Pixel Scroll 6/17/16 The Second Fifth Season

(1) RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU’RE A GREAT WRITER. Photos from George R.R. Martin’s sit-down with Stephen King last night in Albuquerque, in “The King and I” at Not a Blog.

(2) NON-ENGLISH SCHOLARSHIP AWARD. Through September 1, the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts is taking entries for the 10th annual Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for a critical essay on the fantastic written in a language other than English.

The IAFA defines the fantastic to include science fiction, folklore, and related genres in literature, drama, film, art and graphic design, and related disciplines.

The prize is $250 U.S. and one year’s free membership in the IAFA.

(3) FUTURE IAFA. In 2017, “Fantastic Epics” will be the theme of the 38th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, to be held March 22-26 in Orlando, Florida. Guests of Honor: Steven Erikson and N.K. Jemisin; Guest Scholar: Edward James; and Special Guest Emeritus: Brian Aldiss.

(4) INVENTIVE SF WRITER. Mike Chomko salutes “120 Years of Murray Leinster” at the Pulpfest website.

Although magazines have been around since the seventeenth century, it wasn’t until the last month of 1896 that the pulp magazine was born. It was left to Frank A. Munsey – a man about whom it has been suggested, “contributed to the journalism of his day the talent of a meat packer, the morals of a money changer and the manner of an undertaker” – to deliver the first American periodical specifically intended for the common man — THE ARGOSY. In his own words, Munsey decided to create “a magazine of the people and for the people, with pictures and art and good cheer and human interest throughout.”

That same year, on June 16, a child was born who would become one of THE ARGOSY’s regular writers for nearly four decades — William Fitzgerald Jenkins. Best known and remembered under his pseudonym of Murray Leinster, Jenkins wrote and published more than 1,500 short stories and articles, fourteen movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays. Active as a writer for nearly seven decades, Jenkins’ writing career began in early 1916 when his work began to be featured in H. L. Mencken’s and George Jean Nathan’s THE SMART SET.

(5) JEMISIN INTERVIEWED BY WIRED. “Wired Book Club: Fantasy Writer N.K. Jemisin on the Weird Dreams That Fuel Her Stories”.

We asked readers to submit questions. Here’s one: “I love how this storyline seemed to play with the idea that a person is fluid rather than static, especially when discussing the concept of mothering. Women tend to be judged very harshly on whether or not they want a family, and on the decisions they make when they do have a family. To see one person travel along all different points of the mother spectrum was very interesting. Am I reading too much into this?”

No! I’m glad that reader saw that. I tend to like writing characters that are not typical heroes. I have seen mothers as heroes in fiction lots of time, but they tend to be one-note. You don’t often see that they weren’t always that interested in having kids. They weren’t always great moms. You don’t often see that they are people beyond being mothers, that motherhood is just one aspect of their life and not the totality of their being. I had some concern about the fact that I am not a mother. It’s entirely possible that I made some mistakes in the way that I chose to render that complexity. But it’s something I wanted to explore.

(6) YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN. In fact, they have.

(7) JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER. Joe Zieja, gaining fame as a genre humorist, proves his mettle in “Five Books I Haven’t Read But Want To and Am Going to Summarize Anyway Based on Their Titles and Covers” at Tor.com.

The Grace of Kings—Ken Liu

The year is 2256. The Earth is a barren wasteland of oatmeal raisin cookies and hyper-intelligent cockroaches Everything is pretty much firmly settled in a dystopian, post-apocalpytic mess, and nobody can grow any plants. Except one girl: Grace King. This is the story of one girl’s attempt to grow a dandelion out of a really fancy upside-down ladle. As she struggles to find the courage inside herself—and maybe some water or fertilizer, or something—we recognize that her quest for the ladle is not unlike our own, deeply personal quest for soup.

This game sounds tailor made for Filers…

(8) FATHERS DAY READS. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog comes up with “5 Great Dad Moments in Science Fiction & Fantasy History”.

Aral Vorkosigan Saves His Son (The Warrior’s Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold) Aral Vorkosigan is not a man who easily bends his principles or behaves counter to his beliefs; you can probably count the number of times he’s actually used his power and influence for personal gain on one hand—remarkable considering how much power he wields at various times in his career. At the end of the second book in Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, his son Miles stands accused of raising a private army and is poised to be drummed out of the military and executed, but Aral influences the proceedings so that Miles is charged instead with the equally serious crime of treason. Why is having your son accused of treason a grand Dad Moment? Because Aral knew treason could never be proved—while it was pretty clear that Miles had indeed raised a private army (even if he had a really good reason). It’s a neat way for Aral to demonstrate his loyalty to his son without, technically, violating his own moral code.

(9) NOW WE HAVE FACES. Yahoo! News brings word that Supergirl has cast its Superman.

For Season 2, though, the Last Son of Krypton will finally have a face, and he’ll look a lot like Tyler Hoechlin. The Teen Wolf star takes flight in a role previously played on The CW by Smallville’s Tom Welling, who portrayed a pre-Superman Clark Kent for 10 seasons.

Hoechlin actually has comic book roots that pre-date his Supergirl assignment. At the age of 14, he won the coveted role of Tom Hanks’s son in Road to Perdition, the Sam Mendes-directed adaptation of an acclaimed graphic novel. In addition to his role as Derek Hale on Teen Wolf, the actor will also appear in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

(10) QUALITY EMERGENT. At Amazing Stories, MD Jackson continues the series: “Why Was Early Comic Book Art so Crude? (Part Two)”.

His talents did not go unnoticed. Everett M. “Busy” Arnold, publisher of Quality Comics, wanted to integrate the comic book format into the more prestigious world of the Sunday Funnies. He lured Eisner away from the studio to create a weekly comic book that would be distributed by a newspaper syndicate. Eisner agreed and came up with his most famous creation, The Spirit, which would continue to break new ground artistically, but also in the comic book business. Eisner insisted on owning the copyright to his new creation, a situation almost without parallel in comics at that time and almost without parallel on any popular basis for several decades to come. “Since I knew I would be in comics for life, I felt I had every right to own what I created. It was my future, my product and my property, and by God, I was going to fight to own it.” Eisner said. That was a watershed moment in terms of the artist being acknowledged as a creator of comics rather than just part of an assembly line.

(11) A LOONEY IDEA. A BBC video explains why Earth probably has more than one moon a lot of the time.

Or, as JPL explains it:

As it orbits the sun, this new asteroid, designated 2016 HO3, appears to circle around Earth as well. It is too distant to be considered a true satellite of our planet, but it is the best and most stable example to date of a near-Earth companion, or “quasi-satellite.”

“Since 2016 HO3 loops around our planet, but never ventures very far away as we both go around the sun, we refer to it as a quasi-satellite of Earth,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “One other asteroid — 2003 YN107 — followed a similar orbital pattern for a while over 10 years ago, but it has since departed our vicinity. This new asteroid is much more locked onto us. Our calculations indicate 2016 HO3 has been a stable quasi-satellite of Earth for almost a century, and it will continue to follow this pattern as Earth’s companion for centuries to come.”

(12) IT’S A THEORY.

(13) A DOCTOR ON DYING. Rudy Rucker Podcast #95 shares with listeners an essay/memoir by Michael Blumlein called “Unrestrained and Indiscreet” originally read at the SF in SF series in San Francisco.

And then all at once Blumlein … tells about learning that he himself has lung cancer, about having large sections of his lungs removed, and about learning that the treatments have failed and that he’s approaching death. Blumlein is a doctor as well as as science-fiction author, and he ends with a profound meditation on the process and experience of death…

(14) SCALES AND TALES. William Wu has released the final cover for Scales and Tales, the anthology created to benefit three different animal adoption programs in the LA area.

Wu’s small press is printing 500 copies. An e-version will follow.

There will be a signing at the San Diego Comic-Con in July, and another at Dark Delicacies bookstore in Burbank on August 28 at 2 p.m.

Scales-and-Tales-cover COMP

(15) SIXTIES HUGO WINNER. Nawfalaq at AQ’s Reviews is not the least blown away by Clifford D. Simak’s Way Station, a book that was at the very top of my list of favorite sf novels for a number of years.

Way Station by Clifford D. Simak (1904 – 1988) is the third novel by the author that I have read. It was published in 1963 and won the 1964 Hugo Award for best novel.  Off the bat, I have to say that this is the most polished of the three novels by Simak that I have read. Nevertheless, I admit that this was not an easy read for me to get through. The setting and the tone really caused the big slowdown with my reading of this novel.

The review makes me want to “revenge read” Way Station to prove to myself it is as wonderful as I remember. But what if it’s not…?

(16) SECURITY THEATRE? JJ calls this a “replicant check.”

(17) IT PAYS TO BE A GENIUS OF COURSE. In this installment of Whatever’s “The Big Idea” series, Yoon Ha Lee reveals the thinking behind Ninefox Gambit.

Not so fast. Both of them were also supposed to be geniuses: Jedao at tactics and psychological warfare, Cheris at math. It’s possible that writing geniuses is easy when one is a genius oneself; I wouldn’t know, because I’m definitely not a genius. (I have since sworn that maybe the next thing I should do is write slapstick comedy about stupid-ass generals, not brilliant tacticians.)

So I cheated.  A lot. One of the first things I did was to reread James Dunnigan & Albert A. Nofi’s Victory and Deceit: Dirty Tricks at War. I wrote down all the stratagems I liked, then tried to shove all of them into the rough draft. (And then there was too much plot so I had to take some of them out.)  And of course, their opponent also had to be smart. I’d learned this from reading Gordon R. Dickson’s Tactics of Mistake, a novel I found infuriating because the “tactical genius” mainly geniused by virtue of the opponent being stupid, which I’m sure happens all the time in real life but makes for unsatisfying narrative. Besides all the military reading I did, I also hit up social engineering and security engineering.

(18) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 17, 1955 — Bert I. Gordon’s King Dinosaur premieres in theaters.

ws_Vintage_Cinema__King_Dinosaur!_1440x900 COMP

(19) MONSTERKID. Rondo Award emcee David Colton presents Steve Vertlieb with the Lifetime Achievement, Rondo Award “Hall Of Fame” plaque at the Wonderfest film conference on June 4.

Vertlieb receives rondoRondo Hall of Fame

(20) STAR WARS 8 FINISHES SHOOTING IN IRELAND. Post-Star Wars filming in Ireland, the studio put an ad in a local Kerry newspaper complete with Gaelic translation of may the force be with you. The commenters tried to make it look like the translation was wrong. All I can say is Google Translate made nonsense of it.

Then local Credit Union decided to capitalize on the zeitgeist with Darth Vader as Gaeilgoir (Irish speaker).

(21) FURNISHING THE FUTURE. Stelios Mousarris is a designer with a fantastic imagination.

A Glass Coffee Table propelled by a team of rockets makes a nice Father’s Day gift.

table-1

Ever since I was a little boy, I loved playing with action figures and spent my weekend mornings watching cartoons on the TV. I have been collecting toys and action figures and anything nostalgic from my childhood until this day.

Every time I take a look at my collectibles I remember my childhood, when I used to play for hours on end without a care in the world.

I wanted to recreate that feeling of carefreeness and nostalgia with the Rocket Coffee Table. The design is visually playful bringing cartoon-like clouds and aerial rockets from a personal toy collection to life, in the form of a table.

Combining various techniques from lathe to 3d printing, resin casting and traditional hand curved pieces, this table is fashioned to draw a smile on the face of nostalgic adults, children, and children trapped in adult bodies.

The rockets are not attached to the glass giving the opportunity to each owner to form their own desired structure of the table.

Price: €5000

Or look at the Wave City Coffee Table:

another table 2 COMP.jpg

 

Inspired by a film this table is a well balanced mixture of wood, steel and 3D printed technology.

Price: €8500

[Thanks to Nigel, JJ, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, and robinareid for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/17/16 The Second Fifth Season

  1. This is still awaiting moderation from last night, probably because of the link to the cover on Amazon, so I apologize for the double post—don’t want to miss the fun!

    The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

    Gully and Jisbella were young, beautiful, and talented. They dreamed of stardom. But after that fateful night in Tijuana, it all came crashing down for Gully. Jiz woke up with a tasteful crescent moon discreetly placed on one shoulder, but Gully . . . . “I told you to put those damn tats on your back, not your face, Gul,” she insisted. “Now you’ll never be a leading man.” Gully is left without his girl, his looks, and the Hollywood future he’d imagined. Can he reclaim his tattered hopes, or will he be forever relegated to supporting roles? Can he still get that house in the Hollywood Hills, or at least Bel Air? Can he find love again? Can he find a laser surgeon willing to take on his case? You’ll be on the edge of your La-Z-Boy, cheering him on!

  2. Agreeing with Mike, Xtifr, et al; I definitely found Way Station worth rereading the last time I did so (10 years?). AQ’s problem seems to be inability to cope with pastoralism, which means he’s not a good reviewer for Simak. (It also suggests limits to his ability to review SF, much of which, as here, is about clashes of cultures rather than weapons.) He also has a problem with melancholy, which means there are a lot of things he shouldn’t review, starting with Queen’s ” ’39 “. (And what does he expect of a man a century out of his own time?) I won’t bother bookmarking him even if he’s upfront about his limitations.

  3. 7 and 17!

    Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

    Hong “Ninefox” Gil-dong had put his life as SpecOps dirtiest dealer behind him and plunged into his dream of being a sushi chef at the most exclusive sushi restaurant on Station Zeta. But when the station is attacked by giant space urchin, he realizes that he must embrace both his old and new skills to triumph over the celestial menace.

  4. Blackout/All Clear
    [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackout/All_Clear#/media/File:Connie_Willis-Blackout_2010.jpg]

    In this tour-de-force of magical realism we are taken inside the minds of inanimate objects during WW2. Kurt is the embodied consciousness of a Junkers Ju 88 multirole combat aircraft. Diana is the genius-loci of Saint Pauls cathedral. Each night of the London Blitz they share stories of their lives via a shared psychic connection.

  5. I do believe Way Station is the sort of novel you give someone who thinks “old time science fiction” is nothing but ray guns and space battles.

    And I agree with Chip Hitchcock’s observations a few comments above. But then I’m prejudiced, having reprinted it – and City – some years ago.

  6. @Stoic Cynic, I was looking at the US cover, which has none of that on it.

    I’m loving this game too, but am also too muddle-headed (pollen) to write anything. The rest of you are top-notch as usual.

    I would read the one about the village lighthouse. But only if she figures it out in one volume, I’m not going for a trilogy. Also +1 internet to Francesca.

  7. “Black Amazon of Mars”: A beautiful redhead starts a lawn care business on Mars. The Martian foliage may be huge and tough, but she and her trusty axe can take out any killer grass! If only she hadn’t been pressured into hiring her unemployed cousin, who’s botanophobic!

    thx to MJW.

  8. A year or so ago Tor.com ran a retrospective review of “Way Station” with the headline, if I recall correctly, “Let’s take a walk and think about aliens.”

    That sort of summed up the book well.

    One thing that struck me when I read it—and I don’t think this is a spoiler—was that at one point the CIA (I think) sent out agents to watch the protagonist’s cabin for weeks. Or maybe months. Aside from the fact that this would have been far outside the Company’s legal purview of not operating in the U.S. (of course the CIA would NEVER have violated the law, hahaha!) the amount of money spent on sending enough agents to spy on a little cabin somewhere in the midwest (or wherever it was) just because someone in D.C. was suspicious seems nowadays a little hard to swallow.

    But still, I enjoyed it. Got to look for “City” at the library.

  9. House of Shattered Wings

    In a world where humans have always flown, the Feathered Throne of Kes has laid unclaimed for almost a century. Now, the former Kingdom is split between those hoping to restore a monarch to the throne, and those defending the New Way – a fledgling system of representative democracy which has given voice to the furthest reaches of the kingdom for the first time.

    As both a Parliamentary Representative and a younger daughter of Hawk House, Lira is no stranger to conflicted loyalties. But when a mysterious accident cripples the leader of her party, she finds herself embroiled in a political conflict which threatens to consume ally and enemy alike…

  10. John M. Cowan: Got to look for “City” at the library.

    Open Road Media has been publishing Simak’s backlist. Because my library has several Simak novels and collections but not that one, I grabbed City on a one-day sale for $1.99 a month ago.

    If you subscribe to Open Road’s Early Bird Mailing list, you get an e-mail with 3 to 5 books on sale (usually for $1.99, occasionally for $2.99), plus a FREE book (which is usually one in the public domain) — with links to several major e-book formats (Kindle, Nook, Google, Apple, Indiebound; Open Road does have numerous works on Kobo, but Simak’s don’t appear to be there).

    I’ve managed to pick up a number of desirable backlist works for $1.99 this way. And the quality of the free public domain works is better than what you will normally get, since they’ve been proofed and have an actual cover added.

  11. Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer:

    It’s goose hunting season in the Voztavoz mountains of the planet Makalak, when the hunters in their suborbital ships tackle gigantic flocks of galactic geese during their annual migration to their winter quarters. One of the hunters is Mycroft who finds himself caught in a desperate struggle for survival, after his ship is struck by lightning during one of the feared thunderstorms of Voztavoz. Can Mycroft make it back to the city, alone and on foot. And will he bring home a goose for the non-denominational (cause religion has been banned) winter holiday dinner?

    Company Town by Madeline Ashby:

    The shocking story of what happens when the letters of the neon sign on top of a derelict factory gain sentience and begin rearranging themselves in what appears to be a monstrous game of scrabble. However, one young woman living in the town at the foot of the factory, known only as Company Town, believes that the sentient letters are really sending a dire warning…

  12. mystery she has to solve is why this small landlocked village needs a lighthouse

    I would read that book.

    An obvious answer is that the llighthouse is an aid to airship navigation.

  13. @Stoic Cynic
    In some cases you CAN tell a book by the title and cover!

  14. https://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic279251.jpg

    All that Gorgo the giant worm-thingy with teeth wanted was a quiet lake-side vacation with a few seagulls to munch on. But when terrifying tiny magicians get rid of all the lake water, he realizes there’s no time to eat seagulls… he’s been trapped in a sand DUNE.

    (ETA: Holy cow can’t believe I was actually the first one to get to DUNE.)

  15. Greg M. on June 19, 2016 at 11:19 pm said:

    https://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic279251.jpg

    All that Gorgo the giant worm-thingy with teeth wanted was a quiet lake-side vacation with a few seagulls to munch on. But when terrifying tiny magicians get rid of all the lake water, he realizes there’s no time to eat seagulls… he’s been trapped in a sand DUNE.

    (ETA: Holy cow can’t believe I was actually the first one to get to DUNE.)

    The rule is you can’t have read the book – so some notable books haven’t been grabbed yet 🙂

  16. Janet Kegan Hellspark

    The Hells Park attractions are more than just thrilling, for they are also deadly.
    The fractal tendrils of The Great Cthulhu Coaster defy both gravity and physics for a ride that is not only unbelievable, but also unsurvivable.
    Patrons vanish into its Fibonacci spirals, never to return, yet whatever rides there, rides alone.
    Before the park can claim another victim, can plucky patent librarian Marian and her client Polly, an inventive mutant parrot and avian engineer, combine their skills to defeat the forces of this faux and fatal amusement park?
    And simple survival is not their only concern: can their budding relationship survive the tension between a paper-shredding nest-builder and a preserver of the written word, or must Polly return to her crackers, and Marion to the management of the school band, never to realize their cross-species, same gender relationship, nor even look one another in the face.
    Armed with only a Swedish hipster pressure cooker and a few scraps of metallic waste, the pair must find a way to both dismantle the patriarchy and speciesist oppression and as well as demolish the botanic/cybernetic eldritch horror that is Hells Park before they themselves fall victim to the fractal foe.

  17. I don’t think anybody has brought this up yet, and given the Simak discussion here, I figured this is a good thread in which to bring it up…

    Some sketchy-sounding dude 😉 named Paul Weimer has an article up at Tor about Simak’s “City” – http://www.tor.com/2016/06/21/of-dogs-and-men-clifford-simaks-city/

    I’m 75% of the way through “Way Station” now, and have realized, now that I’m almost done with my second Simak novel, that I need to go on a Simak binge. Preferably a slow binge. I love the book’s… ambience?

  18. Sketchy-sounding dude? Me? 😉

    I did bring up my post in another scroll, and Mike kindly made it an item on one of the roundups.

    I do think the pastoral ambiance is very much part of the Simak experience.

  19. Man… I’ve been behind on the scrolls lately. I googled ‘Simak “Way Station” site:file770.com’ to find this thread, and checked yesterday’s pixel scroll, but didn’t see it there and figured since it was just published, it must not have been mentioned.

    Anyway, nice article! Simak’s writing is one of the growing list of great things I’ve discovered due to File770’s entrance into my (mostly) daily reading.

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