammonites, trilobites, belemnites, stromatolites. And agatized dinosaur bone. And Morrisonite, Bruneau, Owyhee, Biggs …

    If I were rich, I would own way too many rocks.

  24. @TNH. You and me both. I have a candle holder made out of stone with belemnites in it, and a plate made of the same rock as well.

  25. I really, really wish GRRM would just stop with the “Puppy rapprochement”.

    The way he’s framing his arguments is just making things worse. 😐

  26. @ Tintinaus,

    I haven’t read any of her other books. I picked up The Red Queen because a friend had recommended it and thought that I might like it. I think she thought so because it has both action and intrigue. I would not have thought that this author had written other books. It read like a first novel to me, for the issues that you mentioned.

  27. Ammonites, trilobites, belemnites, stromatolites. And agatized dinosaur bone. And Morrisonite, Bruneau, Owyhee, Biggs …

    I have some petrified wood that isn’t agatized. It’s a bit fragile, and can’t be polished – but you can see the grain really well. Trilobites are cool, and so are ammonites.

    Here in 1376, we’d consider them, if we even had money.

  28. I’ve been waiting all year for Scalzi to announce he was writing something with Ringo and being published by Baen. A book I’ll have to borrow from the library to read his story.

    I enjoyed GRRM’s post on pro artist. I made a suggestion in the comments and he agreed the artist is a good one. Not totally surprising since Marc Simonetti has done work for GRMM. I was introduced to Simonetti’s work by Michael J. Sullivan a year or two ago.

  29. World Weary,

    Carmody has been writing ~30 years. The first book she wrote was the first in the series you read the conclusion to. The last three Obernewtyn books were all bloated messes for which blame, I think, can be shared with her editors/publishers. Her works are all so delayed(she has about 4 different projects going) I don’t think they bother editting. Just get the copy, check the spelling and get it out!

    If you are interested, check out her earlier works. They are shorter and by actually pretty good. They are middle grade/YA level mostly. I enjoyed them a lot.

  30. @Matt Y.: Thanks for the heads up on the Tim Powers novel. Word of it had somehow escaped me.

  31. I’m still working my way through MHI by LC. It was a good book to read this week. Keeps my attention just enough but doesn’t require lots of focus or thinking.

    Ultrasound results came back. Gallstone is about the size of my gallbladder so I need surgery. I’m told it’s not urgent as no ducts are blocked and nothing is infected. I expected this and it’s good news as it could be worse. But the 5 on scale of 10 pain will continue until it’s removed.

  32. Tasha Turner on December 30, 2015 at 9:05 pm said:

    Ultrasound results came back. Gallstone is about the size of my gallbladder so I need surgery.

    I’d say that must be galling but I know you hate puns 🙂
    Hope you get better soon.

  33. Stupid question to the “I’m done with 2015” folks: Does everyone already have “2016 books” or are you just talking about short fiction? I mean, I’m thinking it’ll be a few days or weeks before whatever I want from 2016 comes out; I haven’t checked, though (someone mentioned City of Blades 😉 ). Is everyone reading ARCs but me, or are some 2016 books already for sale early (which happens), or . . . ? I’ve had a long day, so maybe I’m just not thinking this through, sorry.

    @Tash Turner: I’m glad it’s not worse, but still, I’m sorry it’s not better. I hope the surgery goes smoothly and you get some pain management assistance (if feasible), ‘cuz 5 out of 10 till it’s removed makes me go EEK!

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