Pixel Scroll 6/22/21 You Are About To Enter The Most Fascinating Scroll Of Pixel Work

(1) HWA PRIDE MONTH. The Horror Writers Association’s “Point of Pride” series continues: “Interview with Rin Chupeco”.

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?

I think that what a lot of people define as being monstrous just means being different from them, and this often stems from bigotry or prejudice. Most of the horror books that I’ve read growing up were about victims who were treated terribly simply for who they are (women relegated to second class citizens, prostitutes and sex workers not given agency, etc.), and then becoming their own monstrous vehicles for justice. I’m fascinated with stories where the real monsters are the humans who wind up creating the very demons they accuse others of being, often paying the price for it. When you shift your worldview and realize that the real demon in say, Frankenstein , is the monster’s creator instead of the creature itself, it opens up these new hidden layers to storytelling in horror that helps you explore the good and the bad sides of the human condition, work on that to make it more compelling to readers.

(2) ESSENCE OF WONDER. Mary Robinette Kowal, author of The Relentless Moon (Tor Books / Solaris), and Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds (Penguin Random House / Del Rey) joins Essence of Wonder with Gadi Evron to talk about their works and what they have coming down the pipeline — Saturday, June 26 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Register here. Can be viewed on Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook.

(3) GET YOUR KICKS. By wearing the patch design for ISS Expedition 66. (More info here.)

The Expedition 66 patch was designed by NASA graphic designer Blake Dumesnil. Blake decribes the background of the design, “Growing up around classic cars, collectibles, and Americana, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use the Route 66 sign as a starting point for this design, but going beyond the obvious numerical tie, I loved the idea of a journey being just as important as the destination – the Space Station is an incredible stop along the road back to the Moon and on to Mars!”

(4) BY ANY OTHER NAME. It’s not a crash test dummy, it’s a Moonikin – and it needs a name. NASA wants the public to “Name the ‘Moonikin’ Flying Aboard Artemis I” from among eight choices. Looks like the names will be offered for voting in pairs on various social media platforms, and move up in brackets.

To vote on today’s bracket (Montgomery vs. Rigel) on the web, click here. 

Choose your player! NASA is holding a naming contest beginning Wednesday, June 16 for the manikin that will fly on an upcoming mission around the Moon

As NASA gears up for the Artemis I mission around the Moon that will pave the way to send the first woman and the first person of color to the lunar surface, we have an important task for you (yes, you!). Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft ahead of the first flight with crew on Artemis II. We want your help to select a name for the suited manikin, or Moonikin in this case, that will fly aboard Orion to help gather data before missions with astronauts!

A manikin is an anatomical model that simulates the human body and is commonly used in training for emergency rescues, medical education, and research. The manikin on Artemis I will be equipped with two radiation sensors, and sensors in the seat – one under the headrest and another behind the seat – to record acceleration and vibration throughout the mission as Orion travels around the Moon and back to Earth. Data from these and other sensors inside the spacecraft will help NASA understand how to best protect crew members for Artemis II and beyond.

We have eight names to choose from, but only one can win. Every other day starting Wednesday, June 16, we will be asking social media users on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram, to vote between one of two names. The winners of each bracket compete with one another until the final showdown on Monday, June 28.

The final name of the Moonikin will be announced on Tuesday, June 29!

(5) NEITHER FAST NOR FURIOUS. Light races past and waves in the rear-view mirror at this compilation of sff — “Not So Fast: Five Books Featuring Sublight Space Travel” by James Davis Nicoll at Tor.com.

Rissa Kerguelen by F. M. Busby (1977)

The 21st century is a veritable utopia, governed by United Energy and Transport (UET). A utopia, that is, where peace and security are assured by rigid class stratification and a punitive justice system. Few of the cowed citizens can imagine a better way of life. Those who do can look forward to midnight visits from large, unfriendly UET minions.

While winning the lottery might be seen as a forgivable mistake, welfare orphan Rissa Kerguelen commits the unforgivable sin of wanting to keep her winnings. UET’s reach is long and there is no safe place on Earth for reprobates like Rissa. But Earth is not Rissa’s only option. Head out for the stars on a sublight starship and she might escape UET…if she is willing to take the long view.

(6) HE’S NOT A WEREWOLF, HE’S A WEASEL. The Suicide Squad – Official “Rain” Trailer dropped today.

Our only hope to save the world is a bunch of supervillains — what could go wrong? Check out the new trailer for James Gunn’s #TheSuicideSquad in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max* August 6.

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • June 22, 1990 — On this date in 1990, Robocop 2 premiered. It was directed by Irvin Kershner and produced by Jon Davison. It was written by Frank Miller and Walon Green. It stars Peter Weller once again as Robocop along with Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan and Gabriel Damon. Very few critics liked it and the Box Office barely covered the costs of making it. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a rather poor rating of thirty six percent. 

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 22, 1856 — H. Rider Haggard. Writer of pulp fiction, often in the Lost World sub genre. King Solomon’s Mines was the first of his novels with Allan Quatermain as the lead and it, like its sequels, was successful. These novels are in print to this day. Haggard by the way decided to take ten percent royalties instead of a flat fee for writing, a wise choice indeed.  And let’s not forget his other success, She: A History of Adventure, which has never gone print out of print either. (Died 1925.)
  • Born June 22, 1936 — Kris Kristofferson, 85. He first shows up in a genre film, The Last Horror Film, as himself. As an actor, his first role is as Bill Smith in Millennium which is followed by Gabriel in Knights, a sequel to Cyborg. (A lack of name creativity there.) Now comes his role as Abraham Whistlerin Blade and Blade II, a meaty undertaking indeed! Lastly I’ll note he voiced Karubi in Planet of the Apes.
  • Born June 22, 1947 — Octavia Butler. I think her Xenogenesis series is her most brilliant work though I’m also very, very impressed by the much shorter Parable series. Two Hugos, for “Speech Sounds” (Best Short Story – 1984) and “Bloodchild” (Best Novelette – 1985). Parable of the Sower was Book of Honor at Potlatch 17. MacArthur Fellowship recipient – the first SF author to receive one. SFWA’s Solstice Award.  (Died 2006) 
  • Born June 22, 1949 — Meryl Streep, 72. She’d make the Birthday list just for being Madeline Ashton in Death Becomes Her and her epic battle there with Goldie Hawn. She’s the voice of Blue Ameche in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and a very real Aunt Josephine in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. She’s the voice of Felicity Fox in Fantastic Mr. Fox, based off the on Dahl’s 1970 children’s novel. She voices Jennie in a short that bring Maurice Sendak’s dog to life, Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life. She’s The Witch in Into The Woods. I think that’s it.
  • Born June 22, 1952 — Graham Greene, 69. Primary ongoing genre role to date has been as Rafe McCawley In the Defiance series. He also played Humpstone John in Winter’s Tale based off the Mark Helprin of the same name, and was Whiskey Jack in an episode of American Gods. In The Twilight Saga: New Moon, he was Harry Clearwater.
  • Born June 22, 1958 — Bruce Campbell, 63. Where to start? Well let’s note that Kage loved the old rascal as she described him, so I’ve linked to her review of Jack of All Trades. I personally liked him just as much in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and think it’s well worth checking out. I think his work as Ash Williams in the Evil Dead franchise can be both brilliant and godawful, often in the same film. Or the same scene. The series spawned off of it is rather good. Oh, and for popcorn reading, check out If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, his autobiography. 
  • Born June 22, 1971 — Laila Rouass, 50. She was Sarah Page, an Egyptologist on Primeval, a series I highly recommend if you’ve not seen it. She played Colonel Tia Karim, a traitorous UNIT officer in the two part “Death of The Doctor” on The Sarah Jane Adventures. This story was the last to feature Sarah Jane Smith and the Doctor, The Eleventh here, together onscreen. Jo Grant would also show up. 
  • Born June 22, 1973 — Ian Tregillis, 48. He is the author of the Milkweed Triptych trilogy which is frelling brilliant. He’s contributed three stories to Max Gladstone’s The Witch Who Came in From the Cold  rather good serial fiction narritive (if that’s the proper term) and he’s got another series, The Alchemy Wars, I need to check out. He’s also a contributor to George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series.

(9) WHAT ARE YOUR FAVES SINCE 2011? NPR is polling sff readers to compile a new list to supersede the one they did a decade ago: “Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Have Changed. Tell Us Your New Favorites”. Full guidelines at the link.

Ten years is a long time! In 10 light-years, you could get from Earth to a whole new solar system, Epsilon Eridani. And in the past 10 years, science fiction and fantasy have undergone a revolution — new voices, new perspectives and new stories, bright as stars in the night sky.

So we thought it would be a great time to revisit our original 2011 reader poll of favorite science fiction and fantasy. And not just because of all the fantastic new stuff that’s come out in the past decade, but because that 2011 list has some notable holes in it when it comes to race and gender. (Octavia Butler fans, I am SO sorry. But we do plan to address that with a supplement to first list.)

We’re doing things a little bit differently this year since we already know you guys love The Lord of the Rings. Instead of a grand survey of all of time and space, we’re zeroing in on titles from the past 10 years — that is, anything that has come out since the 2011 poll. And since we’re only looking at the past decade, our panel of expert judges will take your nominations and use them to curate a final list of 50 titles (rather than our usual 100)…

(10) HOMAGE TO THE MASTER. Artist Will Quinn did this tribute to Bob Eggleton’s “A Pint with a Mollusc” (1999):

Here’s Eggleton’s orginal.

(11) STRANGERS IN STRANGER LANDS. James Davis Nicoll considers “Five SF Books About Living in Exile” at Tor.com.

Few calamities sting like being driven from the land one once called home. Exile is therefore a rich source of plots for authors seeking some dramatic event to motivate their characters. You might want to consider the following five books, each of which features protagonists (not all of them human) forced to leave their homes….

(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. This Jeep® Wrangler 4xe commercial “2021 Earth Odyssey” is from February, but it’s news to me! (The closed captioning is amusing, too.)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Ben Bird Person, James Davis Nicoll, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]

36 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/22/21 You Are About To Enter The Most Fascinating Scroll Of Pixel Work

  1. 8) For no reason I can articulate, I’ve been very slowly (a couple books a year) been making my way through Rider Haggard’s entire catalog. At least initially, the historical and lost-race adventure novels he’s known for (and which I still enjoy immensely) are alternated with much more conventional Victorian romance/melodrama novels.

    Of particular interest in that vein is Mr. Meeson’s Will, a fairly savage takedown of the then-current publishing industry.

  2. OK, I’m requesting a point of information here and I don’t want to get into an argument: I’ve been reading a lot about the instant runoff voting taking place in the New York City election.

    How is this process similar and different to Hugo voting?

  3. Graham Greene also pretty much stole the show in the sadly short-lived werewolf TV series Wolf Lake from 2001.

  4. I thought Bruce Campbell was astonishingly brilliant as Elvis Presley in Bubba Ho-Tep. Oscars have been given for less.

  5. Martin: the NYC elections don’t allow you to pick more than your top five preferences; so if you really have minority preferences, you are urged to pick the Least Objectionable Frontrunner as your fifth or even fourth pick. (Mayor’s race has 13 candidates, ISTR.)

    And of course, no No Award or Hold Over Funds choices.

  6. THE SUICIDE SQUAD has Pete Davidson AND the great Peter Capaldi in it? Gosh wow!

  7. @Martin Wooster
    I know they have more people on the ballot. But I’m not in NYC, so I can’t go farther than that.

    I’m not sure if they have a program to count the ballots, either….

  8. Michael J. Lowrey: And of course, no No Award or Hold Over Funds choices.

    I love the wry possibility of an NYC mayoral race where “Hold Over Funds” is an option.

  9. Man, NYC is missing out How It Really Works. But then, most people don’t realize that some of us are really familiar with “RCV” as they’re calling it (for “Ranked Choice Voting”).

    ETA: here in 9753, we have better computers.)

  10. 9) NPR POLL: Here were my nominations:
    N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Earth
    Ada Palmer, Terra Ignota
    Jo Walton, The Just City
    Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
    Seanan McGuire, Middlegame

  11. As noted above, the RCV system they’re using in New York is the same as what we use for the Hugo Awards and Site Selection — I prefer IRV for Instant Runoff Voting because it describes what the system simulates. You can’t rank all your choices like we do in WSFS elections. There is no choice for “None of the Above/No Award.” Therefore there also is not the “No Award Showdown” rule where the tentative winner has to also outpoll NOTA/NA in a direct comparison.

    The differences are minor, though. Substantively, it’s the Hugo Awards voting system.

  12. That Jeep ad is cute – especially at the very end, when the ape has a close-up with the “Rubicon” decal whose last two letters are hidden so that it reads “RUBIC” (for an ape, that’s close enough to “Kubrick”).

  13. David Goldfarb – I felt that Middlegame was Seaman McGuire levelling up as a writer, her other series are pretty lightweight but entertaining (maybe pulp adjacent), Middlegame was in a different league, imo.

  14. 4) I initially went “It’s going to wind up being named Moony McMoonface” before clicking through and discovering that no, government agencies have apparently learned their lesson about setting some parameters on letting the public name things.

  15. 4) ‘Moonikin’ sounds like someone the Moomins might encounter.

    Thanks for the title credit!

  16. (9) WHAT ARE YOUR FAVES SINCE 2011?

    There’s some dubious stuff on that 2011 “Greatest” list. Xanth? Shannara? Thrawn? Drizz’t? Gah. This is why generally ignore these lists.

  17. (9): JJ: Don’t forget the Sword of Truth, should be no where near on a Bestlist.

    For all of you using wordpress: I say a news that Anonymus hacked a site with Back-upfiles and the Plug-In Duplicator Pro. While I am pretty sure no one here is on their targetlist, perhaps it would be a good idea to check if your site is safe.

  18. Patrick Morris Miller re:the Scroll Title – I recognized that reference!

  19. 9)
    I note, @JJ @Stefan that this list (and the previous 2011 list) is not claiming to be trying to find the best SFF since 2011, but favorite. Terry Goodkind, or even Piers Anthony on that 2011 is not surprising. It would be surprising if they were completely absent.

  20. NYC “Hold over Funds”

    Wait, that was the end of Brewster’s Millions, wasn’t it?

  21. (11) This is a repeat from 9 June Scroll.

    (10) I’m getting a strong sense of deja-vu with the original. Does anyone know where it originally appeared? A magazine cover, perhaps?

  22. Chris S. says I felt that Middlegame was Seaman McGuire levelling up as a writer, her other series are pretty lightweight but entertaining (maybe pulp adjacent), Middlegame was in a different league, imo.

    I disagree as she’s written two great series with depth to them, Indexing and Ghost Roads. Each is among the best series that I’ve had the privilege to experience.

  23. 4) I wonder if they intended “Delos” to be a Westworld reference.

    10) Slugs are known for being attracted to beer. I haven’t heard about giant nautiluses.

  24. David Shallcross says Slugs are known for being attracted to beer. I haven’t heard about giant nautiluses.

    Alcohol is fatal to slugs, so I do hope giant nautiluses fare better with their consumption of it.

    Now reading: Neal Asher’s Jack Four

  25. @David Shallcross

    4) I wonder if they intended “Delos” to be a Westworld reference.

    If you don’t buy the explanation that they gave (the island where Apollo and Artemis were born), also possible is Delos D. Harriman from “The Man who Sold the Moon”.

  26. (8) To me Graham Greene will always be Edgar K. B. Montrose from the Red Green show.

  27. @Mike Lowrey, Martin Wooster

    Mike Lowrey: So NYC has ranked voting but doesn’t allow write-ins?

    Per the NYC Board of Elections (see the green boxes under “Frequently Asked Questions”), you can write in candidates.

  28. 9) My nominations:
    The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
    The Outside by Ada Palmer
    Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik

  29. 9) Mine were (in no particular order)

    Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
    Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
    Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso
    Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
    Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

    Ask me again tomorrow, it might be a partially or entirely different list.

  30. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is just one form of ranked voting, so they can’t be considered synonyms. It’s probably the most common form, but I personally prefer Condorcet or pairwise ranking, where each pair of candidates is compared separately. A simple example illustrates the differences:

    Three candidates, A, B, and C. Four voters vote ABC, three vote CBA, and two vote BCA.

    With first-past-the-post, second and third place are ignored, so A wins with four first-place votes.

    With instant runoff, B is eliminated in the first round, and the BCA ballots are converted to CA, so C beats A 5-4 and C wins.

    With pairwise ranking, B beats A head-to-head by 5-4 and beats C 6-4, and thus B wins.

    Three different vote-counting methods; three different results. 🙂

    I like the pairwise system because it seems to find the better compromise. There are other problems with it, though. Unlike IRV, it can lead to rock-paper-scissors cycles where there is no unique winner. Also, the results tables can be confusing and hard to read. In any case, IRV is way better than first-past-the-post, so I’m definitely not suggesting that the Hugos should change at this late date.

    (There’s also an alternative version of IRV where the candidate with the most last place votes is eliminated each round, which I also like, but this post is long enough already.)

  31. Thanks JJ.
    I don’t see many Baen books in the shops this side of the Atlantic, so I must have seen it either online or in an advert in a magazine; Analog possibly.

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