Pixel Scroll 6/25/19 Cthulhu’s On First?

Editor’s Note: My ISP took the site down for several hours to do database maintenance. I was notified earlier today it would happen and put the info in a comment, however, I doubt many people saw it. We’re back now!

(1) HOW TO SUCCEED AS A PANELIST Delilah S. Dawson’s thread “So You’re On Your First Panel As A Writer” tells participants how to sharpen their skills. Thread starts here.

(2) RINGING THE REGISTER. “How Many Copies Did Famous Books Sell in the First Year?” LitHub says from two to two million. Here’s the number for the first genre work on their list –

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932): 13,000 copies (UK); 15,000 copies (US)

(3) STOP THAT TRAIN. The New York Times says the Justice Department lawsuit is supported by The Authors Guild and PEN America: “2 Big Book and Magazine Printers Face Suit to Block Their Merger”.

In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Chicago, the Justice Department asked for a halt to Quad/Graphics’s planned $1.4 billion purchase of LSC Communications. Lawyers in the department’s antitrust division argued that the merger would decrease competition and drive up prices.

Quad publishes every Condé Nast title, including The New Yorker and Vogue, most publications from Hearst Magazines, including O: The Oprah Magazine, and Scholastic books. LSC Communications publishes two magazines from AARP that claim to have the largest circulations in the world, Penguin Random House books and more.

…In its attempt to block the deal, the Justice Department had two allies from the community of writers: The Authors Guild and PEN America. “The lack of competition among book printers has already caused a bottleneck and increased publishing costs, and a merger between these two companies could exacerbate this situation by creating a monopoly,” the Authors Guild said in a statement in March.

That same month, the Authors Guild and PEN America joined the Open Markets Institute, an antitrust think tank based in Washington, in sending a letter to the Justice Department recommending that the merger be blocked.

It was imperative that the government act, the letter said, because magazines and books “are fundamental to the ability of citizens to freely express and share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and works of art.”

(4) ROCKET’S RED GLARE. ScienceFiction.com learned “Marvel Monsters REALLY Want Lady Gaga To Voice Rocket Raccoon’s Love Interest In ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 3’” and kicks off its coverage with a referential pun:

Are Marvel fans a “Shallow” lot?  They are lobbying hard for James Gunn to cast Lady Gaga as the voice of Lylla, a sentient otter from the comic books who winds up being the love interest of Rocket Raccoon, who is voiced by Bradley Cooper in the movies.  This is after Film Updates posted a tease on Twitter that Gaga was under consideration, and that Lylla was “set to make an appearance” in Gunn’s upcoming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3’.

(5) DESTROYING THE INTERNET. On reason.com, Mike Godwin of the R Street Institute, in “What If Widespread Disinformation Is the Solution to Fake News?” interviews Neal Stephenson about his idea, expressed in Fall, that the solution to fake news on the Internet is to hire people to perform “libel service,” flooding the Net with so many slanderous articles about a subject that no one could believe anything on the Net about a particular person.

I confess I haven’t yet finished Stephenson’s latest 800-plus-page tome, which so far might be characterized, although not necessarily captured, by the term “near-future dystopia.”  But when I came across Stephenson’s depiction of how automated disinformation could actually remedy the damage that internet-based “doxxing” and fake news inflict on an innocent private individual, I paused my reading and jumped down the rabbit hole of tracing this idea to its 1990s roots. 

…This whole chapter rang many bells for me, not least because it paralleled a discussion I had with a law professor at a conference last year when I pitched the idea of a “libel service.” Basically, you’d hire a “libel service” to randomly defame you on the internet, so that whenever anyone says something bad about you on Twitter or Facebook, or in the comments area of some newspaper, you could just say “that’s probably my libel service.” No one would know whether the defamatory statements were true or not, and people would be predisposed to doubt anything too terrible that’s said about you.

(6) MARVEL ONE-ACT PLAYS. Samuel French and Marvel Entertainment have launched Marvel Spotlight, a collection of one-act plays “telling the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

Developed specifically for teenagers, these one-act plays star the iconic Super Heroes Ms. Marvel, Thor, and Squirrel Girl. The scripts are now available for purchase as well as licensing within the educational theatre market at MarvelSpotlightPlays.com.

Here’s the abstract for Mirror of Most Value: A Ms. Marvel Play:

Kamala attempts to boost Ms. Marvel’s fledgling super hero profile by writing her own fan fiction. But when building a fandom becomes an obsession, Kamala’s schoolwork and relationships begin to suffer. To become the Jersey City hero of her dreams, Kamala must learn to accept herself just as she is – imperfections and all.

(7) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. Camestros Felapton points out the connections between Bradbury’s fiction and the Elton John biopic: “The Rocket Man versus Rocketman”.

Both the song and story feature a man who pilots an interplanetary rocket as a routine job that takes him away from his family for large stretches of time. However, the song places the perspective with the pilot (the titular rocket man) but the story focuses on the feelings and experiences of the pilot’s son.

Bradbury is such a powerful writer. Even though the sci-fi trappings of the story are of the gee-whiz 1950s style shiny technology, the story itself is focused on emotional connections and that signature Bradbury sense of the past and memory.


  • June 25, 1953 Robot Monster debuted — the one where the guy in the gorilla suit wore a divers helmet with antennae.
  • June 25, 1965 Dr. Who And The Daleks was released in London. The film featured Peter Cushing as Dr. Who. Cushing would do one more film, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. a year later.  Cushing was the First Doctor, so Roberta Tovey was cast as his granddaughter. 
  • June 25, 1975 Rollerball premiered
  • June 25, 1982 Blade Runner arrived in theaters.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 25, 1903 George Orwell. Surprised to learn he only lived to be forty-seven years old. Author obviously of Animal Farm and 1984, both of which I read a long time ago. Best use of the 1984 image goes to Apple in their ad where a female runner smashes the image of Big Brother. (Died 1950.)
  • Born June 25, 1925 June Lockhart, 93. Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space which amazingly only ran for three seasons. She has a number of genre one-offs including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Greatest American Hero and Babylon 5. She appeared in the Lost in Space film as Principal Cartwright. 
  • Born June 25, 1935 Charles Sheffield. He was the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronautical Society. He won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his novelette “Georgia on My Mind,” and a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel for Brother to Dragons which is an amazing read. Much of his fiction is in his Heritage Universe series; the linked short stories of space traveller Arthur Morton McAndrew are a sheer comic delight. (Died 2002.)
  • Born June 25, 1956 Anthony Bourdain. That’s a death that hit me hard. Partly because he’s round my age, partly because, damn, he seemed so interested in everything that I couldn’t conceive him committing suicide. And yes, he was one of us with three works to his credit: Get Jiro!,  (with Joe Rose and Langdon Foss), Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi (with Joe Rose and Ale Garza) and Hungry Ghosts (with Joel Rose, Alberto Ponticelli, Irene Koh, Paul Pope). The first two are on DC, the latter‘s on Berger Books. (Died 2018.)
  • Born June 25, 1960 Ian McDonald, 59. Now here’s an author that I’ve read a lot of starting with his first novel, Desolation Road, and following through to his most recent, The Luna series. I do have favorites — Desolation Road and the other Mars novel, Ares Express, plus the Everness series are the ones I like the best. Chaga I think is the one I need to read again as I was annoyed by it the first time. 
  • Born June 25, 1981 Sheridan Smith, 38. She makes the Birthday list for being Lucie Miller, a companion to the Eight Doctor in his Big Finish audio adventures starting in 2006 and running through at least this year. Her only video genre work was being in The Huntsman: Winter’s War as Mrs Bromwyn.

(10) WHAT A KINDNESS. Actor Michael Sheen answered a request in character as Aziraphale:

(11) STAN LEE NOVEL COMING. Per Entertainment Weekly, “Stan Lee’s posthumous project A Trick of Light to be published as a book”.

Stan Lee’s posthumous creative project A Trick of Light, initially announced as the beginning of a new series for Audible, will be published as a hardcover finished book this fall, EW has learned exclusively. The book will be classified as Lee’s first-ever novel for adult readers, and marks the first foray into his new Alliances universe, which was created in partnership between Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, Ryan Silbert’s Origin Story, and Luke Lieberman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is set to publish A Trick of Light, with Kat Rosenfield serving as co-author.

A Trick of Light is a superhero origin story about the unlikely friendship between Cameron, a gifted young man struggling with newfound fame after a freak accident gives him the ability to manipulate technology with his mind, and Nia, a hacker and coding genius with a mysterious past. The two must combine their powers to fight the dangerous physical and online forces threatening to wipe out the human race. Audible’s original launches June 27; it’s narrated by Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi.

… The novel version publishes on Sept. 17, 2019, and is available for pre-order.

(12) THE FLEET. Ethan Mills is finally won over to Chambers’ series, as he explains in “Space Chillwave, Not Space Opera: Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers” at Examined Worlds.

The setting was really interesting and philosophically fruitful: a fleet of generation ships dating back to a time before contact with aliens who possess advanced technology that made generation ships useless.  Instead of traversing the inky depths of interstellar space, the Fleet orbits a planet.  Still, the people continue to live there.  Why? It’s complicated.  But it prompts the existential question: What are we, the readers, doing on a rock hurtling through space heading nowhere in particular, destined to die?  It starts off subtle but it all gets pretty deep (we’re talking meaning-of-life type stuff, some of it – damn it – coming from the angsty teen).  This really surprised me considering a lot of the novel feels pretty… light and fluffy.  You could totally read this as a light and fluffy space romp and enjoy it just fine, but there are depths if you’re willing to look into the subtleties.

(13) WILLITS TRIBUTE. Alan White’s Skyliner #7 is a wonderful collection, even if it is “a sad one, being dedicated to the late, great Malcolm Willits, Author, Fannish Mogul, Citizen Kane of Mickey Mouse, and one of the early fen who actually did something worthy of the fannish pantheon.” It includes long autobiographical pieces, such as “Gottfredson and Me” about Willits’ appreciation for the artist who produced Disney’s Mickey Mouse comics.

I have long loved Floyd Gottfredson, even though I did not know his name. But I knew him through his work, through his wonderful Mickey Mouse stories, and especially through his wonderful artwork. I knew it first through the Big Little Books, those miniature jewels that came out during the Depression and reprinted Mickey’s great adventures. I remember them from the ten cent store; whole counters full, all spine out and a dime apiece

A few years later all my Big Little Books disappeared, along with the comic books I had carefully protected from the wartime paper drives, thereby prolonging World War II a microsecond. My father was a YMCA Secretary, and he had given all of them to the children of Japanese-American families being relocated to internment camps. In vain was my protest that the 10¢ war stamp I purchased each week in the 2nd grade was sacrifice enough. Nor was my offer to substitute my school books even considered. I soon found myself in a staging area looking at sad-eyed Japanese-American children being held in wire cages. Dad informed me they were as American as I. It was then I began to suspect his grasp of world affairs. Didn’t he know who Captain America was fighting; had he slept through that Don Winslow serial we had seen a week or two before and neglected to notice who the villains were? But I acted properly contrite and was rewarded with some new comic books on the way home, so the world turned bright again. When my father turned 90, he was honored for his work with the Japanese-Americans during World War II. My contribution remains unheralded.

…Do artists such as Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson really need their friends? John W. Campbell, legendary editor of astounding science-fiction once said that if all the fans stop buying his magazine he would never know. He meant the fans that filled the letter columns, attended the conventions, published the fanzines, and badgered the authors. They probably compromise 1% of the readership, and 90% of the headaches. By being so vocal they could manage from orbit the general policies of the magazine that were keeping the rest of the readership contented. Yet where would Barks and Gottfredson be today if it were not for the godsend that two fans, Bruce Hamilton, and Russ Cochran, we’re born to collect and publish the works of these two artists? How difficult it would be to place a historical perspective on them without the pioneering works Tom Andrae, Donald Ault, Bill Blackbeard, Geoffrey Blum, Barbara Botner, Mark Evanier, Alan Dean Foster, Bob Foster, Frank & Dana Gabbard, Gottfreid Helnwein, Gary Kurtz, George Lucas, Leonard Maltin, John Nichols, Tor Odemark, Mark Saarinen, Horst Schroeder, David Smith, Kim Weston, myself, Mark Worden, and many others both here and abroad.

(14) THE HORROR OF IT ALL. Nick Mamatas’ affection for the Lovecraftian storytelling style is manifest in his review of Toy Story 4, a post made public to encourage readers to sign up for his Patreon.

…The uncanny and the unworthy populate the film. Woody, ignored by his new owner, feels valueless and thus assigns himself the task of attempting to keep Forky alive. The antagonists are antique store dolls–there a Chatty Cathylike figure whose voice box was damaged at her creation, so her pull-cord “I love you!” sounds like a twisted dream calling forth from the bottom of a tar pit. She commands a quartet of ventriloquist dummies who cannot speak and who do her bidding while flopping around on their twisted limbs. She desires Woody’s innards for her own….

(15) ASTRONAUT HEIRLOOM. All kinds of things are going under the hammer during The Armstrong Family Collection III Space Exploration Auction (July 16-18) – even “Neil Armstrong’s Childhood Toy Teddy Bear Directly From The Armstrong Family Collection”.

(16) TRANSPORTATION SENTENCES. Felicity McLean explores “Australian Gothic Literature” at CrimeReads.

Of course the Germans have a wonderful word for ‘Gothic novel’. Schauerroman. Literally: “shudder-novel”. A story that makes you shiver with fear. Because Gothic is the literature of the menacing and the macabre.

It’s the stuff of nightmares.

But how does such a dark art translate in sunny Australia? How do you cause your readers to shiver when the temperature sits stubbornly above 80 degrees?

Gothic influence has been loitering creepily in Australian literature ever since European settlement. In 1788, when the British began shipping their convicts to Australia, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Ontranto had recently been published in England and so the British transported the Gothic mode along with their very worst criminals.

(17) DEADLY TROPE. Also at CrimeReads, Caroline Louise Walker analyzes “Why Doctors Make for the Most Terrifying Villains in Fiction”.

SIR WILLIAM GULL in From Hell, by Alan Moore (art by Eddie Campbell)

In Moore’s brilliant graphic novel, we’re asked to bend all we know about a serial killer we all know: Jack the Ripper. The details and research embedded in the conspiracy theory that unfolds are haunting, staggering, and so well done. If the infamously gruesome homicidal maniac was one and the same as a highly respected royal physician, then we must consider who we are trusting with our lives, and why.

(18) ON THE CLOCK. Details on the Falcon Heavy’s key payload: “Nasa puts up deep-space atomic clock”.

Nasa has put a miniaturised atomic clock in orbit that it believes can revolutionise deep-space navigation.

About the size of a toaster, the device is said to have 50 times the stability of existing space clocks, such as those flown in GPS satellites.

If the technology proves itself over the next year, Nasa will install the clock in future planetary probes.

The timepiece was one of 24 separate deployments from a Falcon Heavy rocket that launched from Florida on Tuesday.

The other passengers on the flight were largely also demonstrators. They included a small spacecraft to test a new type of “green” rocket fuel, and another platform that aims to propel itself via the pressure of sunlight caught in a large membrane; what’s often called a “lightsail”.

But it is the mercury-ion atomic clock, developed at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which has had most attention.

(19) REMOTE LAB. “‘Jet in a box’ powers remote Halley Antarctic base” – article resonates with discussions about whether we should ever send crews rather than robot labs to other planets.

The UK has managed to get one of its major Antarctic bases operating in an automatic mode for the first time.

Halley base, on the Brunt Ice Shelf, is remotely running experiments that include the monitoring of the ozone layer and of “space weather”.

The station would normally be crewed year-round, even through the permanent darkness of winter.

But staff have had to be withdrawn because of uncertainty over the stability of nearby ice.

A giant berg the size of Greater London is about to break away from the Brunt, and officials from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) consider it prudent to keep people away from the area, at least until the light and warmth of summer returns.

That’s prompted the UK’s polar research agency to develop an innovative set-up that can continue the station’s priority science activities in what is now the third winter shutdown on the trot.

(20) TOOL FOR SF WRITERS? BBC unpacks “The simple rule that can help you predict the future”. Note Le Guin quote near end, and signup for Forecast Challenge at the top.

What will remain in 100 years’ time of the city or town where you were born: which landmarks or buildings? What about in 500 years? The controversial author Nassim Nicholas Taleb offers a counter-intuitive rule-of-thumb for answering questions like this. If you want to know how long something non-perishable will endure – that is, something not subject to the limits of a natural lifespan – then the first question you should ask is how long it has already existed. The older it is, the more likely it is to go on surviving.

…The logic of Taleb’s argument is simple. Because the only judge that matters when it comes to the future is time, our only genuinely reliable technique for looking ahead is to ask what has already proved enduring: what has shown fitness and resilience in the face of time itself, surviving its shocks and assaults across decades, centuries or millennia. The Tower of London may seem modest in comparison to the Shard skyscraper – which sits across the Thames at 11 times the height – but it has also proved its staying power across 94 times as many years. The Shard may be iconic and imposing, but its place in history is far from assured. When it comes to time, the older building looms larger.

(21) MUPPET HISTORY. DefunctTV: Jim Henson is a six-part series chronicling the life and works of the man behind the Muppet mayhem. Here’s the first of four installments.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, Brian Z, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

57 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/25/19 Cthulhu’s On First?

  1. DefunctTV looks (logo-wise) to be a relation of Defunctland, the fan site that looks at the original attractions of Disneyland. I’ve enjoyed some of their YouTube videos showing tours of Disneyland that focus on remnants of original hardware. “See that little building there? It’s an original ticket booth from [some no-longer-extant ride], and that’s all that remains of it.”

    For me, Disneyland was always more interesting than any number of Disneyworlds, and the most interesting parts of it were made of plywood and paper mache, or had a celebrity’s name attached to it. The real early stuff. Some day I’ll get back there for the first time since 1958 and see it while my eyes are actually open.

    Great scroll title, by the way. Compliments to Mr. Dern.

  2. (1) Being a panelist is not about selling, full stop. There is some good general advice in her thread, but no, not all panelists are writers, and panels are not just for entertainment.

  3. I have been on panels, and I have sold more books than some Brontes. Which means, from a strictly market-based meritocratic standpoint, that I’m better than those dumb litfic nerds. Woohoo.

    I have been lackadaisacal about selling books because I don’t want to disturb my unemployment payouts but I finally have a good interview tomorrow, so I’m not only crossing my fingers, I went out and got a bunch of SJW credentials tattooed on my arm for good luck.

    @Kip At the Disney museum in the Presidio in SF they have a great big floor model of a Disneyland that never existed, averaged out over a 20 year span, with bits of Defunctland hardware such as Peoplemover parts scattered around. A great place to waste a few hours in San Francisco.

  4. The link and quote buttons are still above the Edit box, but the bold and italic buttons are gone. Did they remove a WordPress plug-in from your site?

  5. Charon, I’ve wanted to see this museum. They wrote me about the scans I had at my flickr page of articles from PM concerning the Disney strike of 1940, and ended up using them. I received an invitation to the opening of the museum but couldn’t use it because of being in New York instead of my native California (and they couldn’t be transferred to another animation fan friend of mine who lives right outside San Francisco), so I’ve never gotten to see them in context. I don’t even know if they were part of a temporary exhibit or if they’re still there.

  6. 16) We use an even simpler name in Sweden. We call them “rysare” or in English a shudderer.

  7. Oh, and btw, I might have finally gotten some kind of answer to the shakings that I suffered from earlier this year. They started to come back, so I went to a masseur and then a chiropractor and the latter one seemed to recognize the symptoms. He could narrow all the problems down to one specific muscle. So current theory from him is that I suffer from Spasmodic torticollis which is a neorological disorder that causes the muscles to spasm. So it is back to the doctors for a new round of investigations, but at least this disorder seems to have well-known treatments.

  8. @Hampus,
    Cautiously glad that there is a new development. If it turns out to be something easily treatable, that would be a good outcome. Best wishes for that.

  9. (5) As something of a professional in this field, I can say that Stephenson is about as wrong as it is possible to be.

    The best evidence is that most people under 50 are already aware that anything they see online might be false: the problem is that they don’t know how to determine what is true. Intentionally spreading misinformation, even with good intentions, will only make things worse.

    For a good explanation of this, see Mike Caulfield’s article “Cynicism, Not Gullibility, Will Kill Our Humanity”: https://hapgood.us/2018/11/27/cynicism-not-gullibility-will-kill-our-humanity/

    Anyone curious about my work on the topic can see it here: https://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-literacy/digital-issues/authenticating-information/reality-check

  10. @1 all sounds plausible, but leads me to wonder when putting one’s books face forward on the table became a Thing? I’ve noticed it for some years and remember back in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period when it didn’t happen, but don’t remember when/where it started cropping up, let alone whether it was imported from commercial megacons or first appeared in fan-run conventions.

    @2: the first-year numbers are interesting, but I wonder how they’re defining “classics” and how enduring the books are; I didn’t know the Brontes had published a book of poetry, and I suspect a lot of those works had a first-year bulge and became school assignments a few years later. I wonder who bought all the Pooh in its first year; ISTM that it reflects period British upper-class life, such that I would have thought it would grow in nostalgia rather than being an immediate hit. (Yes, Milne was a hugely popular playwright for adults; would those audiences have bought a book about/for small children?)

    @5: people would be predisposed to doubt anything too terrible that’s said about you. Oh, that sweet summer child….

    @9: IMO it’s not surprising that Lost in Space ran only 3 seasons; it was ordinary and repetitive at best, and probably tanked when OST showed that serial (as opposed to anthology) SF could be better even on TV.

    @Tom Becker: did you miss the title of the thread? ISTM that it’s mostly good advice for people who weren’t considered panel-worthy until they were published.

  11. (5) Vinge had a service that put false though not defamatory information on the internet to help people maintain privacy in Rainbows End.

  12. Chip says IMO it’s not surprising that Lost in Space ran only 3 seasons; it was ordinary and repetitive at best, and probably tanked when OST showed that serial (as opposed to anthology) SF could be better even on TV.

    If OST means Original Star Trek, I’d submit that much of that series was godawful. Some episodes were great but many were just plan bad be it Spock’s brain brings stolen, the Halloween themed one with the Squire or, no, I’m not going on. And hardly any of it was serialised anyways.

  13. At this point in history, there are trends, and sometimes laws. that say things like “if something has survived at least n years, you need more justification for tearing it down than you would have when it was younger.” Which leads to the question of how, if at all. that affects likely building predicted lifespan. If the local landmarks board will only consider protecting things that are at least sixty years old, are 55-year-old buildings particularly likely to be replaced or massively renovated by owners who are afraid that if they don’t act soon they won’t be allowed to?

    It’s easy to give an intuitive “of course” or “of course not,” but I don’t know whether anyone has good data here. Good for these purposes meaning, not just a detailed study of decisions and rules in one city.

  14. 1 @ 1 and Tom Becker:

    You beat me to it. My go-to line when discussing this subject is “when you are on a panel, we want to hear FROM you, not ABOUT you. Just went to the go-to in a David Gerrold thread on Facebook – might have been spill over from these tweets.

    A good panel begins with the moderator explaining the subject, maybe a bit about their process for the next “hour” and then leads off with introductions of/by the panelists. If you are inclined to horn toot and/or brought a brick for your book fort with you, that’s the time to impress us with how wonderful, intelligent, with-it and exciting you are. Wave the brick around, make sure everyone knows that yes, it IS actually for sale…and there’s more than one copy available…and there’s a matching bookmark set to go with it, and they can get a signed copy at the reading that’s in the schedule, thank you. (Oh, did I mention in ebook and audible formats too…?)

    Then you address the topic of the panel. Because the audience is there to hear about the TOPIC, not some random author/artist/editor they may have never heard of.

    Oh, and that bit about being nice to fellow panelists and asking if anyone else wants to do lunch?

    Bring your business cards. Put one at each place on the table before the panel starts. Ask the other panelists for theirs. And get ready to hear “sorry, I have another panel in five minutes”, “I already had lunch”, and maybe even “what, is this your first convention? we’re all scheduled out the yin-yang two months before this thing even starts; if you wanted to have lunch with any of the other panelists, you should have contacted them months ago…sorry, could continue the lecture but I have a reading to get to….”

  15. And hardly any of it was serialised anyways.

    The intended contrast there would be with shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, though, without continuing characters.

    (Lost in Space was more serialized than Trek, as I remember.)

  16. Don’t we have three different kinds of television show? Anthology (everything is different every episode – Outer Limits, Twilight Zone), Episodic (the characters and setting stay largely the same, but a new adventure every week – Star Trek, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) and Serialized (the story and characters and setting are the same and linear from episode one through to the end – V, the “new” Lost in Space)?

  17. 9) I had no idea Orwell died so young. Damn.

    Hampus, I hope the diagnosis leads to treatment that can bring you relief.

    4) they do have good chemistry, so I’d be on board for this

  18. @Chip Hitchcock: Even if the advice is meant for writers only, it’s missing some important things. Non-profit 501(c)3 convention running organizations in the US are legally responsible to have an educational, cultural or charitable purpose. This purpose is a good thing and worth doing even if not legally required. The program is in the forefront of that purpose. Promoting literature and writing fits in that purpose. Promoting writers, not so much. A certain amount of self-promotion is okay, but fundamentally the panelists should be engaging fully and sincerely with the topic of the panel.

  19. (9) Orwell died of TB. If only he could have gotten effective antibiotics in time, he could have had a much longer life. The books he could have written.

  20. Tom Becker says Orwell died of TB. If only he could have gotten effective antibiotics in time, he could have had a much longer life. The books he could have written.

    And he wrote his two novels of note in the five years preceding his death.

  21. @Tom Becker: Couldn’t agree more, Tom. Panels should be a forum for exchanging knowledge, opinions and insight, not “selling yourself”.

  22. @5: there speaks one who has never felt unsafe.

    @8: I read that after a day’s shooting on Rollerball wrapped, the stunt crew would gear up, go on the set, and actually play the sport.

  23. The cited article says the NZETA applies for stays up to three months, not that it applies for stays for more than three months. I would presume longer stays require something more rigorous.

  24. I’m certainly capable of misreading. It doesn’t sound too onerous a requirement.

  25. (1) The advice quoted here bothered me too — the purpose of a panel is to share what you know and think about a topic, not to sell yourself (I think, anyway). Then I checked out the Twitter thread, and it goes on to make some great points about, for example, sharing with other panelists and not being negative. I’m still not bringing copies of my book up with me, though.

    (9) Orwell was wounded in the throat in the Spanish Civil War and never really recovered his health after that. He seems to have been very careless of his safety.

  26. Re (5) I don’t think it would work either, but in this book the point was that the fake news of someone was a) peaked at billions and b) contradictive. It was noted that it only works bc the lies were not at the aligned, so the subconscious cant say „There must be some kernel of truth“ because there is nothing resembling a kernel.
    In the book it followed an event that put a huge amount of distrust in social media too and it was the double whammy that allegedly „worked“. Its a plot device and fine as such. It never occurred to me to take this as a serious solutionanymore then the interface in interface…

  27. 7. Camestros Felapton-Pearls Before Swine (Tom Rapp) released this one two years before the Elton John song of the same name, and it more closely follows (and credits) the Bradbury story:

  28. Joel Zakem on June 26, 2019 at 10:42 am said: 7. Camestros Felapton-Pearls Before Swine (Tom Rapp) released this one two years before the Elton John song of the same name, and it more closely follows (and credits) the Bradbury story:

    Thanks! Yes, after I wrote my post I found an interview with Bernie Taupin where this record was mentioned – people had assumed the song was influenced mainly by Bowie’s Major Tom but was actually influenced more by the song you linked to (which I hadn’t heard before).

    The thing with Bradbury is he has such infectious ideas. The story I’d set out to read, The Fog Horn (which made me buy a compendium of Bradbury stories and read Rocket Man etc), aside from having obvious connections to the genre of ancient creature wakes up from the sea, also apparently partly inspired Star Trek:The Voyage Home. Not an obvious connection but when you get how it makes sense.

  29. June 25 is Peyo’s birthday. We have him to thank/curse for the Smurfs.

    Born the same year (1928) was Alex Toth. On top of a lot of comic work, Toth gave us Space Ghost, Birdman, and the Herculoids at Hanna-Barbera. Cartoon Network owes a lot to Toth.

    “Pixel scroll powers activate!”

  30. 5) I can’t tell if Stephenson doesn’t understand that this scheme, if at all effective, would also destroy the ability to communicate actual news that reflected badly on a public figure… or if he just doesn’t care. Many if not most actions of the current administration here would fall under the category of “terrible things that people would be predisposed to doubt”.

    I did read the interview, and he seems to hand-wave this with variations on “People would learn to think critically and verify what they’ve read.” Verify how? Their only basis for trusting Trustworthy News Source X would be that they or people they respected already considered it to be trustworthy; they couldn’t compare it to reality, at least not for any fact that isn’t literally visible in front of their face, because there would be 10,000 other voices screaming that every single thing in it is wrong. And that’s not unlike the situation we have today; he’s just proposing to make it worse, by adding “the Washington Post just fell for my clever effort to defame myself” to the list of common propaganda techniques.

  31. @Tom Becker: being a 501(c)3 does not mean being a po’ faced priss; there is room for many things besides the core purpose. How else to explain Regency (or many other types of) dancing, Higgins Armory (the late lamented) demos, etc. One can also argue the converse: being on a panel, whether or not one self-promotes, probably does not make the whole convention a deductible business expense — although I wonder whether some fort-builders have that misunderstanding as a reason.

    @Cat Eldridge: what James Moar said; there’s probably a more rigorous term to distinguish LiS, OST, etc., from the anthologies without suggesting they’re as linear as (e.g.) Buffy, but I’m blanking — is “situation drama” an accepted term? And most people acknowledge that OST went south in tfhe third season — it was ~murdered — but ISTM that LiS started from a weak premise and never got good.

  32. @Hampus Eckerman: I’m sorry the symptoms returned, but I hope this new path leads to a treatment that works.

    @P J Evans: Thanks for the info re. the NZeTA; it sounds like no big deal (but necessary to know).

    @Jack Lint: I liked the Hurculoids a lot when I was a kid. I wanted to have alien creature allies/pets/whatever!

    – – – – –

    [Cross-posted to the Hugo packet post.] FYI to folks with U.S.-based Netflix streaming: “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” is indeed on Netflix (and in my list/queue) as of today. Yay, I can watch another Hugo BDP:LF finalist; hopefully some of you now can, too.

  33. Chip says: Cat Eldridge: what James Moar said; there’s probably a more rigorous term to distinguish LiS, OST, etc., from the anthologies without suggesting they’re as linear as (e.g.) Buffy, but I’m blanking — is “situation drama” an accepted term? And most people acknowledge that OST went south in tfhe third season — it was ~murdered — but ISTM that LiS started from a weak premise and never got good.

    OST was definitely murdered in the third season but I’d argue that the first two seasons were uneven at best as well. DS9 was the only series of the Treks that I thought was reasonably consistent season to season though I hated the ending passionately.

  34. I did read the interview, and he seems to hand-wave this with variations on “People would learn to think critically and verify what they’ve read.” Verify how? Their only basis for trusting Trustworthy News Source X would be that they or people they respected already considered it to be trustworthy; they couldn’t compare it to reality, at least not for any fact that isn’t literally visible in front of their face, because there would be 10,000 other voices screaming that every single thing in it is wrong. And that’s not unlike the situation we have today; he’s just proposing to make it worse, by adding “the Washington Post just fell for my clever effort to defame myself” to the list of common propaganda techniques.

    It’s meant to reflect a dystopia after all. Keep in mind that at this point in his story, at least half of the country is functionally insane. Also, in regard to verifying information, the counterpart to the libel service is your ‘editor’, another service you hire that provides you with a curated source of info.

  35. (5) This is profoundly stupid, in a way very characteristic of Stephenson being stupid. Two things:

    #1. If he’d bothered to look at what happens to people who are the targets of floods of lies and who aren’t straight white cis-gendered upper-class right-wing men, he’d very quickly have found out that that people who hate the target believe all the lies.

    #2. If he’d bothered to check for scholarly study of conspiracy beliefs and/or contradictory beliefs, he’d quickly have run into studies like this one.

    In the first of two experiments, Douglas and colleagues asked 137 students to rate how much they agreed with five conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in 1997.

    “The more people were likely to endorse the idea Princess Diana was murdered, the more they were likely to believe that Princess Diana is alive,” explained Douglas. People who thought it was unlikely she was murdered were also unlikely to think she did not die.

    They also asked 102 students about the death of Osama bin Laden last year. The students rated how much they agreed with statements purporting that: bin Laden had died in the American raid; he is still alive; he was already dead when the raid took place; the Obama administration appears to be hiding information about the raid.

    Once again, people who believed bin Laden was already dead before the raid were more likely to believe he is still alive. Using statistical analysis, the researchers determined that the link between the two was explained by a belief that the Obama administration was hiding something.

    The central idea — that authorities are engaged in massive deceptions intended to further their malevolent goals — supports any individual theory, to the point that theorists can endorse contradictory ones, according to the team.

    Fun as it is to feel like you’re coming at something ab initio, reasoning about it in the realm of pure thought, it generally turns out that real people are living and suffering with the stuff you’re throwing around as a game.

  36. @Bruce Baugh:

    I’m reminded of an idea that a prominent SF author floated a few years back – to spread rumors that poor patients were being harvested for organs, which (the theory was) would reduce the load on harried emergency room staff. The author apparently gave no thought to (among other things) the prospect that it might be somewhat dangerous for emergency room staff if even a small percentage of the general populace believed that doctors and nurses were murderers.

  37. @Andrew: The author has a long enough history of racism that I imagine he’d regard casualties among people providing emergency/urgent care to non-white people as a fully acceptable bit of collateral damage.

  38. Andrew: The author apparently gave no thought to (among other things) the prospect that it might be somewhat dangerous for emergency room staff

    Never mind how many poor people would be afraid to seek the treatment needed to save the lives of themselves or other family members.

    Whoever that SF author is, they’re a conscienceless dick. 😐

  39. JJ: It’s Larry Niven. Not trying to be coy about it. A search for his name and hospital rumors will get you the original story.

  40. Ugh. Between that, and what people have said about the content and quality of his books, they’re so far at the bottom of Mount Tsundoku that I will certainly never get to them before I die.

  41. Niven’s written a bunch of very fine stories. He also gave the most interesting talk I’ve ever heard about smoking, one year at Orycon – he talked about his sense of taste coming back strongly after he had to stop smoking, and about realizing that there was a lot more about food in his later stories because of it.

    But he’s also had strongly held racist and classist convictions all along, and got more opportunities to indulge them publicly as time went on.

  42. @ Rob “I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrooooooow”

    “Just a pixel scroll
    Filing is our only goal”

  43. I’ve resented Niven ever since he showed up late and what to me looked drunk for Toastmaster duties one worldcon, years ago. It was disrespectful. I enjoyed a lot of his writing, but I haven’t bought any since, and haven’t read it for a long time.

  44. Lenore Jones: Are you sure it was Niven? Toastmastering is not in his line, I’m not familiar with his having done it at a Worldcon. (I do recall one Hugo ceremonies toastmaster I thought was loaded, that’s for certain.)

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