Pixel Scroll 4/2/17 Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Pixel Scroller.

(1) FREE AT LAST. It will be a historic moment when Baen Books releases volume 1 of The Best of Gordon R. Dickson on April 4, because the collection will include the never before published “Love Story,” written for Harlan Ellison’s legendary, but never published anthology, The Last Dangerous Visions. 

The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume I, gathers together fourteen stories, predominantly from the first half of legendary science fiction and fantasy writer Gordon R. Dickson’s career, ranging from the early 1950s through the 1960s, including tales dragons, dolphins, aliens, werewolves, mutants and humans trying to make sense of an infinitely bewildering universe.

A maiden aunt is suddenly given superpowers. An alien who looks like a large, sentient rabbit makes ominous announcement which make no sense from behind an impenetrable force shield. Humans besieged by an alien enemy refuse, against all reason, to give up fighting. And much more, in stories running the gamut from exciting adventure to stark tragedy to hysterical comedy.

This is the first of two volumes.

 (2) THE VERDICT. This is from an advice column by “Judge John Hodgman” in the December 11 New York Times Magazine.

Phil asks:  “”My wife and I have agreed on a name for our future daughter, but we disagree on the spelling.  She wants ‘Mira”; I want ‘Meera.’ She prefers her spelling because she says it looks better.  I prefer ‘Meera’ as a tribute t George R.R. Martin and his character of the same name–and because the name cannot be mispronounced.’

John Hodgman:  “As a fan myself, I can appreciate your desire to name your daughter after Meera Reed, the trident-weilding heir to Greywater Watch.  But I think there are many traumatized Bilbos who will want a word with you first.  As it happens, ‘Meera’ is actually a real Hindi name here on Earth.  You can try to sell your wife on that.  But we all know what you’re really doing.  This court rules: Mira, a name meaning ‘wonderful,’and one that has never been misrpronounced.”

(3) INCOMING. Because Mount TBR is never high enough, allow me to refer you to The Verge’s list of “39 science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels to read this April”.

For example, coming April 11 –

Tender by Sofia Samatar

Sofia Samatar won widespread praise for her novels A Stranger in Olondria and The Winged Histories. She’s now releasing her first collection of short fiction, Tender. The collection’s 20 stories include letters, supernatural beings, Middle Eastern fairy tales, and quite a bit more. The book has also since earned a coveted starred rating from Kirkus Reviews, which called the book “an impressive collection of stories that excite the imagination.”

(4) COOL STUFF. The Washington Post tells how “One of America’s foremost rare-book appraisers hangs on in the digital age”.

Stypeck is an impossible character, the kind of larger-than-life raconteur people say doesn’t exist inside the button-down Beltway. He’s the impresario of Second Story Books, one of the nation’s foremost appraisers of rare books and manuscripts, and a regular on “Chesapeake Collectibles” on Maryland Public Television.

Over his four-decade career, this “wanna see something cool?” gambit might have referred to an $11 million copy of John J. Audubon’s “Birds of America”; the mummified corpse of Gold Tooth Jimmy, a Detroit gangster; Henry Kissinger’s papers; dinosaur eggs; or a first edition of “The Great Gatsby,” complete with the telltale error “sick in tired,” on Page 205, which would let you know the book you’re holding is likely worth $100,000 or more.

(5) SCAM ALERT. Scholar Douglas A. Anderson adds to yesterday’s discussion of Routledge’s buck-a-page Tolkien book:

What you didn’t notice about this book is that it is supposed to be printed in a 50-copy edition.  This publisher did a similar critical set for James Joyce a couple of years ago.  Basically, they are out to soak money out of 50 large libraries.

Routledge announced this table of contents in December 2016.  I and several other Tolkien scholars were never contacted about the reprint rights of our works, and I checked with my publishers too, who told me they hadn’t been approached either.  I have told Routledge twice that I emphatically refuse permission to reprint my work (and I asked my publishers to refuse permission as well), and asked that my name and works be removed from their contents page.  So far, this has not happened.

As far as I can tell, this is an academic publishing scam of the worst type, and it should be called out for what it is.

(6) COMIC SECTION. John King Tarpinian found a cartoon that combines references to sf and the impending tax return deadline at Frank and Ernest.


  • April 2, 1513 — Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida and claimed it for the King of Spain

A number of years ago, maybe a dozen, Ray Bradbury had just done an appearance at the Woodland Hills library branch.  Afterwards, we went across the street for dinner.  There were about a dozen of us, Ray’s entourage (including me) plus the library staff.  Ray sat at the head of the table, sipping wine, as the rest of us were sharing stories and laughing.

All of a sudden Ray turned to me and asked for a pen and paper.  He jotted down a few notes.  I, jokingly, asked Ray if he had just written a new story.  Sure enough a story had just came to him, fully formed.  Ponce de Leon came to the new world looking for the fountain of youth.  He discovers that the true fountain of youth is laughter.  The story came to him because of the rest of us sitting around and laughing

  • April 2, 1971 — The final episodes of Dark Shadows aired.

Dark Shadows’ Jonathan Frid


  • Born April 1, 1942 – Samuel R. Delany


  • Born April 2, 1914 – Alec Guiness – from The Man in the White Suit to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

(10) MEDICAL AND OTHER EXPENSES. Atlanta fan Lewis Murphy, a long-time member of ASFS, needs help and has started a GoFundMe appeal to raise $5,000.

This is to defray costs of my medical treatments, transportation, and living expenses. I currently try to live on disabilty and a part-time job. I live alone. I am in congestive heart failure and require a replacement defib/pacemaker in the next month.

Though I can drive, my car broke down almost 2 years ago and the company responsible refused to honor the warranty. I had to sell the car and now rely on public transportation for everything, which is much more expensive than a cheap car.

People have donated $1,755 of the $5,000 target in the first five days.

(11) CRASH COMING. Tom Galloway predicts the Internet could go down on April 8 because San Diego Comic-Con,  New York Comic-Con, Gallifrey One (LA), and Blizzcon (Anaheim) tickets will go on sale that day.

(12) BUTLER TRIBUTE. The lineup of writers for Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler has been announced. The collection of original letters and essays will be published by Twelfth Planet Press in June 2017.

There are letters from people who knew Butler and those who didn’t; some who studied under her at the Clarion and Clarion West workshops and others who attended those same workshops because of her; letters that are deeply personal, deeply political, and deeply poetic; and letters that question the place of literature in life and society today.

Essays include original pieces about Butler’s short story “Bloodchild” and whether we should respect Butler’s wishes about not reprinting certain works. All of these original pieces show the place that Octavia Butler had, has, and will continue to have in the lives of modern writers, editors, critics and fans…. Luminescent Threads will also include reprints of articles that have appeared in various forums, like SF Studies, exploring different aspects of Butler’s work.

Here’s the lineup: Rasha Abdulhadi, Raffaella Baccolini, Moya Bailey, Steven Barnes, Michele Tracy Berger, Tara Betts, Lisa Bennett Bolekaja, Mary Elizabeth Burroughs, K Tempest Bradford, Cassandra Brennan, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Stephanie Burgis, Christopher Caldwell, Gerry Canavan, Joyce Chng, Indra Das, L Timmel Duchamp, Sophia Echavarria, Tuere TS Ganges, Stephen R Gold, Jewelle Gomez, Kate Gordon, Rebecca J Holden, Tiara Janté, Valjeanne Jeffers, Alex Jennings, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Kathleen Kayembe, Hunter Liguore, Karen Lord, ZM Qu?nh, Asata Radcliffe, Aurelius Raines II, Cat Rambo, Nisi Shawl, Jeremy Sim, Amanda Emily Smith, Cat Sparks, Elizabeth Stephens, Rachel Swirsky, Bogi Takács, Sheree Renée Thomas, Jeffrey Allen Tucker, Brenda Tyrrell, Paul Weimer, Ben H Winters, K Ceres Wright, and Hoda Zaki.

(13) SLAUGHTERDOGHOUSE 451? That will not be the title of the book Doris V. Sutherland plans to write about Puppy history using her series of blog posts as the core.

A while back I contributed a series of articles to Women Write About Comics where I compared the stories nominated for the 2014 Hugo Awards with the stories on the 2015 Sad/Rabid Puppies slates; the total word count was around 40,000. I followed the articles up by reviewing the 2016 nominees, which took about 11,000 words.

I was surprised when I did the sums: had I really written that much? Had the combined word count of my Hugo reviews actually surpassed that of Slaughterhouse-FiveFahrenheit 451 and The Great Gatsby? As hard as it was to believe, it was true. I had written a book’s worth of material.

Which made the next stage obvious: rework my articles into a book!

… While my WWAC articles divided the stories by Hugo category, I want to try something more organic in Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers. Certain chapters will focus on the work of key authors, such as Larry Correia and John Scalzi, while others will cover genres and subgenres: military SF, horror fiction, space opera and so forth. My intention is to rework my WWAC posts from a pile of reviews into a set of cohesive essays that locate the stories within a more precise cultural context.

One of the topics that I would like to examine is how the Puppies have evolved from a pressure group focusing on the Hugos at the behest of an established author (that is, Larry Correia) to a brand that unites multiple authors, some of them newcomers who have made their names as Puppies. By joining the Puppy movement, new writers such as Declan Finn, Rawle Nyanzi and J. D. Cowan have benefited from a pre-existing readership eager to consume fiction written by an outspoken anti-SJW; whatever one makes of the ideology behind all this, it will be a potentially rewarding case study in regards to modern indie publishing. And so, I plan to include a chapter that looks at the world of Puppy publishing: Sci Phi Journal, Cirsova magazine, Superversive Press (publisher of the recent Forbidden Thoughts) and the concept of a “pulp revolution” championed by Jeffro Johnson.

(14) MARTIAN CHRONICLES. Bill Mullins points out that the 1980 NBC miniseries of Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles is available on YouTube, and can be binge-watched in its 4 hour 37 minute entirety at the link, or one episode at a time — Part I: The Expeditions; Part II: The Settlers; Part III: The Martians.

The miniseries starred Rock Hudson, Darren McGavin, Bernadette Peters, Roddy McDowall, Fritz Weaver, Barry Morse and Maria Schell. It was adapted to the screen by Richard Matheson.

And the miniseries is currently under discussion on Metafilter.

(15) STEPHEN HAWKING’S NEW VOICE. From Comic Relief Originals:

Stephen Hawking has had the same trademark voice for 30 years and has now decided it’s time for a change. Watch him view the audition tapes from hopeful celebrities…


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Andrew Porter, Bill Mullins, Martin Morse Wooster, and Douglas A. Anderson for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

75 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/2/17 Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Pixel Scroller.

  1. Wait–I can’t be first, can I?

    Um, what to respond to? Oh–3) 39 titles in one month? I can’t recall the last time I managed to review 39 in a year. (Though I do have two on the list queued up for the next column, and one already reviewed. I should be thankful for small victories.)

  2. And April 2 is also the birthday of Giacomo Casanova, Joan D. Vinge, Linda Hunt, Emile Zola, Jack Webb, Dr. Demento and Hans Christian Andersen.

    Under a spreading chestnut tree, the village pixel scrolls.

  3. (2) THE VERDICT. Heh, didn’t know Hodgman had this judge column. 🙂

    (3) INCOMING. OMG, The Verge wants me to read 39 books in April?! Eek! That said, their list has some good-looking books on it.

    @Bill: I was impressed at the speed of your ascension to Contributing Editor!

    – – – – –

    SFReading: I read the sample a while ago and picked it up on sale recently; today I started reading Alien Morning by Rick Wilber, which I’m enjoying so far. Yup, another SF novel, this one an alien first contact novel starring a former sport star who uses tech to let people experience bits of his life – like reality TV, only immersed in all five senses but hopefully less eye-rolling.

    – – – – –

    “Meredith Moment” in the U.S.A.: Urban fantasy Desdaemona by Ben Macallan is on sale for 99 cents. Anyone have Things To Say about it?

    ETA: Oh and sacrificial fourth!

  4. Wouldn’t a book interested in a “rewarding case study in indie publishing” focus on actually successful indie authors and not talentless bottom feeders like Finn, Nyanzi, Jeffro, and Cowan?

  5. Bill: From suggestion to contributing editor in only 2 hours. Is this a record?

    You’re in contention –though I can’t point to them, I know there have been a few other “instant winners” like this.

  6. 2) My now-ex has a cousin named Arwen — from the books. She had made peace with it when I met her in the 80s, but I imagine she had another round of issues when the movies came out.

    7) Ah yes, the man whose performance shaped the perception of vampires for an entire generation of impressionable fen. No one else has ever measured up to Barnabas.

    @ Aaron: Remember that the study of failure can also be rewarding, for those who want to learn from others’ mistakes.

  7. @Aaron: You are taking two things and claiming that they are in opposition to each other, when they are in fact orthogonal. The only sensible way I can define “successful indie author” is to be able to make a living that way, while “talentless bottom feeder” is first an entirely subjective view, and second doesn’t stop anyone from selling lots of books.

    As evidenced by an author like John Norman.

  8. @Aaron: Also, she’s naturally ignoring all the authors who lost a ton of fans or insured that they never get new ones thanks to throwing in with Larry’s hurt ego-turned Teddy’s ego-boo.

  9. @Lee: (7) Here in the UK I’m not sure we ever saw Dark Shadows. We had our own horror soap, called Crossroads.

  10. @Lee – Irish radio has a presenter named Arwen who does the traffic reports. I was so used to hearing her name announced a few times every morning that it took my wife pointing it out for me to notice properly.

  11. Went to see Ghost in the Shell yesterday, casting arguments aside I quite enjoyed it. The visuals were stunning and well executed with several scenes beautifully capturing the animated original.

    Plot wise I actually found it more coherent than the original, probably some of the nuance being lost in translation. Haven’t watched it in years though so may have to reacquaint myself with it.

  12. Re: Dark Shadows: I wonder if that execrable movie will dilute the lasting impact of Barnabas for a generation or two, or forever. Sadly and tragically.

  13. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a pixel scrolling down along the road and this pixel that was scrolling down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby buckaroo.

  14. David Brain on April 3, 2017 at 2:00 am said:

    @Lee: (7) Here in the UK I’m not sure we ever saw Dark Shadows. We had our own horror soap, called Crossroads.

    Channel 4 showed it in the early 90s I think

  15. @Paul Weimer–

    Re: Dark Shadows: I wonder if that execrable movie will dilute the lasting impact of Barnabas for a generation or two, or forever. Sadly and tragically.

    There was no movie. It’s a figment of your imagination. Banish it!

  16. … and not talentless bottom feeders like Finn, Nyanzi, Jeffro, and Cowan?

    I’m not familiar with the work of three of those writers, but I can’t agree with the claim that Jeffro Johnson is a “talentless bottom feeder.”

    I avoid Castalia House books and blogs out of a desire to give no support to Beale, but I was reading Johnson’s blog before the puppy brouhaha. He’s an interesting, prolific writer on gaming and classic SF, though he should let go of the notion that everything good in the genre had been published by the time he was a teen in the ’70s or ’80s.

    I used to think it a shame Johnson associated himself with Beale, but he’s turned out to be one of Beale’s most active contributors and a supporter of his most obnoxious projects like SJWs Always Lie. On that I can’t respect or recommend him.

  17. I’m not familiar with the work of three of those writers, but I can’t agree with the claim that Jeffro Johnson is a “talentless bottom feeder.”

    The next time Jeffro writes something insightful about gaming or classic SF will be the first.

    I used to think it a shame Johnson associated himself with Beale, but he’s turned out to be one of Beale’s most active contributors and a supporter of his most obnoxious projects like SJWs Always Lie.

    As I said, talentless bottom feeder.

  18. Um, what to respond to? Oh–3) 39 titles in one month? I can’t recall the last time I managed to review 39 in a year.

    I once managed sixty reviews in a month but special circumstances were involved (the books were short and the reviews only 180 words long). In 2015 I tried but failed to review a book a day, an experiment I had to give up because it put an unreasonable workload on my editor.

    These days I do five reviews a week (plus extras on the side), plus a brief piece for Young People every second week plus a new Core list the weeks I am not doing YPROSFF.

    On the plus side, by the end of March 2017, I had read more books by POC than all 75 reviewers at Analog, Asimov’s, F&SF, Rising Shadows, SFS, and Vector did in 2015.

    (I am currently failing abjectly at my goal of reading more books by non-binary authors)

  19. I average about 70 reviews a month, but I’m only reviewing short stories, novelettes, and novellas. Also, except for highly-rated stories, they tend to be just a few hundred words.

    “I used to be a Filer like you, but then I took a pixel in the knee.”

  20. Scrolls us a file, you’re the pixel man

    Nothing wrong with The House of Dark Shadows movie…

    I’m trying to think of other strange soap operas. There was Passions which had a paranormal setting and even got a mention in some Buffy episodes. Port Charles, which was a spinoff of General Hospitals, had a storyline with vampires. I vaguely remember there was another soap opera on about the time of Dark Shadows that had a horror/supernatural theme to it, but I don’t know the name. Probably not Strange Paradise which was the Canadian take on the gothic soap opera.

  21. Like our previous pixels.There they are at this very moment, basking under the Maui sun.

  22. 3) Pleased to see Susan Matthews book on the list. I read two books in the series several years ago (before I knew about Amazon) and liked them a lot but couldn’t find any others. So I forgot about the series until I saw the description just now. Hope they are still as good as I remember.

  23. @Mike: re Scam Alert. I was thinking Doug’s comments must have been an email since no link (I did check the post). I don’t think we missed that info: I think Routledge isn’t putting it on the page.

    I went back and checked all the pages for the project and nowhere did it say “50 copies only” that I could see. Jason Fisher commented on my FB post and confirmed the 50 copy plan, and said that they told him their audience was “libraries interested in historical writers” though Jason and I agree, any library interested in Tolkien would have most of the material in the Routledge collection.

    I am sorry to hear Doug has been treated so badly (not surprised but sorry). Janet Croft who also commented on FB said that there’d been confusion since Routledge went through the Copyright Clearance Center instead of to authors or publishers (showing the incredibly complicated and fucked up issues around copyright to academic authors, sigh). It is certainly a scam (and seems fairly pointless.)

    My FB post is public, so I’m dropping the link here if you want to see the discussion (and can see it? get there? are on FB).


  24. @ Jack: You might be thinking of One Step Beyond, which was not a soap opera but more of a horror version of The Twilight Zone, with individual episodes.

    ETA: Yes, I know Twilight Zone did horror too, but it also had science fiction. One Step Beyond was all horror all the time.

  25. There is a house in New Crobuzon
    They call the Rising Son
    And it’s been the scroll of many a poor boy
    And Godstalk, I know I’m one!

    My mother was a Filer
    She scrolled my new blue dreams
    My father was a Slakemoth man
    Down in New Crobuzon

    Now the only thing a slakemoth needs
    Is some dreams and a trunk
    And the only time he’s satisfied
    Is when he’s on a weaver

  26. Bookworm1398, thanks for mentioning Susan Matthews; I hadn’t followed the link, but I really… enjoyed? I don’t think that’s the right word; they’re very grimdark… admired her Koscuisko books. But, like you, I lost track and stopped reading them; in my case about book 3 or so. Now I have to get the last few…

  27. Cassy B on April 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm said:
    I have most in dead-tree format, but at one time (a year or so back) Baen had a package deal for the ebook version, and I took advantage.
    Actual release date for the new one is tomorrow; it’s much cheaper to preorder through the usual sites than buy the eARC from Baen.

  28. “Who are you?”
    “The New Pixel Five”
    “Who is Pixel One?”
    “*You* are Pixel Six”
    “I am not a Pixel, I’m a free Scroll!”

  29. Scroll Ain’t Nothing but Pixel Misspelled

    Re: Gothic soap opera. I was thinking more in terms of an afternoon show running in the late 60s about the time Dark Shadows was popular. If the wikipedia listing of soap operas and their dates is accurate, I may be confused as nothing seems to match.

    It is interesting that a lot of the soap operas had names that could be construed as horror/sff shows:

    The Edge of Night
    The Secret Storm
    Another World
    Search for Tomorrow
    One Life to Live

  30. 3) Ooh, a whole novel from Ruthanna Emrys. I nominated her novelette? in that Lovecraft-only-good milieu and really want to read the book.

    Susan Matthews. I remember when she was writing those under another name as Star Wars fanfic. Probably still got a few zines around.

    Alan Steele doing Capt. Future!!! A whole novel! squeeeeeeee!

    Cosmic Powers looks good.

    And the Lady Trent (YAY) finale (BOO)! That one was already preordered.

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