Pixel Scroll 1/9/17 Old King Cole Had A Merry Old Scroll


(1) SPECTRUM 24 CALL FOR ENTRIES. John Fleskes, Spectrum Director, has issued an invitation for professional and student artists, art directors, publishers and artists’ representatives to submit entries to the 24th Annual Spectrum International Competition for Fantastic Art.

All artworks in all media embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror and the surreal are eligible for this show. Fantastic art can be subtle or obvious, traditional or off-the-wall, painted, sculpted, done digitally or photographed: There is no unacceptable way to create art, and there are no set rules that say one piece qualifies while another does not. Imagination and skill are what matters. Work chosen by the jury will be printed in full color in the Spectrum annual, the peer-selected “best of the year” collection for the fantastic arts.

Entries will be accepted until January 25. Click here to submit.

The Spectrum 24 jury is a five member panel of exceptional artists working in the industry today, Christian Alzmann, Laurie Lee Brom, Mark Newman, John Picacio and Victo Ngai.

Spectrum represents such a rich visual history and standard of excellence for what we collectively dream in the fantastic art field,” states John Picacio. “I’ve always been grateful any time my work was selected for inclusion in the annual, and it’s a profound honor and responsibility to give back to the book this year as a juror.”

(2) GOLDEN GLOBES. Although there were a lot of Golden Globe nominees of genre interest in the December announcement, all lost except one:

Best Motion Picture – Animated

  • Zootopia

(3) ERIC FLINT HEALTH. Flint did not get the best possible news from his medical tests:

I’ll have more to report by the end of the month, when all the tests and biopsy results finally come in. But here’s what definite:

I do have a form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, although they still don’t know exactly what type. (That’s what’s taking so long for the biopsy to be finished.) Once they know what kind it is, they’ll start me on a chemotherapy program.

Sadly, my hopes in the hospital that since the surgery had gone so well maybe the cancer was completely gone turned out to be childish delusions. (Which I suspected myself, but…) Lymphoma is what they call a systemic cancer, which means that surgery by itself can’t do anything but arrest the malignancy for a while and provide the material needed for a thorough biopsy. But to really fight lymphoma, you need chemotherapy.

The good news is that lymphoma generally responds well to chemo, and it’s not uncommon for people to be cured of the disease altogether. We’ll see what happens in my case, but even in the worst case scenario it looks as if I’ll have quite a few years to fend the cancer off.

However, he says frankly that after chemo he may live for years to come —

if you look at it the right way. I’ll be 70 in a month. I don’t have to fight off lymphona indefinitely. I just have to fight it off long enough for something else to bump me off.

(4) EYES WIDE WHAT? Myke Cole’s next tweet will explain how his stories are like radio except with no sound.

(5) HOMAGE. The late Gordon Archer did a lot of commercial art for Weetabix cereal involving Doctor Who, Star Trek, Asterix and other pop culture subjects which his son now has on display on a website[Corrected, because Archer is still with us, as his son states in a comment below.]


(6) HITLER UNBEARABLE. “A A Milne letter features in Imperial War Museum’s anti-war show”, from The Guardian.

Winnie the Pooh creator’s letter reflects moral dilemma of pacifists faced with rise of Hitler in interwar period

…The Milne letter has been retrieved from its vast collection of documents and reflects the conflict felt by many pacifists who had experienced the horrors of the first world war and earnestly hoped “never again”.

“It encapsulates the moral dilemma that a lot of pacifists had in the interwar period,” said curator Matt Brosnan. “Milne opposed war but increasingly saw Hitler and the Nazis as an evil that had to be met by force.”

In his letter, Milne declared himself a “practical pacifist”, writing: “I believe that war is a lesser evil than Hitlerism, I believe that Hitlerism must be killed before war can be killed.”

(7) KOWAL INTERVIEW IN LOCUS. An excerpt of Locus’ interview with Mary Robinette Kowal has been posted at Locus Online.

The moment I knew I was setting something during the First World War, I knew that darkness was going to be part of it, and that I would have to work really hard to keep the darkness from completely overwhelming Ghost Talkers. When you do any reading at all about the First World War, it becomes very clear why it made such a huge, permanent mark on Europe – and the US less so, because we were not directly touched by it. It wasn’t even the death tolls, because in England a lot of men actually came home, but everyone came home wounded in some way, either physically or emotionally. I read interview after interview of survivors saying, ‘I went over the top of the trench, and everyone in my platoon died. I don’t know why I lived.’ I knew going in that dealing with someone who deals with ghosts as her job, during WWI, would mean a darker book than people are used to from me. On the other hand, the last book in the Glamourist series, I jokingly refer to as ‘Regency Grimdark.’

(8) DIVERSITY DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN. Nalo Hopkinson’s advice “To Anthology Editors”.

But here’s where those voices have a point: if you wait till after you’ve put out your call for submissions to run around trying to fill in diversity slots for your anthology — you know, the “one of each so long as there aren’t too many of them” approach — you will more likely than not end up with a dog’s breakfast of a volume in which it’s clear that you selected writers for their optics, not their writing. That’s tokenism, not sound editorial practice. The time to be trying to make your anthology a diverse one is before submissions come in, not during or after.

On the other hand, if you just put your call for fiction out there and cross your fingers, you’ll end up with mostly the usual suspects. It’s not enough to simply open the door. Why? Because after centuries of exclusion and telling us we’re not good enough, an unlocked door is doing jack shit to let us know that anything’s changed. Most of us will continue to duck around it and keep moving, thank you very much. We’ll go where we know there are more people like us, or where there are editors who get what we’re doing.

So make up your mind that you’re going to have to do a bit of work, some outreach. It’s fun work, and the results are rewarding….

(9) RARA AVIS. Definitely not on my bucket list.

(10) CHRISTENSEN OBIT. Artist Jim Christensen died January 8 of cancer. He was 74.

Christensen saw himself not as the “fantasy artist” label given him, but rather as an artist who paints the fantastic.

“I paint things that are not real,” he told the Deseret News in 2008. “But fantasy often ventures into the dark and scary stuff. I made a decision long ago that I would not go to dark places. There’s a lot of negativity in the world. I try not to be part of it.”

His honors and awards include being named a Utah Art Treasure as well as one of Utah’s Top 100 Artists by the Springville Museum of Art and receiving the Governor’s Award for Art from the Utah Arts Council. He had won all the professional art honors given by the World Science Fiction Convention as well as multiple Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Christensen had served as president of the National Academy of Fantastic Art, and he co-chaired the Mormon Arts Foundation with his wife, Carole.


Dave Doering paid tribute: “I loved this man. For various years he was our Artist GoH at LTUE but also quite well known in all fantasy art circles.”


  • January 9, 1493 — On this date, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids”–in reality manatees–and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”

(12) WORLDBUILDERS. At Tor.com, David Weber discusses five authors who he says are “great world-builders.” All five of the authors are women: Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz, Mercedes Lackey, Barbara Hambly, and Patricia McKillip:

“[McKillip] is, without a doubt, one of my two or three all-time favorite authors. When I first read The Riddle-Master of Hed in 1978, I immediately went out and found Heir of Sea and Fire and then waited impatiently for Harpist in the Wind. In many ways, the Riddle-Master’s world is less fully articulated than Pern or Gwynedd, but I think that’s because so much of the detail is cooking quietly away in the background behind the land rulers. There’s a sense of an entire consistent, coherent foundation and history/backstory behind all of it, but the struggles of Morgon, Raerdale, and Deth take front stage with an intensity that reaches out and grabs the reader by the shirt collar and shakes him or her to the bone. Patricia’s prose is absolutely gorgeous and evocative and her stories fully satisfy the deep love for the language my parents taught me as a very young reader. I literally don’t think it’s possible to over-recommend this series … and the rest of her stuff is pretty darn good, too.”

(13) ST. ELSEWHERE. But did it work? “This Brazilian Grandma Has Been Accidentally Praying to a ‘Lord of the Rings’ Statuette”  —

Saint Anthony of Padua’s the patron saint of Brazil, Portugal, pregnant women, and the elderly. He wears brown robes, and he usually holds baby Jesus and lilies. And – as one Brazilian woman discovered – a miniature figure of Santo Antônio also vaguely looks like Elrond, the elf lord of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings. Brazilian makeup artist Gabriela Brandao made the hilarious discovery last week and posted about it on Facebook for all to see. Brandao explained that her daughter’s great-grandmother prayed to the Elrond figurine daily, erroneously believing it was Santo Antônio.

(14) IMAGINARY HUGO RECOMMENDATIONS. There is no such work, except in your mind:

Well, and Chuck’s mind.

(15) BRIANNA WU’S CAMPAIGN. She’s already gaining media attention in Boston.

Brianna Wu was at the center of “Gamer-Gate” and received some horrific threats over social media. But instead of keeping a low profile, she tells Jim why she’s now planning on running for Congress.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Andrew Porter, Rob Thornton, Arnie Fenner, and Dave Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

98 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/9/17 Old King Cole Had A Merry Old Scroll

  1. Having just finished the Riddle-master of Hed trilogy, I can early understand Weber’s claim.

    ETA: Null-A fifth! Or wait… A-fifth?

  2. Blurst!

    Hey, my W is back! I got my computer back from the shop today, and not a minute too soon.

    I shot a pixel in the air. It fell to earth, I know not where.

  3. (5) HOMAGE

    I had a lot of weetabix as a child, but never those wonderful Who boxes.

    (Do you get Weetabix outside the UK?)


    A good list that’s just ripe for disagreeing with!

    The merits of worldbuilding skills often gets confined to fantasy, so I’d balance this up by mentioning the universe-building skills of CJ Cherryh – I always want to hear more from Merchanter/Alliance. I might follow that up with Banks.


    Sorry, Chuck, I’m going to have to stick with last year’s policy of thinking you’re hilarious but not actually voting for you.

  4. (12) Nice, an unconventional list! I’ve read 3 of them – McKillip, McAffrey, Lackey – and love McKillip in particular. In the Forests of Serre was a lovely read. I need to check out Hambly and Kurtz.

  5. (Do you get Weetabix outside the UK?)

    I read James Blaylock’s The Last Coin recently, which has a plot thread in which it’s said to be readily available in Canada but unusual in the US.

  6. Mark on January 9, 2017 at 11:41 pm said:

    (Do you get Weetabix outside the UK?)

    It’s ‘Weetbix’ in Australia and apparently that is the original and the British one is the spin-off. [British one is better though] The Australian one is still owned by a company owned by the Seventh Day Adventist church.

    That is all the Weetabix trivia I have.

  7. If I’m remembering the right Weetabix boxes, the games were nothing particularly special – straightforward roll-the-dice, move-that-number-of-spaces stuff, with space or alien-planet artwork – but the stand-up figures were rather nice; just flat cardboard, of course, with a folding strip at the bottom that you could use to stand them up, but an interesting selection of Who creatures, including some relatively obscure ones like the Quarks and the White Robots. (Anyone suggesting the Quarks should have stayed obscure… has a point, I have to admit.)

    Alas, I disposed of all my cardboardy treasures to an even more rabid Who fan back when I was still at school….

  8. Best wishes for Mr. Flint’s health.

    12) I saw that list yesterday and before I clicked to see the people, I was expecting the usual subjects, and a sausage fest. I was delighted by the choices (although my partisanship of Kate Elliott’s work makes me wish she was on this list too…)

  9. You can get Weetabix in the US. It’s easy to find in Chicago. And, of course, you can get it from Amazon.

  10. 15) Look, I realise that most of the left is secretly in love with the Donald. But its a bit early to begin campaigning for his reelection. The man hasn’t even been inaugerated yet.

  11. @7: Kowal has a point about the US-centric view of WWI — or of any other history. I had the privilege of taking US colonial history from a British teacher; it was an enlightening experience.

  12. It seems to me that if you say ‘Saint Anthony, help me’, you are praying to Saint Anthony. The statue is just an aid to devotion; the prayer is not literally addressed to it, and if anyone hears the prayer, it is Saint Anthony, not Elrond.

  13. Best wishes to Eric Flint. And may the door wham his lymphoma on its ass as it goes out.

  14. Tor.com are doing their annual “best of…” e-book giveaway, which might be handy for Hugo reading. Lot’s of good stuff in their, but I might point to “A Dead Djinn in Cairo”, “The City Born Great” and “Finnegan’s Field” as particularly worthwhile. (Mind you, I haven’t read them all, so there may be some gems I’m missing).

    Anyone pondering Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen and/or the eligibility of the Vorkosigan series for best series might be very interested in this Q&A from LMB herself:

    Gary asked Lois McMaster Bujold:
    I know SFWA ruled that Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen was eligible for last year’s Nebula award because of the ARC sale in 2015. Has there been a ruling regarding Hugo eligibility for this coming year? The voting period will soon be upon us and I’d really like to know.

    Lois McMaster Bujold
    I am not the person to answer this. I suggest you write to/inquire of the Hugo administrators, who have contact info somewhere on the Worldcon website.

    Ta, L.

    Later: I asked. The view of the Hugo administrators seems to be that the SFWA ruling is not theirs, and that fans may nominate the book as usual per its hardcover first publication date of February 2016, i.e., for this year’s Helsinki Worldcon.

    I’m not quite sure if “fans may nominate…” is definite or just a “no comment yet, but the SFWA ruling shouldn’t influence what anyone does.”

  15. @ Andrew M – And I would add that most saints, having once been human, probably have something of a sense of humor about this sort of thing. (Barring a few notably humorless exceptions.)

  16. Agree with Andrew M and RedWombat. She’s praying to St. Anthony, regardless of the figurine.

    And it’s still funny, and St. Anthony probably agrees. 😉

  17. People, this kind of imprecise thinking is how we get giant a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man destroying New York!

  18. The depth of the impact of WWI – and remember that the generation that were the political and military leaders in WWII and the 1950s were the generation that fought in WWI – is much understated in both British and (more so) American popular history.

    France had over a quarter of a million dead before Verdun, the same again during Verdun, and that was still only a year into the war.

    A third of the entire adult male population of Serbia died. A third.

    Every town and village in England has a war memorial with a long list of names for WWI (and a list about half as long for WWII tacked on somewhere). Even now, you can’t go anywhere without finding one. The same in France – I remember leaving the palace in Versailles and walking past the memorial there. Seeing the tricolour for the first time in a while, and the list of hundreds of names of Versaillais who had died “pour la patrie”. I had never really got the French Revolution emotionally until that moment.

    Then there were the wounded. The hundred of thousands who’d spent three years or more in a PoW camp in Germany. The innumerable amputees. The shell-shocked whose minds had been broken by the utter horror of modern war.

    Even now, saying “never again” to that horror is the basis of the emotional case for the EU.

  19. Re: Elrond and St. Anthony, in a work as informed by Tolkien’s Catholicism as LOTR, I’m wondering which Saint or holy figure’s attributes are mapped I onto Elrond.

  20. News Flash: Vox Day throws in the towel, tells followers not to register for WorldCon 75. Blames EPH. Says Rabid Puppies will focus on the Dragon Awards from here on.

    But he’ll still have a recommended list, and between the Rabid Puppies who’re eligible to nominate (because they were members of MidAmeriCon 2) and his 66 supporters who are actual fans, the Rabid Puppies could still dominate a few categories despite EPH and 5-of-6. It really depends on whether they still have the will to do so.

  21. Of course, Vox being Vox, he’s throwing in the sacred towel of victory and marching triumphantly out of the ring.

    Let the SF-SJWs do their happy dances and celebrate the success of EPH, little realizing that in adopting it, they have done exactly what we intended in pursuit of our long term objective.

    (The thought does cross my mind that he might publically decline to participate in the Hugos and use his double-secret email list to distribute a list of favored nominees to his most faithful. I guess we’ll find out in a few months.)

  22. Okay. Puppies gonna do what Puppies gonna do.

    It seems to me that praying to a figurine of Elrond will work exactly as well as praying to a statue of St. Anthony, so no harm done.

    Bartimeus–yes, you really owe it to yourself to check out Barbara Hambly’s SFF works. (I also enjoy her Free Man of Color series but those are more historical fiction.)

    Best wishes to Eric Flint for beating his cancer–or, as he mentions, staying ahead of it until something else wins out.

  23. May I just offer quiet applause for the phrase “throwing in the sacred towel of victory and marching triumphantly out of the ring”.

    And may I also echo the good wishes to Eric Flint.

  24. Yes, yes, exactly what they intended in pursuit of their long term objective that Beale just came up with five minutes before he wrote his post.

    Rabid Puppies: Redefining defeat into victory one stepped-on rake at a time.

  25. In the day job we’ve been working on the involvement of College members (and staff where we can but they’re much harder to track unfortunately) in WW1. A small Cambridge College, annual intake of about 35 students pre-war, 440 names listed as having served in some capacity. There’s also The War List of The University of Cambridge that was put together after the war and tried to list all Members of the University (Academic staff and matriculated students, again very little about the hundreds of non-academic staff who were also involved) who had served.

  26. Best wishes to Eric Flint. I went through chemo and radiation treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma 19 years ago, so yeah, his outlook could be very good.

  27. @Seth Gordon

    The thought does cross my mind that he might publically decline to participate in the Hugos and use his double-secret email list to distribute a list of favored nominees to his most faithful.

    We learned last year that he has about 240 people who are willing to update their ballots on 24-hours notice. Those might be his mailing list. However, if they don’t register this year and if half of them didn’t register last year either, that sharply limits the influence they could have.

    I would say that his strategy last year was an utter failure, and that it was obvious all along that it would be. He assumed that Hugo voters would mindlessly No Award anything that he recommended, but, in fact, they had no problem distinguishing the “hostages” (who would have been on the ballot even without the Puppies) from the “spoilers.” (2016 Hugo Nominations Organic Estimate.)

    After his defeat at Sasquan in 2015, he had vowed to burn the Hugo Awards to the ground. In the 2016 nominations, he had the numbers to do it, but he blew it. All he had to do was have his people nominate either items published by his own publishing house (Castalia) or else total garbage–preferably with embarrassing titles. The fans would have been forced to give No Award in all but two or three categories, and those categories would have contained only one or two organic nominations each.

    It was his one and only chance to burn down the awards before EPH took effect, since EPH makes it nearly impossible for him to sweep the major categories. His “master plan” failed because it was stupid. Expecting him to have a brilliant new master plan is giving him too much credit.

  28. Vox is gonna vox. Maybe it’s a sekrit ruse, maybe it’s a win, maybe he wants to go brigade something else. Who knows? Let him go quietly into the night and let’s move on – it’s nominatin’ time!

  29. @Joe H.

    May I just offer quiet applause for the phrase “throwing in the sacred towel of victory and marching triumphantly out of the ring”.

    I agree. Seth Gordon knocked that one out of the park.


    Rabid Puppies: Redefining defeat into victory one stepped-on rake at a time.

    Almost as good, especially because it makes me remember fine autumn days of raking leaves, jumping into the piles, and discovering dog shit had got mixed in with the leaves. (Hmm, the metaphor I was trying for didn’t quite come together for me.)

  30. VD: Later this year I will also be making recommendations for the Dragon Award, which is in the process of becoming the more significant SF/F award. Keep in mind that you should NOT vote yet for the Dragon Award.

    Sure, if “in the process of becoming more significant” means “had almost no promotion and ended up with a very obviously gamed result, with most fiction finalists being barely-known works”, yeah. 🙄

    Aaaaand… it looks as though the Dragon Awards will be even more easily-gamed this year, since no registration step is apparently required this year.

    And they’re still going with that ill-advised July 1 to June 30 eligibility period, which is just unfathomable to me.

  31. It’s worth noting that he still has his rump of supporters who can nominate this year – he mentions concentrating on Best Series where the organic vote could be very diffuse – and as Greg says he could still do damage in the lower-voting categories, so hopefully everyone who had good intentions to try and nominate widely keeps up their enthusiasm to do so.
    Also, I hope that just because this specific problem has (apparently) gone away that the support for measures to prevent slating in general doesn’t lessen.

  32. @Mark

    Also, I hope that just because this specific problem has (apparently) gone away that the support for measures to prevent slating in general doesn’t lessen.

    At previous business meetings, there have been people who spoke as though things like EPH were only temporary measures that we could get rid of once the puppies get tired and go away. There will be a vote in Helsinki this year to suspend EPH for a year. That was part of the original proposal, as a safeguard in case it performed very badly. I expect, though, that there will be a serious effort to do just that. And I’m sure there will be new opposition to ratifying 3SV and/or EPH+ on the grounds that “we don’t need it now.”

    Eric and I will both be in Helsinki this year (and hope to see lots of Filers we haven’t met yet), and we plan to vote to retain EPH and 5 of 6, and to ratify 3SV and EPH+. I’m cautiously optimistic that having a larger European contingent will mean people will be more comfortable with the idea that proportional voting is a good thing. But I’m really worried that there could be a successful attempt to deactivate EPH.

  33. I took at peek at Mad Genius Club to see if they’d reacted to Vox Day’s news, and I discovered that they’re dealing with an attempted coup.


    I wondered who they were talking about, but a little searching turned up this post by Declan Finn:


    Amusingly, Finn is now blaming File770 for having misinterpreted him. To my knowledge, this is the first any of us have even noticed his post. Was it commented on in a different thread?

  34. @Greg

    I share your concerns. I really hope the BM considers that going back to a two year delay in reacting to anyone with an axe to grind is not a good idea, and doing this all again in a few years would be a serious waste of their time – now that EPH (and improvements) are in place or ready to go this year it would be shortsighted to retreat to square one.

    ETA – nope, this is literally the first mention of Declan Finn here for at least a week. Camestros hasn’t covered it on his blog either, and he’s the only other possibility I can think of.

  35. @Mark
    The reasoning was that these are major changes and if they turn out to have major problems, we’ll need a way to turn them off immediately and not have to wait two years. The provision only allows for suspending it for one year–not repealing it. The logical for that is that if we repealed it, but then the puppies came roaring back, we wouldn’t want to wait another two years to turn it back on.

    So until we see the actual results of EPH this year, there really won’t be a substantive reason to vote to suspend it. I view it as something we ought to do anyway, but I know a lot of people think of it as an unpleasant complication that makes the rules look silly. If 3SV passes, there are definitely people who believe that it makes EPH unnecessary and who’ll argue to suspend it/repeal it just because it would make the system easier to explain to people.

    Personally, I like the idea that an SFF group has a space-age algorithm for voting, but not everyone feels that way.

  36. The MGC article said that the potential SP5 coup article was on Facebook. Of course it’s just a false flag operation. That’s the way we scroll.

    I don’t think it’s worth the effort trying to figure out what the Rabid camp might be up to. They have the whole Trump Dynasty to keep them busy for a few years. The Hugos become small potatoes.

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