Pixel Scroll 4/24/21 The Fantastic Voyage Of Space Force Beagle One To The Non-Fungi Bottom Of The Fabulous Mushroom Planet Of The Apes Of Wrath, And Back Again

(1) ERRING EYE. Catherine Lacey’s short story “Congratulations on Your Loss” is the latest from Future Tense Fiction, a monthly series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination.

…Inside was a large photograph printed on thin paper, an image filling the whole sheet. The photograph—a grainy shot of a woman jaywalking across a street with a large blue purse tucked under one arm—had been taken from a high angle. On the left edge of the photograph a white car was visible, headed directly toward the woman, and on the right side a bit of a pedestrian walkway could be seen. A citation was printed on the back—this woman, it explained, was Enid, and Enid had illegally crossed Z Street last Thursday at 3:34 in the afternoon. The fine was enough to buy a week of modest groceries….

It comes with a response essay by human rights lawyer Nani Jansen Reventlow: “There’s no such thing as flawless facial recognition technology”.

A few years ago, I attended a meeting for litigators at a digital rights conference. When entering the room, I saw many familiar faces, and a few that were unfamiliar. When I introduced myself to one of the women I had never seen before, a white woman, she reacted in a most offended manner. “Yes, we met this morning at your office,” she snapped at me. Given that I had been nowhere near my office that morning, I was quite sure she was mistaken. In the course of this awkward exchange, it dawned on me that she was confusing me with my boss: also a woman of color, but in no way resembling me otherwise. “Ah, yes, we all look alike,” I sighed, rolling my eyes, and moved on….

(2) HOBBIT READING WITH MANY SFF AUTHORS. The Rutgers Writers House presents “The Hobbit: A Rutgers Day Round Robin Reading (Part 2)” a video on Facebook:  

Tolkien lived through a lot. His own global pandemic, two world wars (which included, of course, the bloody Battle of Somme), the Great Depression, the death of both parents by age twelve. Despite being disillusioned (like most of his generation), his stories are incredibly illusioned. And we need them now. These stories of adventure, of vigilance, of hardship and humor and hope. Here, then, is the next virtual installment of our continuing round robin reading of Tolkien’s The Hobbit (Chp 2 & 3). With over a hundred readers. Featuring a robust roster of RU students/alumni and faculty/staff, as well as two dozen authors, including Lev Grossman, Eoin Colfer, Stephen Graham Jones, Ellen Kushner, Joe Abercrombie, Karen Russell, Catherynne Valente, and Brian Selznick. Plus, Jeff VanderMeer, inexplicably dressed like a giant, blue caterpillar and Darcie Little Badger flipping and fanning a butterfly knife (which I suppose makes a strange sort of sequential sense). Lots of armor, too (both mail and plate). And plenty of hoods, torches, and swords. All in just an hour….

(3) LISTEN IN. “BBC World Service announces new original podcast, The Lazarus Heist”Exchange4Media has the highlights:

The BBC World Service has announced its major new original podcast, The Lazarus Heist. It tells the true story of an attempted $1 billion hack, which investigators say was carried out by a secretive ring of elite North Korean hackers. 

The Lazarus Heist is presented by cybercrime investigative journalist Geoff White and Pulitzer-nominated veteran foreign correspondent and world renowned North Korea expert, Jean Lee. Geoff has been investigating the underworld of digital crime for years, while Jean has extensive experience of reporting from inside North Korea. 

This major new release will initially run for 10 episodes, released weekly.

The first episode is at BBC Sounds: “The Lazarus Heist – 1. Hacking Hollywood”.

A movie, Kim Jong-un and a devastating cyber attack. The story of the Sony hack. How the Lazarus Group hackers caused mayhem in Hollywood and for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
And this is just the beginning…

(4) CHIPPING OFF EVERYTHING THAT ISN’T THE SOLUTION. In “The Creative Sherlock Holmes: Appreciating the Rational Thinker’s Hidden Artistry” at CrimeReads, Bonnie MacBird says that Sherlock Holmes was also an artist as well as a cool, rational thinker, and we need to understand his artistic side if we are to appreciate his abilities.

…Of course Holmes is every bit as much as artist as he is a scientist.

But artists create. What, exactly does Holmes create? You won’t find daubs of cerulean blue paint on his frock coat. “Data, data, data! I cannot make bricks without clay!” says he.

His art material is this data, this clay—the details, the facts of the case which he has observed or ferreted out. But only Holmes creates these bricks which build up the solution. He creates a mental model of “what happened, who did it, how, and why?”…

(5) ABOUT BRADBURY. The American Writers Museum hosts “Sam Weller: Telling Bradbury’s Story” on April 27 at 6:00 p.m. Central. Register for the free program here.

Ray Bradbury’s authorized biographer Sam Weller discusses the life and legacy of the iconic American writer. In conversation with American Writers Museum President Carey Cranston, Weller will speak on Bradbury’s writing, his worldwide impact, and his enduring relevance in American literature today. This program will be hosted on Zoom. 

(6) BEAR’S WRITER SURVIVAL TIPS. Elseweb on April 27, Anglia Ruskin University hosts Elizabeth Bear in another free online event: “AHSS Presents – a conversation with: Elizabeth Bear ‘How to Survive a Literary Life’”. Begins at 9:30 a.m. Pacific.

There’s a lot of information out there on how to perfect your work and seek publication. There’s not as much about how to deal with the stresses of writing for a living—inconsistent income streams, uncertainty, arbitrariness of the market, mental health issues, public exposure, professional jealousy, exploitative contracts, and more.  

Elizabeth Bear

(7) FORMERLY FAMOUS. Jeff Foust reviews a new documentary about Gerard K. O’Neill, “The High Frontier”, for The Space Review.

…O’Neill is largely forgotten, even among many who work in the space industry in some way today. But at the peak of interest in space colonies in the 1970s, O’Neill was, at least briefly, in the cultural mainstream, appearing on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and profiled on “60 Minutes.” The prospect of giant cities in space, built of out lunar materials that could also support development of space solar power facilities, seemed at least in the realm of the possible at the time.

The new documentary The High Frontier: The Untold Story of Gerard K. O’Neill attempts to rekindle that interest while reexamining the life of O’Neill. The 90-minute film had its premiere Saturday night on the Space Channel online, and is now available to rent or buy on various services, including iTunes and Google Play.

The movie extensively uses archival footage, including those “The Tonight Show” and “60 Minutes” appearances, as well as another show where O’Neill appeared alongside Isaac Asimov. That footage is combined with interviews with his family, colleagues, and others who knew or were inspired by him. It’s a who’s-who of the space advocacy community, with people such as Rick Tumlinson, Peter Diamandis, and Lori Garver, as well as pioneers in the commercial space industry like Charles Chafer and Jeffrey Manber. (Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk also appear in the film, but in footage from speeches they gave rather than interviews with the filmmakers.)…

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • April 24, 1955 — The X Minus One radio program aired on NBC for the first time. Written by Ray Bradbury, “And The Moon Be Still As Bright” is the tale of Mars expedition which finds the Martians extinct due to chickenpox brought to them by previous expeditions. The crew save one decide to destroy all Martian artefacts. Ernest Kinoy wrote the script from the story by Bradbury, and the cast included John Larkin and Nelson Olmstead.  The show would run from now until January 8, 1958 with many of coming from well-known SF authors including Anderson, Pohl, Asimov, Blish, Leiber, Heinlein and Simak to name just a few. You can hear this episode here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born April 24, 1900 – Elizabeth Goudge, F.R.S.L.  A score of novels, thirty shorter stories; here is The Little White Horse.  Nonfiction e.g. a Life of St. Francis.  Carnegie Medal.  Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  Memoir The Joy of the Snow.  (Died 1984) [JH]
  • Born April 24, 1911 – Evaline Ness.  Half a dozen covers, many interiors for us; much else.  Here is The Book of Three.  Here is Coll and His White Pig.  Here is Taran Wanderer.  Here is an interior for Sam, Bangs & Moonshine.  Caldecott Medal.  Society of Illustrators Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award.  See this Univ. Minnesota note.  (Died 1986) [JH]
  • Born April 24, 1930 Richard Donner, 91. He’s credited in directing Superman which is considered by many to be the first modern superhero film. H’h. Well I’m instead going to celebrate him instead for ScroogedThe Goonies and Ladyhawke. Not to mention the horror he did — Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood. Oh, and the first X-Men film which was superb.  (CE) 
  • Born April 24, 1936 Jill Ireland. For her short life, she showed up in an amazing number of genre shows. She was on Star Trek romancing Spock as Leila Kalomi In “This Side of Paradise” episode. She had five appearances on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as being on Night Gallery, My Favorite MartianVoyage to the Bottom of the SeaThe Voodoo Factor and the SF film The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything based on the 1962 novel of the same name by John D. MacDonald. (Died 1990.) (CE) 
  • Born April 24, 1946 Don D’Ammassa, 75. Considered to be one of the best and fairest long-form reviewers ever. His Encyclopedia of Science Fiction covers some five hundred writers and his two newer volumes, Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction and Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction are equally exhaustive. I can’t comment on his fiction as I’ve only ever encountered him as a reviewer. It appears the only novel of his available from the usual suspects is THE 39 ADEPTS: A Wanda Coyne novel. (CE) 
  • Born April 24, 1950 Michael Patrick Hearn, 71. Academic who has some of the best annotated works I’ve had the pleasure to encounter. I wholeheartedly recommend both The Annotated Wizard of Oz and The Annotated Christmas Carol, not to overlook Victorian Fairy Tales which is simply the best collection of those tales. (CE) 
  • Born April 24, 1953 – Larry Carmody, age 68.  Fanzines Eternity Road and (with Stu Shiffman) Raffles.  Chaired Lunacon ’84.  [JH]
  • Born April 24, 1955 – Wendy Delmater, age 66.  Eight short stories, four poems for us; editor, Abyss & Apex.  Otherwise e.g. Confessions of a Female Safety Engineer.  Website.  [JH]
  • Born April 24, 1973 – Judy Budnitz, age 48.  One novel, three shorter stories for us; maybe we should count others, see this note in Harvard Magazine.  “Magical or horrific or impossible things might happen in my stories, but the characters are always guided by the same human emotions that we all share.”  Two collections.  Jaffee Foundation Award, Wallant Award.  [JH]
  • Born April 24, 1974 – Leigh Fallon, age 47.  Four novels, one shorter story.  After a career in corporation treasury, traveling to eight countries, decided to write; now, with husband and four children, only travels between U.S. and Ireland.  So much for escapism.  [JH]
  • Born April 24, 1983 Madeline Ashby, 38. California-born Canadian resident writer whose Company Town novel created an entire city in an oil rig. Interestingly In 2013, she was a finalist for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer but recused herself on the grounds that her pro career started with her ‘09 publication of a short story in Nature, so her two-year eligibility period had already expired. And  her Machine Dynasties series is simply brilliant with resonances of the Murderbot series on it. (CE) 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Off the Mark covers a kaiju fashion dispute.
  • And Frankenstein strives for sartorial splendor at Bizarro.

(11) BARBARELLA. Bleeding Cool reports “Sarah A. Hoyt Writes Barbarella #1 For Dynamite July 2021 Solicits”. Believe me, I’m not going to start reporting every time a Puppy writes a comic, however, I wasn’t previously aware Hoyt was working in the field. So, news to me!

Sci-fi and fantasy novelist Sarah A. Hoyt, author of Uncharted, Darkship Thieves, and many more, is writing a new Barbarella series from Dynamite, based on the classic comic books, novels and movie, with new artist Madibek Musabekov, coming out in July.

(12) PURCHASING MATERIALS VS. SERVICES. “Libraries Can Use ARPA Funds on E-books, but Change May Be Needed”Publishers Weekly analyzes the issue.

Federal and state library officials have confirmed that funds allocated under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARPA) can be used to purchase digital content. But in guidance issued this week, leading vendor OverDrive clarified that the current licensing terms used by some publishers may have to be amended for libraries to license titles using those funds.

In a notice that went out to library customers on April 20, following conversations with IMLS officials, state librarians, and publishers, OverDrive explained that while IMLS has advised that licensing digital content is an acceptable use of ARPA funding, the agency also concluded that “metered” e-book access (licenses that apply lend or time limits on circulation) may be categorized as a “service” rather than as a “materials” purchase. And because ARPA funds must be used within a 16-month window (from June 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022), some of the lend-limited or time-limited licenses currently offered by publishers may not fully qualify under ARPA if the license term extends beyond the September 30, 2022 deadline for using ARPA funds….

(13) CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. Yahoo! News says that “An Oklahoma woman was charged with felony embezzlement for not returning a ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ VHS tape more than 20 years ago”. But the charge has now been dismissed.

…Caron McBride reportedly rented the “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” tape at a now closed store in Norman, Oklahoma in 1999, according to KOKH-TV. She was charged a year later, in March 2000, after it was not returned, KOKH-TV reported citing documents. 

McBride was notified about the charge by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office when she was attempting to change the name of her license after she got married, the news station reported. 

“She told me it was over the VHS tape and I had to make her repeat it because I thought, this is insane. This girl is kidding me, right? She wasn’t kidding,” McBride told KOKH-TV, adding that she does not recall renting the video. 

“I had lived with a young man, this was over 20 years ago. He had two kids, daughters that were 8, 10, or 11 years old, and I’m thinking he went and got it and didn’t take it back or something. I have never watched that show in my entire life, just not my cup of tea. Meanwhile, I’m a wanted felon for a VHS tape,” McBride told the news station.

The district attorney’s office has dismissed the charges.

McBride also recalled randomly getting let go from a few jobs, and now she understands why.

“This is why… because when they ran my criminal background check, all they’re seeing is those two words: felony embezzlement,” McBride told KOKH-TV. 

(14) NOT QUITE A PAIL OF AIR. Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait tells how“NASA’s MOXIE made oxygen on Mars” for SYFY Wire readers,

Well, isn’t this a breath of fresh air: An experiment on board the Mars Perseverance rover designed to produce breathable oxygen from carbon dioxide has been switched on and is working! On April 20 it produced 5 grams of oxygen — not a huge amount, but it’s designed to make as much as 10 grams per hour, and this is the very first time oxygen has been converted from native air on another planet.

The device is called MOXIE — the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment — and it’s small (like everything sent to Mars, size and mass are at a premium)….

(15) THE TERRIBLY WRONG OF SPRING. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “The Rite of Teletubbies” on YouTube, Martim Gueller fuses the Teletubbies with “The Rite of Spring”! (This will really get your weekend started right!)

(16) PULP HISTORY. On the 1950s British Science Fiction YouTube channel, lifelong fan Philip Harbottle talks about his introduction to sff in the 1950s, and show some rare vintage books from his collection. Episode 20 covers the Tit-Bits Science Fiction Library.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel “A Man, A Plan, A Pleonasm” Dern.]

41 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/24/21 The Fantastic Voyage Of Space Force Beagle One To The Non-Fungi Bottom Of The Fabulous Mushroom Planet Of The Apes Of Wrath, And Back Again

  1. 9) I agree, LadyHawke over Superman.

    I haven’t posted my reading lists in a while. Do people still want me to do that–or still not object to me doing that?

  2. Iphinome: I haven’t posted my reading lists in a while. Do people still want me to do that – or still not object to me doing that?

    Is this a trick question? 😀

    Please, do continue to post your reading lists.

  3. So that’s a yes? I have notes for counts 14 books including 4 Jane Austen fanfics and 5 more I read this but have no notes of–er–note. And no notes for rereads of oh I forgot to add that to Goodreads so now I have to go through again to figure out a star rating.

    I can break it up over the next few scrolls.

  4. I just finished re-reading Moorcock’s first Hawkmoon series and found it reasonably decent given its age. At the moment, I am making my way through Nancy Springer’s Book of Isle series and they are just as good as the first time I read them lo those many years ago. I wonder why Springer didn’t get more acclaim back in the day.

    Next, Hugo nominees.

  5. I reread Moorcock’s second Corum trilogy not too long ago and think it might be my favorite thing that he’s written, and the best from that first phase of his writing? It’s got a lovely Celtic melancholy, even if it doesn’t have quite as much wizardry and wild romance as, say, Elric.

  6. (14) How right that MOXIE is getting started on that essential pail of air.

    (15) This is so very wrong, and a delightful contribution to the twisted education of future innocent young children.

  7. 12) This is all an extension of some of the broader issues with ebooks, although in this case it’s combined with whoever wrote ARPA not realizing how library ebooks work.

    13) File that under “things that are wrong with America.”

  8. @Kit Harding–People who ought to having no idea how things work in libraries is an ongoing problem. Which yes, I know you know, but I’m stifling my “ebooks are expensive rentals” rant.

  9. 10) Off the Mark: As someone who bought two pairs of cargo shorts earlier today (to replace older pairs wearing out), I give a good “HA-RUMPH!” at the impertinence of this so-called cartoon.

  10. 11) Dynamite Comics? Their Dejah Toris was the absolute worst misogynist crap I’ve ever read. Rape porn for amputee fetischists. Truly horrible. Hoyt will fit right in.

  11. 6: That’s Anglia Ruskin University, as in East Anglia rather than Angela. A University in Cambridge but not Cambridge University.

  12. Meredith moment: Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End which had been nominated for a Retro Hugo is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine.

  13. Anthony on April 25, 2021 at 2:44 am said:
    6: That’s Anglia Ruskin University, as in East Anglia rather than Angela. A University in Cambridge but not Cambridge University.

    I saw a professional bio recently for someone who had put that they had attended Cambridge (AR) University.

  14. My ex-mother-in-law used to claim she went to Cambridge, when in fact she went to some specialist college in the city completely unrelated to the university.

  15. The University tends to lawyer up if anyone tries using both “Cambridge” and “University” in the name of an unrelated organisation, and as one of the foremost producers of said lawyers in the country there’s quite a few handy.

    Oxford didn’t manage to stamp on “Oxford Brookes University” quite hard enough.

  16. @Iphinome, here’s another vote. I’ve added to Mt. Tsunduku in the past due to your reading lists….

  17. @Cassy B. With the exception of the Jane Austen fanfic I’d assumed I was reading more or less the same stuff everyone else here was reading or am catching up on stuff the rest of you have already read because I’m lame and get tired and cranky and deep dive into old comfort reads and then fall behind on new stuff.

  18. Sometimes the stuff you mention is a few years old…. and I missed it when it came out. It’s not possible to keep track of everything all the time, so posts like yours are great for, “wait, XYZ published a new novel? I missed it!”

    Seriously, it’s a public service! <smile>

  19. Andrew (not Werdna) asks: Had Neil Clarke announced the TOC of the Best SF of 2020 yet?

    No, he has not. It’s published in October, so I’d expect an announcement in early Summer which is when he’s done it before.

  20. (14) as someone on Twitter wrote:
    there went a large portion of the plot of The Martian

  21. Andrew (not Werdna) says In previous years, there has been an announcement of contents as early as February http://file770.com/neil-clarke-releases-toc-for-best-science-fiction-of-the-year-volume-4/ but 2020 was strange in many ways.

    Yeah and this year is not returning to things as usual. I think one of the reasons I’ve been gifting so much chocolate via the post is that it’s a reaction against the weirdness of the Pandemic. I used to do such gifting face to face but I’m only out now for medical appointments and physical therapy. Yes Jenner, Jenner’s kids and Meaghan get chocolate but that is a small number compared to how I used to do it. I miss human contact, damn it!

  22. I went to a friend’s Friday Night Game Night this week for the first time in over a year. Was nice.

  23. (1) I have a vague recollection of a news item of a 19th century murder in Hong Kong committed in broad daylight by a caucasian, where all witnesses declared themselves unable to identify the suspect, because, after all, all caucasians looked alike…

  24. @microtherion: Not surprising if true, facial recognition in humans is a matter of practice. As a wise elf once said: “To sheep other sheep no doubt appear different. Or to shepherds.”

  25. @David: Problems of facial recognition/classification and elves turn up on in one of Charles Stross’ relatively recent novels.

  26. @David Shallcross
    We had box turtles. Only two of them needed a close look to identify them, because they were the same size, species, and s-x. But their eyes weren’t the same color, and one, if you looked, had a scar on one “shoulder” from being clipped by farm equipment. And the other could tell if there was food even when buried a couple of inches underground.

  27. @microtherion–

    (1) I have a vague recollection of a news item of a 19th century murder in Hong Kong committed in broad daylight by a caucasian, where all witnesses declared themselves unable to identify the suspect, because, after all, all caucasians looked alike…

    My dad was, for years, a merchant marine navigator, and several of his trips took him to the Far East–Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam. This was in the 1960s and my dad was born and raised in a very different time. Part of his education in being aware and paying attention was being on the receiving end of “all you people look alike” several times. He decided that if he expected Asians to be able to tell the difference between Scandinavians and Spanish, he could make the effort to recognize differences that, to Asians, were just as obvious. And the world became a more interesting place for him.

    But yeah, a very real thing.

    @Iphinome–

    @Cassy B. With the exception of the Jane Austen fanfic I’d assumed I was reading more or less the same stuff everyone else here was reading or am catching up on stuff the rest of you have already read because I’m lame and get tired and cranky and deep dive into old comfort reads and then fall behind on new stuff.

    It is never true that everyone has read all the same stuff. You regularly post about things I haven’t read.

    But I know the feeling. I write a book review blog, and still think that no one cares about my opinion about any book…

  28. Lis Carey says But I know the feeling. I write a book review blog, and still think that no one cares about my opinion about any book…

    Actually I read and do care about your opinions. I’ve decided many times to listen to something after reading one of your reviews.

  29. @Cat Eldridge–Thank you! The thing I want most from my blog is that people should be able to decide whether they want to read or listen to something.

    But nothing will save me from Imposter Syndrome. 😉

  30. Lis Carey says Thank you! The thing I want most from my blog is that people should be able to decide whether they want to read or listen to something.

    Your reviews are spoiler-free reviews that tell me enough that I can tell if a given work is worth listening to. That’s a rare trait among reviewers these days who sometimes I think like verbiage over clarity.

  31. Lis Carey: He decided that if he expected Asians to be able to tell the difference between Scandinavians and Spanish, he could make the effort to recognize differences that, to Asians, were just as obvious. And the world became a more interesting place for him.

    After recognizing that this was something I did not do well, for the past few years, I’ve been practicing. Whenever I see pictures of people who have heritage different from mine in media photos, or on genre sites, or on Twitter, I challenge myself to name them. If I don’t know who they are, I find out and then I go read their Wikipedia page and do a Google Image search and look at numerous photos of them. I’ve learned about a lot of people this way, and have gotten much better at facial recognition in the process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.