Pixel Scroll 6/11/18 Today Is The First Pixel Of The Rest Of Your Scroll

(1) KEENE HEALTH UPDATE. Brian Keene’s fan newsletter carries the latest details.

Last Tuesday, June 5th, I was clearing flood debris from my ex-wife’s yard. The property is prone to flooding. If you’ve ever read SCRATCH, that novella was inspired by a previous flood we experienced on the property. Thw weekend prior, she’d experienced not one but two flash floods, and they’d left behind dumptruck loads of debris, as well as a good half foot of standing water across much of the yard. She and her boyfriend tried to clean up, but both of them were exhausted and have normal day jobs, and since I’d just finished writing the season finale to SILVERWOOD: THE DOOR, I had some time to help. So, I went over Tuesday at 8am and started clearing the debris — dumping logs and branches and cut up wood into the fire pit, Hauling away rolls of carpet, car parts, hypodermic needles, broken glass and all the other shit the flood had deposited. My son was determined to help, on what was his first day of summer vacation.

By the end of his first day of summer vacation, he’d watched his father get loaded into an amublance.

The brush pile was about 8ft tall. Earlier in the day, I’d used some gasoline as an accelerant to get it going, because most of the wood was wet. Around 2pm, I sent my son into the house to get us both a drink of water, while I stirred up the fire to get it going again. I poked the coals with a stick, and the flames swelled up. Then the wind shifted, suddenlyu blowing the fire toward me. I threw my arm up releflexively. I guess maybe I had some residue gas left on it, because suddenly my arm was on fire. I stared at it, and thought, “Fuck” and then realized my head was on fire, too.

… I’ve been told by several in the medical field that I can expect my bills to be north of $300,000. Probably more. I made $60,000 last year as a freelance writer.

The GoFundMe has raised a little over $50,000 as of this moment.

(2) SAVING THROW. Deadline got the inside story (well, as inside as execs ever let you see) — “Amazon Studios Boss On How ‘The Expanse’ Was Saved & Would Amazon Also Rescue ‘Lucifer’”.

The Expanse pickup announcement followed an elaborate fan campaign that included renting a plane to fly a #Save The Expanse banner over the Amazon headquarters. It was made in a dramatic fashion by Amazon’s chairman himself, Jeff Bezos, at National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles where he was an honoree an hour or so afterThe Expanse cast and showrunner had done a panel at the same event.

“There were airplanes circling us, I was having cakes delivered, there was a whole thing happening,” Salke said of The Expense campaign. “And then really smart people, whose opinions I really value creatively, started reaching out to me, saying, “have you seen this show, The Expanse, it’s actually great”. I hadn’t so I spent some time, I watched the show and I was like, this show is actually really well done, why is nobody watching it? At the same time, Jeff Bezos was getting emails from everyone from George R.R. Martin to every captain of industry, like the founder of Craigslist, and they were all writing, saying, there’s this show, it’s so great, you have to see it, you have to buy it or save it.

(3) SHARK ATTRACTANT. Lynn Maudlin recently stayed at The Headington Shark in Oxford. She successfully warded off shark attacks with a copy of Diana Glyer’s Inklings book, Bandersnatch. A word to the wise!

(4) DARLINGS PROTECTION SERVICE. Yesterday’s Scroll reference to Delilah S. Dawson’s Twitter thread about the traditional writing advice “kill your darlings” prompted an uproar in comments. And inspired a couple of Filers to list other writers’ threads with a range of reactions to that phrase.

Tasha Turner said —

A lot of great discussions on Twitter about “kill your darlings”. I’m lucky to follow a diverse group of authors from around the world. Below are a few different perspectives:

Standback noted additional offshoot threads:

And this morning Ann Leckie joined the discussion here, closing with these thoughts:

Which brings me to the idea that a writer ought not write to please themselves. I am so not on board with this idea I can’t even begin to express it. One of the ways you know your writing is working–to the extent you know that, which is its own issue–is that it’s working for you. Now, it’s possible to go off track into pleasing your id in a way that just looks unseemly and strange to anyone else, but once again, it’s a case-by-case thing. And there, it’s often not a question of cutting the thing, removing it, so much as turning it around and refining it so that all those other folks out there with similar grooves and folds in their ids can enjoy that feeling of it fitting into place. So, again, it’s a matter of asking why do I want this in the story so much? and not automatically cutting it because it’s self-indulgent. Hell, even long political screeds can please some readers. If that’s what does it for you, and you have readers who respond to it, well, go to. Indulge yourself!

And I’m about done with people telling me I don’t understand what kill your darlings means, thank you.

(5) TALKIN’ ABOUT MY REGENERATION. Could copies be in private hands? According to ScreenRant, “Archivist Says 97 Lost Doctor Who Episodes Could Be Recovered”.

Although many episodes have since been recovered, there are still 97 old episodes missing from the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton era. Speaking to the Daily MirrorDoctor Who archivist Paul Vanezis has suggested they’re still out there. “There are missing Doctor Whos with private collectors,” he explained. “They may be interested in handing them over.

The quest for the missing Doctor Who episodes is a fascinating one, and a labor of love for the fans. Some lost episodes were found in Ethiopia back in 2013, and were released by the BBC in time for the show’s 50th anniversary. More recently, the BBC has begun using audio recordings, surviving photographs and brief film clips to create animated versions of some of the missing stories, such as 1966’s “The Power of the Daleks”. But the real hope is clearly that black-and-white video recordings could yet be recovered, and the BBC is sure to offer a premium price in order to purchase the copies.

The Holy Grail of Doctor Who is the episode “The Tenth Planet”, which includes the Doctor’s first onscreen regeneration. This saw William Hartnell’s First Doctor transform into Patrick Troughton’s Second, an unprecedented change of direction for the science-fiction TV series….

(6) VICK OBIT. Shelby Vick (1928-2018) died June 9. His daughter Cheryl told Facebook friends:

It is with a sad heart that I tell you that my dad passed away early Saturday morning. He said his goodbyes to us and even laughed earlier Friday. He passed away peacefully in his sleep.

He was married to Suzanne Vick, who predeceased him. His Fancyclopedia entry recalls he famously introduced Lee Hoffman to Bob Tucker at a time when she was known only through fanzines and everyone had assumed LeeH was a man. Vick also started the successful WAW with the Crew in ’52 fan fund to bring Walt Willis to the US in 1952.

Vick became the leading figure in the Fan Federation for Sound Productions, also known as Wirez, a national effort to make wire recordings and circulate them in the same way fans produced typescript round-robins.

He organized Corflu Sunsplash in Panama City, Fl in 1999, and was named Past President of fwa there. He was honored with the Southern Fandom Confederation’s Rebel Award in 2012.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 11, 1982 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was released
  • June 11, 1993Jurassic Park premiered

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born June 11 – Peter Dinklage, 49. The obvious role, but also Eltri in Avengers: Infinity War, Dr. Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Trumpkin in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
  • Born June 11 – Shia LaBoeuf, 32. Mutt in the Indiana Jones film that Shall Not Be Named, Sam Witwicky in Transformers and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Farber in I, Robot. Somebody needs a better agent.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) SFWA BULLETIN INDEX. New online is “The SFWA Bulletin Index, 1965-2018” compiled by Michael Capobianco, Erin M. Hartshorn, and Sean Wallace. It went live just before Nebula Weekend. Try it out, see how you like it —

Table of Contents

(11) UNBEEVABLE. Surely this has never happened before.

(12) FAREWELL PROJECT WONDERFUL. The internet advertising service Project Wonderful, which has funded a great many webcomics and online narrative projects, will shut down August 1.

For over a decade, we’ve been so happy to be your choice for getting the word out about your comic, music, or anything else you come up with. And we’ve been so proud to represent our publishers, who have been creating some of the most interesting, exciting, and worthwhile things online.

But all good things must come to an end. When we started working on Project Wonderful in early 2006, it was with the hope that online advertising could be something good, something that you’d want to see. We were always the odd company out: we didn’t track readers, we didn’t sell out our publishers, and we never had issues with popups, popunders, or other bad ads the plague the internet – because our technology simply wasn’t built to allow for that. We let you place an image and link on a website, and that was it. And we filtered the ads that could run on our network, so our publishers knew they could trust us.

(13) TOXIC FANDOM. Salon blames the internet. And everything that came before the internet… “After years of stewing, “Star Wars” fandom goes to the dark side”.

So how did a franchise of adventure movies for children create this noxious tribe of entitled haters? The short answer is that it was a long time coming.

The first hints of this seismic shift in the Star Wars fandom occurred when the prequel trilogy came out, in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There had been decades of novels and fanfiction speculating how little Anakin Skywalker became evil Darth Vader; the new addition to the canon didn’t sit well with some. Tin ear dialogue, Jar Jar Binks’ perceived minstrelsy, and mediocre acting led to fan furor. Feverous claims of director George Lucas “raping” childhoods were common in pop culture reflections on the prequel trilogy. Both of the actors who played Anakin Skywalker — Hayden Christensen and, at the time, 10-year-old Jake Lloyd who played young Anakin — were more or less harassed out of the spotlight. Lloyd retired from acting two years later after “The Phantom Menace” premiered, after winning Razzie Awards and being relentlessly bullied by classmates and fans alike. Lucas, after “Revenge of the Sith” premiered, swore off making Star Wars movies forever.

(14) MORE PETAFLOPS THAN EVER. From the BBC: “US debuts world’s fastest supercomputer”. More than doubles Chinese record, and powerful enough that pieces of it were working on real problems while the final computer was still being assembled.

Summit, the US’s new supercomputer, is more than twice as powerful as the current world leader.

The machine can process 200,000 trillion calculations per second – or 200 petaflops.

China’s Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer, until now the world’s most powerful machine, has a processing power of 93 petaflops.

Summit’s initial uses will include areas of astrophysics, cancer research and systems biology.

It is housed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, where it was developed in partnership with IBM and NVidia.

(15) LET SLIP THE DOGS OF VENUS. A NASA group at Langley Research Center is studying the High-Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) to float a manned airship high in the Venusian atmosphere as a way for astronauts to visit and study our sister planet.

NBC News reports “NASA has a plan to let humans soar above the clouds on Venus”.

Mars and the moon are already at the top of NASA’s prospect list for future human exploration and possibly colonies, but another planet has recently been getting some unexpected attention.

What a group of NASA scientists have proposed is a steampunk-like spacecraft that weighs nearly nothing and would float in the Venusian atmosphere. This High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) would allow astronauts to study the planet at an unprecedented level, in less time than it would take to complete a crewed mission to Mars.

…Some technological advancement needs to happen before we get to Venus. Among the tech aspects of this mission that still need to be figured out are how to keep the spacecraft and its solar panels from corroding in that atmospheric sulfuric acid, never mind successfully inserting and inflating the airship on arrival at Venus and performing aerocapture maneuvers on Venus and Earth.

“It opens up a strange, exciting, and even slightly terrifying way to live,” said [HAVOC team leader Chris] Jones. “It would be a challenging environment, but one that would bring opportunities we can’t even imagine.”

 

(16) A CAT’S BREAKFAST. Not entirely sure why I was sent a link to this “Review of Audrey Hepburn – Breakfast at Tiffany’s Deluxe Sixth Scale Action Figure” — except that one of the extras you can get is her cat, so there’s the SJW credential collectible aspect to be considered….

Very few companies – companies that actually play by the rules and get licenses, anyway – are willing to play with the lesser known properties. Star Wars? Marvel? DC? Sure, there are plenty of options, and the big boys like Hot Toys are all over them. Other second tier licenses like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones are getting covered by smaller companies, but you can’t really claim that those properties aren’t popular with a large number of collectors.

Star Ace is looking at some of the much smaller properties, particularly those that involve female characters. They haven’t been hitting on every release, however, and they need a win right now. Their next upcoming release is Audrey Hepburn from the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where she portrayed Holly Golightly. This is a slightly early review – she should be shipping any day now.

She comes in two versions. There’s a regular release that runs around $220, and a deluxe version that sells for $237 or so, depending on the retailer. I’m looking at the deluxe tonight, but I’ll point out the difference in the Accessories section.

[Thanks to Tasha Turner, Standback, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Carl Slaughter, Danny Sichel, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

131 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/11/18 Today Is The First Pixel Of The Rest Of Your Scroll

  1. In one Nero Wolfe book, OCR+spellcheck turned Orrie Cather into Orrie Gather.

  2. @ Dann: Glad you liked The Flipside.

    @ Camestros: The target audience for Solo is the sort of person who likes back-story fic. How do you get Solo’s back-story by starring a 70+ Harrison Ford?

  3. I thought Solo was a perfectly cromulent movie — not great, but I’ve seen it in the theater three times and each time it’s grown on me. Having said which, it came only six months after the previous Star Wars movie, very shortly after the new Avengers & Deadpool, had widely-publicized production difficulties, and seemed to have a strangely muted media presence (the first real trailer only came out, what, a couple of months ago?), so I’m disappointed but not surprised that it’s underperformed. But I’m not going to blame said underperformance on a “boycott” by a small but depressingly loud group of entitled douchebags.

    As far as eBooks go, one that I just finished, in addition to occasiona11y having 1 instead of l, had at least a couple of points where the text read, “Hey, [Editor’s Name], this following section should be a footnote.”

    When I first got my Kindle I spent a lot of time highlighting every typo that I found, but gave up when I realized that 99 times out of 100 there wasn’t anybody I could actually send the list to who’d be in a position to do anything about it. Sigh.

  4. @Tasha Turner (re first response to @13): As someone who was on an early version of the net (and then left because it was eating the rest of my life), I found that creating and sending a physical letter was a lot more effort than even email; I look at social media today from a safe distance, but ISTM that media designed for response make flooding someone with bile is a lot easier. Is it enough easier to be qualitative rather than quantitative? Does it need to be, in order to be recognizably worse?

  5. @Chip Hitchock
    Is social media easier to bully unknown strangers or even get ones online buddies to bully IRL people one wants to harm than sending letters was? Yes because the cis white males who’ve designed most of the social media have refused to deal with the problems of the systems they’ve designed due to the “free speech BS”. Social media does make it easier to harass and bully others is one is inclined to that kind of behavior. I don’t believe it makes someone who is respectful of others turn into a toxic person. It just gives them more and easier opportunities to express their true selves as they don’t have time to stop and think, censor themselves, or decide its too much effort.

    Does this mean that letters written in the pre-social media weren’t equally harmful to the people who received them? No.

  6. “(2) the secondary character in a superhero book with three different names – not aliases or nicknames, but different first names that were obviously intended to be the same but were not.”

    That would be The Comedian, The Humourist and The Jokester. As in the swedish translation of Watchmen.

  7. I know it’s not a “can you name a book like this” competition, but I remember (or have convinced my brain that this is the case at any rate) that early on in D.Gray-Man they couldn’t settle on a transliteration for one of the characters. They tried Rinari, Linali… then eventually settled on Lenalee.

  8. (2) the secondary character in a superhero book with three different names – not aliases or nicknames, but different first names that were obviously intended to be the same but were not. (Imagine referring to Spider-Man’s wife as Mary Jane, Marie Jane, and Maria Jane.) And don’t even get me started on punctuation…

    And then there’s print comics, where writers forget characters ever had first names so they just make up new ones, as in the case of Veronica Lodge’s dad Burton/J.P./Hiram, and I expect numerous other names as well.

    Not a proofreading mistake, but an editing error of a different sort…

  9. @Tasha Turner, Chip Hitchock

    Re: Social media v old-school fan mail

    The poison hasn’t changed – but social media has removed some essential filters which previously reduced the harm done to individuals on the receiving end.

    Back in the 80s I worked in backstage teams in several London theatres, including a stint on the stage door and in box office, and briefly as pa to an actors’ agent.

    A key part of all these roles was to shield actors from their more toxic fans; setting up PO boxes for fan mail and screening mail sent to the theatre (some merely spittle-flecked, others smeared with other body-fluids), intercepting gifts, arranging a little extra security when a persistent/dangerous/difficult fan had been recognised in the box office queue or on the pavement.

    The actors in question were kept informed, but never had to open the semen-glazed greeting card or the cake tin full of stinking herring.

    This was not trivial abuse; Timothy Dalton was assaulted in the street by a Bond “fan” shortly after his debut as 007. His dressing room at the Old Vic was targeting in an arson attack the same weekend.

    The layers of protection employees like me provided have been sweapt away by social media.

    My heart sank when the first actors starting using social media platforms to communicate directly with fans.

    I knew first-hand what was out there, and I couldn’t see it ending well…

  10. On Star Wars – I don’t think Lucas changed. The original Star Wars would have been just as bad as the prequels if Lucas had been able to release it the way he wanted. Instead it was edited into a rather good movie.

    One amazing thing I learned recently was that in Lucas’s script, the Death Star was not approaching the rebel base in the finale, it was just sitting off in space somewhere. If you rewatch the finale, you can see that the Death Star approaching, clearing the planet etc. is all done with announcements over shots of screens and controls – Vader and Tarkin don’t actually talk about it because it wasn’t in the script. The shots of Tarkin and of the techs firing up the weapon are edited in from the destruction of Alderaan.

    I find this almost unbelievable since the released movie makes so much more sense, with Vader and Tarkin releasing the Millenium Falcon to track it to the base, but it was not joined up in the script at all, but done by Marcia Lucas in the editing suite.

  11. “The layers of protection employees like me provided have been sweapt away by social media.”

    I have this book called The Gift of Fear, first published in 1997, written by a man who works with security against stalkers, keeping tabs on them and teaching people on how to handle them.

    He writes about a man obsessed with a celebrity who killed his parents, his nephew and two others. And when they tried to track him down, staking out the celebrities house, they instead found another stalker crawling in the bushes. And then they found a small shelter where a third stalker had made his home.

    So yep, there were toxic people around before the internet.

  12. @jrlawrence
    Good points. Were non-stars mail also pre-screened or only headliners/stars?

    Even today a number of the big stars aren’t handling their own social media accounts. It depends on the person and unfortunately because women are paid less they are more likely to be doing their own social media. Some depends on their age and the creative field they are in also. Younger creatives are more likely to handle their own social media as they grew up with it.

  13. kathodus said:

    Just finished Down Among the Sticks and Bones. I was not all that fond of the first novella in the series. After reading this year’s, I have now gained retroactive fondness for the first one.

    I had the opposite reaction, alas. I’d enjoyed some parts of Every Heart a Doorway while strongly disliking others. imo, though, Down Among the Sticks and Bones retroactively deepened the flaws of the previous novella, most particularly the weak mystery plot.

    I also thought the ending of Down Among the Sticks and Bones felt a bit tacked on, as though the story wanted to go one way but McGuire needed her characters to go another in order to get them into their proper positions for Every Heart a Doorway. Overall, I did like the story, but I suspect I would’ve liked it even better if McGuire had written it as a standalone rather than as part of a series.

  14. @Chip Hitchcock: Geoffrey Landis’s The Sultan of the Clouds (which won the 2011 Sturgeon Award) takes place on and around floating Venusian cities.

  15. @Tasha

    Were non-stars mail also pre-screened or only headliners/stars?

    More or less all, because at that time there were only one of two physical addresses where mail could be sent, calls and visits made; an actor’s current workplace or their agents office address, and the screening there was routine, and could be extended to minor performers after a single unpleasant communication.

    Home addresses and phone numbers were much harder to dox when most databases where still physical rather than digital.

    One context which always set alarm bells ringing was when a young or previously little-known performer attracted sudden attention through a cult TV show. Actors in the midrange really don’t have the money or resources which “stardom” seems to suggests to some. They are still attempting to pay the mortgage on a first flat, and can’t suddenly find funds for bodyguards, or security camera or private schools for their kids.

  16. Technology doesn’t typically create monsters. It can (and frequently does) provide them with easier and more readily available avenues to act on those impulses. Not to mention lowering the bar for the lazy or more cowardly sorts by granting them faster, more anonymous options to be jerks to a wider circle of people.

    It’s easier for a village idiot in, say, Amarillo, to abuse/annoy 100+ people around the globe in an hour with the internets than it was in pre-internet days. Being an active monster is easier now.

    I don’t even have to imagine what it would be like if the internet had been around 45+ years ago. One of the biggest jerks I knew (only marginally, thankfully) in grade school is friends with someone I’m friends with on social media and he never grew up.

    There were toxic people when I was growing up, but at least I had a way of getting away from most of them after school, weekends and during the summer. One of my nephews had to quit social media to have that breathing space.

  17. The internet also allows toxic people to find each other more readily to normalize their more sociopathic impulses in a like-minded community…possibly egging each other on to worse acts than they might have gotten up to in isolation.

  18. @PhilRM: that sounds like what I was looking for — I was thinking there was something on Venus itself, not just a Venus-homolog

    @jrlawrence: I’d heard of mail filtering. ISTM that electrosocial media make piling on the bile so much easier than mail (cf @Robert Reynolds), let alone physical stalking (as listed by @Bill) that it is a qualitative change — especially when combined with the mutual egging-on (cf @jayn) those media support.

  19. Re: social media:
    I’ve been known to comment that one of the Internet’s great strengths lies in community-building, as people with similar interests can find each other relatively easily rather than feeling alone. And one of its great weaknesses is that there’s no filter on what types of communities get built…

  20. It’s worth mentioning that the Kindle has a feature that lets you select text and “report content error.” These eventually get reported to the authors, and then it’s really up to the authors to decide it’s worth dealing with.

    But the more errors get (correctly) reported, the more likely they are to get fixed.

    I would be careful with reporting typos, unless it’s really bad, because there have been cases where Amazon just suspended the sale of a book, until the typos were fixed. In at least one case, the typos in question weren’t typos at all, but a British vs. American English issue.

  21. @Cora
    I try to only report larger errors. Not minor spelling errors but where they used the wrong their/there type errors or some of the cases we’ve discussed where OCR chose the wrong word (immorality when it should have been immortality). I’m more likely to report errors on trad published books than indie books as I’ve paid more for them, the authors get less, they are supposed to be edited and proofread.

    I know too many Americans correcting British and Australian English as well as regional dialects and spoken vernacular when quoted which is absurd in this day and age.

  22. Andrew:

    in several places the scan of the word “arms” (as in “he took her in his arms”) apparently mistook the “rm” as “nu”

    An…interesting change that has not gone unnoticed elsewhere, and the dark forces behind it possibly identified.

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