Pixel Scroll 6/30/16 Here Come Old Pixel, He Come Scrollin’ Up Slowly

(1) DUCK! Science News explains, “Asteroid Day is a chance to learn about space and plan for disaster”.

Asteroid enthusiasts, rejoice! Thursday, June 30 is your day to remind the world that humankind is just one impact with a space rock away from annihilation (or, at the least, a very bad day)….

The date coincides with the anniversary of the most powerful impact in recorded history, when a roughly 40-meter-wide asteroid crashed near Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908….

(2) GIVING ANTIQUITY A CHANCE. In the second installment of Young People Read Old SF, James Davis Nicoll’s recruits share their reactions to A Martian Odyssey.

Stanley G. Weinbaum’s 1934 debut, “A Martian Odyssey,” is the second of the two short stories I have selected to represent the science fiction of the 1930s.

Weinbaum is one of the earliest hard SF writers, someone whose stories were shaped by what was then known (or guessed) of the other worlds of our solar system. Weinbaum’s stories are little known and little read these days, in part because his career was so short: eighteen months from the publication of his first science fiction story to his death.

Jamie, for example, has this to say:

What quaint ideas about “atomic blasts” and the medicinal benefits of hard radiation. Writers of SF in the deep past were much more free to be optimistic about new scientific discoveries. Nowadays every new advance is going to cause at least as many problems as it solves, and the unexpected downsides are what drive the plots. This story is just happy to be exploring a crazy new planet and all it’s crazy improbable life forms, held down by only the lightest of plots. Old fashioned optimism about progress, I suppose

(3) MADE YOU CLICK. Barry Malzberg, in a new Galaxy’s Edge column, says for Judith Merril, “There Is No Defense”. You know, it’s not every day you see someone literally say a woman destroyed sf.

Merril, before she gave up anthologies, criticism, and citizenship to expatriate herself to Canada in 1968, was made desperate by the unending, irretrievable, uncorrectable stupidity and murderousness of Vietnam. She had been on an increasingly evident, now unapologetic campaign to destroy science fiction.

She knew it: the campaign was purposeful. In her story introduction to Bob Shaw’s “Light of Other Days” in her final volume, she conceded that the excellence and rigor of the story called her back to an earlier time when she had been entranced by such work and her own desire to  replicate. But that story introduction was half or three-quarters an apology: its appearance in Best SF, its very quality, were an implicit rebuke to the scattered, unfocused, false literary emptiness which had come to occupy most of the anthology. Meanwhile, she was writing savage reviews in Fantasy& Science Fiction, reviews as savage as those of Alfred Bester’s half a decade earlier which had created a good deal of foul karma and eventually got him fired.

Malzberg argues she was intentionally trying to destroy sf. I read Merril’s anthologies as they came out, and there were so many new and completing voices in the Sixties that it made sf a pretty robust literary form. Pulp writers and experimental New Wave authors were all getting published, which forces me to ask — If sf couldn’t be destroyed by bad writing, how could it be destroyed by good writing?

[Note:  The column about Merril has been pulled back since earlier today. What was posted can still be seen via Google Cache — at least for now.  I subsequently learned this was an effect of an ordinary transition from one online issue to the next. The Merril column is available at The Wayback Machine. So I have linked to that.]

(4) CONVENTION IN LISBON. The Portuguese SF convention Fórum Fantástico will take place in Lisbon from September 23-25 at the Biblioteca Municipal Orlando Ribeiro. Curator Rogerio Ribeiro is organizing the event. No registration needed, no entry fee.

Forum Fantastico

(5) JOE SHERRY. At Nerds of a Feather, Joe Sherry’s analysis of his Hugo ballot moves on to the Best Fanzine category. First place goes to:

Lady Business: Lady Business is smart, incisive, and should be considered a required stop for anyone who wants to read more about genre. It is one of my must read blogs and I don’t have many of those anymore. When I talk about fanzines, this is what I mean. If you’re not too familiar with what Lady Business is all about or where to start, take a look at this post. The editors at Lady Business comment on media, generally SFF media, with “an intersectional feminist perspective”.  Whether they are reviewing books, video games, or recapping Xena: The Warrior Princess, Lady Business is always worth reading and is consistently one of my favorite blogs. You’d think that I would have more to say, but all I want to do is wave my arm, point, and mumble “Lady Business – Awesome – Read” and try not to be awkward about it.

(6) SHORT FICTION NOMINEES. Jonathan Edelstein unpacks his Hugo ballot for novelette and short story.

The two categories are a study in contrasting quality. Despite the second year of Rabid Puppy interference (I still can’t believe I just wrote that), the novelette shortlist is quite credible. Folding Beijing is easily one of the best stories of 2015 and would no doubt have made it onto the ballot without Theodore Beale’s help. And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead belongs on the ballot too – yeah, gratuitous foul language and dated cyberpunk plot, but it’s a hell of a story. Obits isn’t Stephen King’s best work, but even bad King is better than most of what’s out there. Even the two Castalia entries aren’t terrible – What Price Humanity is a tightly written and suspenseful story of war veterans being trained in virtual reality for one last mission, and Flashpoint Titan is no worse than ordinary missile porn. Granted, in a year where the eligible works included Ian McDonald’s Botanica Veneris and Rose Lemberg’s Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds, I’m sorry to see the Castalia stories there instead, but the top of the shortlist is very good indeed and none of it is bad enough to get No Awarded.

The short stories, on the other hand, piss me off.

(7) NOVELLA NOMINEES. Doctor Science’s current post at Obsidian Wings is “Wednesday Reading including Hugo Novella nominees. All re-posts from File 770 comments, but collated.

Penric’s Demon by Lois Bujold. This is another one where the treatment of sexuality confuses me. I think I can say, without major spoilers, that the basic plot is the trope known as “Sharing a Body”, and in this case the body-owner is a young man, while the passenger turns out to be, essentially, n pbafbegvhz bs gjryir jbzra.

Now, I’m used to seeing this trope in fanfiction, where I would expect the story to be heavily focused on issues of sexuality, gender, and the characters’ feelings about bodies. At first I thought Bujold was heading there, but then she sort of veered off to Plot-land, before the POV character had done more than guvax nobhg znfgheongvat. I was left feeling rather wrong-footed, and only sort of interested in the Plot. In sum: for me it was a good enough story, but rather bizarrely incomplete.

(8) GONE VIRAL. Jeremiah Tolbert relives “My Short Time as a Viral Hit Maker”.

On June 23rd, as the results from the British EU Referendum or “Brexit” began to come in, it was clear that the Leave vote was ahead.  Once the lead solidified and the BBC called the result, the Pound Sterling began to tank. The mood on Twitter turned grim.  I had an IM window with Nick Mamatas open at the time.  Sparked by I’m not sure what, I shared the notion that I might Photoshop the big reveal at the end of Planet of the Apes and replace the Statue of Liberty with Big Ben.  Nick said, paraphrasing, “DO IT.”  Not the most original joke I’ve ever come up with, but I’m fairly proficient with photo-editing, so I got to work….

I sent the image over to Nick, and before I could tweet it out myself, he tweeted the image along with credit:

Nick sending it out turned out to be the ticket to success for it, because it spread the image far faster and wider than my own followers list would have. Within seconds, the retweets began.  Early on, Cory Doctorow retweeted it. By the time I went to bed just after midnight, the tweet had over a thousand retweets and showed no sign of slowing down as morning came in the UK….

(9) NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. CNN Money asks “Should robots have to pay taxes?”

If robots are going to steal human jobs and otherwise disrupt society, they should at the very least pay taxes.

That’s the takeaway from a draft report on robotics produced by the European Parliament, which warns that artificial intelligence and increased automation present legal and ethical challenges that could have dire consequences.

“Within the space of a few decades [artificial intelligence] could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity’s capacity to control its own creation and … the survival of the species,” the draft states.

The report offers a series of recommendations to prepare Europe for this advanced breed of robot, which it says now “seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution.”

The proposal suggests that robots should have to register with authorities, and says laws should be written to hold machines liable for damage they cause, such as loss of jobs. Contact between humans and robots should be regulated, with a special emphasis “given to human safety, privacy, integrity, dignity and autonomy.”

(10) MERINGUE PIE MUSEUM. John Kass cuts loose in the Chicago Tribune: “George ‘Star Wars’ Lucas releases the mayor’s mind and not a moment too soon”.

Somehow, the immortal words of little old Yoda finally got through to his creator, George Lucas:

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.

So Lucas let go.

He let go of that ridiculous meringue pie of a museum he wanted to plop on Chicago’s lakefront.

And he let go of the mind of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, so that it was free once more to try running a city that is drowning in red ink and violence.

Unfortunately, Rahm and Lucas didn’t just hush up and go away. Instead, they whined and stamped their feet and complained (in prepared statements) and blamed everything on Friends of the Parks.

But Friends of the Parks did what it’s supposed to do: Stand up for the people of Chicago, to protect the lakefront, because the lakefront doesn’t belong to Hollywood moguls or their political footmen.

I said it a few days ago in the column on Lucas holding Rahm’s mind in thrall with some Jedi trick, and I should say it again.

Rich people have their country clubs and their estates and their private jets to take them away. But the lakefront is the country club for the people. It’s where working people go to take themselves away.

(11) TOFFLER OBIT. “Alvin Toffler, Author of ‘Future Shock,’ Dies at 87”  reports the New York Times.

Mr. Toffler was a self-trained social science scholar and successful freelance magazine writer in the mid-1960s when he decided to spend five years studying the underlying causes of a cultural upheaval that he saw overtaking the United States and other developed countries.

The fruit of his research, “Future Shock” (1970), sold millions of copies and was translated into dozens of languages, catapulting Mr. Toffler to international fame. It is still in print.

In the book, in which he synthesized disparate facts from every corner of the globe, he concluded that the convergence of science, capital and communications was producing such swift change that it was creating an entirely new kind of society.

His predictions about the consequences to culture, the family, government and the economy were remarkably accurate. He foresaw the development of cloning, the popularity and influence of personal computers and the invention of the internet, cable television and telecommuting.

(12) PROPHET OBIT. SF Site News brings word that 1959 Worldcon co-chair Fred Prophet (1929-2016) passed away June 29.

Fred served as the co-chair, with Roger Sims, of the Detention, the 1959 Worldcon in Detroit. He and Roger were appointed Conchairs Emeritus at Detcon1, the 2014 NASFiC, which both men were able to attend. Prior to the Detention, Prophet was active in the Detroit Science Fiction League and Michigan Science Fantasy Society (MISFITS) after attending his first convention,The Eleventh World Science Fiction Convention, in 1953.

(13) MANTEC OBIT. Maurice George Dantec (1959-2016), a French naturalised Canadian science fiction writer and musician, died June 25 in Montreal reports Europa SF.

Dantec’s first novel, La Sirène rouge (“The Red Siren”), was published in 1993 and won the 813 Award for best crime novel. His second novel, Les Racines du mal (“The Roots of Evil”, 1995), had a cyberpunk affinity and was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire and Prix Rosny-aîné.

Dantec’s Babylon Babies was adapted for the screen under the direction of Mathieu Kassovitz as Babylon A.D. (2008), starrring Vin Diesel.



  • June 30, 1905 — Albert Einstein introduced his theory of relativity in his publication, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.
  • June 30, 1974 — The July 4th scene from the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws was filmed at Martha’s Vineyard.

(15) THIS IS MY DUBIOUS LOOK. David Russell Mosley, in “The Magician’s Fairy Godmother: A Follow Up to Are there Elves in C.S. Lewis?”, says the answer is yes.

The other day, I wrote a post attempting to answer the question, “are there elves in the works of C. S. Lewis.” As I noted in the original post, the idea came from a discussion on Facebook where the asker was particularly interested in the elvish absence in the Chronicles of Narnia. Well, two nights ago I was reading The Magician’s Nephew when I came across this passage I had forgotten:

“‘For my [Uncle Andrew] godmother [a certain Mrs. Lefay] was a very remarkable woman. The truth is, she was one of the last mortals in this country who had fairy blood in her. (She said there had been two others in her time. One was a duchess and the other was a charwoman.) In fact, Digory, you are now talking to the last man (possibly) who really had a fairy godmother’” (The Magician’s Nephew, 21).

There it was, an elf (for we should keep in mind that fairy and elf are, linguistically at least, interchangeable), or really three partial elves in the Chronicles of Narnia.

(16) YOU’RE QUITE A CHARACTER. Austin Gilkesen explains “How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book” at The Toast. From a long list of diagnostic tests, here are four examples:

  • A Dark Lord fancies your jewelry.
  • A mountain is out to get you.
  • You had to learn the hard way not to follow the lights in the marsh.
  • Your exhaustive knowledge of whimsical riddles has saved your life on multiple occasions.

(17) FANS WANT TO KNOW. Do the houses in Ilvermorny correspond to those at Hogwarts? J.K. Rowling says no.

“There is no equivalence between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses,” Rowling wrote when a fan asked if Wampus was equivalent to Hogwarts’ Hufflepuff. “But don’t diss Hufflepuff!”

(18) YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. Entertainment Weekly spotted the tweet — “Elizabeth Warren offers to teach at J.K. Rowling’s North American wizarding school”.

(19) FINNCON. Catherynne Valente issued ecstatic tweets about breakfast at a Finnish convention hotel.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Sean Wallace, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JohnFromGR.]

137 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/30/16 Here Come Old Pixel, He Come Scrollin’ Up Slowly

  1. Curses — foiled again! (I was too busy reading Steeplejack, which is getting more worthwhile as it goes.)

    @3: no, you didn’t. I’ve no more interest in reading Malzberg making Puppy-style complaints about “false literary emptiness” than I have in reading a Puppy rave about how they’re nominating quality work in place of SJW correctness. Less, in fact, because the Puppies are at least doing something different from what they criticize; Malzberg sounds like a grade-A hypocrite.
    I’ve dipped into SF12 repeatedly over the years; the suck fairy hasn’t caught up with it yet.

    @19: I’m not surprised; the best breakfast I had in several months of vagabonding around Europe was in a dormitory in Oslo. It may be the same reasoning as Jansson’s Delight/Temptation/Downfall: food that will stick with you, and plenty of it, and good enough that you’ll eat a lot of it.

  2. (3) MADE YOU CLICK.
    “I read Merril’s anthologies as they came out, and there were so many new and completing voices…”

    Competing voices, or were they writers who made you completefinish their stories?

  3. @ Chip Hitchcock:

    @19: I’m not surprised; the best breakfast I had in several months of vagabonding around Europe was in a dormitory in Oslo.

    That seems to be a Scandinavian thing: the most memorable hotel breakfasts Naomi and I had (actually the only memorable hotel breakfasts we had) were in Stockholm and Reykjavik.

  4. (16) YOU’RE QUITE A CHARACTER. Austin Gilkesen explains “How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book” at The Toast. From a long list of diagnostic tests, here are four examples:

    A Dark Lord fancies your jewelry.
    A mountain is out to get you.
    You had to learn the hard way not to follow the lights in the marsh.
    Your exhaustive knowledge of whimsical riddles has saved your life on multiple occasions.

    I’ve annoyed a self-described Dark Lord, I had a bit of an issue with crossing a mountain pass earlier in the year, and I’m sure an exhaustive knowledge of whimsical riddles must have saved my life at some point otherwise why did I bother filling my head with that stuff? Also, giant spiders.

  5. 3) I read the first three paragraphs of the post and I have no idea what Malzberg is talking about, don’t recognize any of the many names he throws about except Bester.

    19) I want blueberry soup.

  6. (3) MADE YOU CLICK.

    Grouchy Old Man Shouts at Clouds containing SF stories newer than 50 years old. News at 11. 🙄

  7. Appropos of nothing in particular, I am celebrating having sent off the manuscript for Mother of Souls to my publisher. This means I’m allowed at least one week of laziness before starting the next writing project. Unfortunately, the week in question is calendared for three years from now

  8. Ticking the good tick.

    Finished Ninefox Gambit last night. Stretched my concentration skills to the limit especially at the start but once you key into it the worldbuilding is just its own level of amazing. The Hexarcate takes some of the elements I liked best about the Traitor Baru Cormorant and Imperial Radch empires but is VERY distinctly its own thing, and the relationship between the main characters is just the right mix of endearing and tense. My only complaint would be that because milSF isn’t my preferred genre, I was left feeling that there would be parts of the world which would be even more interesting to explore; the moments which give us clues as to how civilians relate to the hexarcate were intriguing but few and I hope this comes up more directly in later installments. That said, I’m definitely on board for the rest of the series, even if it’s 100% more disaster guns and mathematical tactics and no scenes of daily life under the high calendar.

    Now trying to line up some more 2016 reading for the next month, starting with the Raven and the Reindeer – I’m about a third of the way through and I’m super annoyed that my ride into work wasn’t delayed this morning so I couldn’t inhale more of it before arriving :/ might have to take a sneakily long lunch break later and read quickly. I’ve got some long flights and leave time coming up soon though so I’m looking forward to taming the rest Kindle sample pile (and definitely not adding two books for every one I read, that would never happen!) and giving some love to the 2016 recommendations list while I’m at it.

  9. (3) – Mike, that link is to a different Malzberg column, about Alfred Bester. I read the whole thing and have no idea what he’s yammering on about in that one, either.

  10. PhilRM: Thanks for the alert. The column about Merril has been pulled back since earlier today. What was posted can still be seen via Google Cache — at least for now. So I have linked to that.

  11. Congratulations, Heather! I’ll be looking forward to it. Your books have done all kinds of great things for my imagination, and sense of cool possibilities in historical fantasy.

  12. re: Malzburg column

    Merril was the kind of liberal who in different circumstances would blame James Baldwin and Cassius Clay for bad manners, for giving their people a bad name.
    I realize I’m tired but I have no idea what the hell this means.

    Some examples of her horribleness would have been helpful to keep this from sounding like sour grapes.

  13. Reading suggestion needed:

    I finished “The Fifth Season” yesterday. Brilliant, but too depressing for me. At least I thought so most of the time… until the last sentence (more precisely: the last word). Then my mouse just slipped over on its own to Amazon to pre-order the sequel.

    Anyway, I need to read something happy / funny / uplifting next. Leckie, Novik and de Castell are left on the Hugo ballot, there is also a huge TBR pile of other things. Any suggestions?

  14. I tried reading (3) but it was kinda gibberish to me. I recognize all the words, but they’re not fitting together.

    ETA: the fact that it was a different column explains a lot. I still don’t find Malzberg terribly readable, though.

    I first became aware of Judith Merrill when I discovered the phenomenal Merrill Collection at the Toronto Public Library (thank you autocorrect for fixing my unfortunate typo of “pubic”!). I read many frail copies of early Hugo nominees there, and was also able to read “Dune World”. So I’m fondly inclined toward Merrill for making that possible.

    It’s July 1 in my time zone, so happy Canada day to any Canuckleheads out there!

  15. GiantPanda: Among those three Hugo nominees, the Leckie book is a drama but with good comic relief characters.

  16. @GiantPanda Neither Uprooted nor Ancillary Mercy are anywhere near as dark as Fifth Season, though they’re serious stories with their share of heavy moments – AM’s stemming from questions of mental health and self-identity, and Uprooted from interactions with the wood and the horrors therein.

    That said, I read Ancillary Mercy back-to-back with the Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (RECOMMEND if you’ve not read already) and both gave me a similar much-needed fix of “fragile people can love and support each other and build community” which could be what you need post-5S. It has a good share of funny/silly moments too, with one character in particular adding a lot of levity, so that would be my recommendation if you want to keep up the Hugo reading.

    Haven’t read de Castell yet so can’t comment on that front.

  17. (3) Da fuq? Well, I guess it’s been a coupla years since Malzberg said something stupid and sexist about a Lady Editrix, so it’s that time again? Hrmph. Merril did damn fine work FOR SF, wanting the field to up its game.

    (18) Adorbs.

  18. CF : I’ve annoyed a self-described Dark Lord,

    Doesn’t count. There’s a huge difference between Darth Vader and Dark Helmet.

  19. I guess I’ll go read that Malzberg essay *sigh*. I’ve been working my way slowly through “The Very Best of Barry N Malzberg” and have been enjoying his creativity, while also being kind of annoyed at some of the more… pretend literary(?) qualities of the writing. It has that experimental-for-experimental’s sake feel that I get sometimes from eg. Dangerous Visions type stuff. I like the sense of humor, though. But ugh, the story I just read felt like a very poor attempt at rewriting Catch 22.

    Reading-wise, I’m in the midst of Hugos stuff, now, though ereaderiq is helping ensure my TBR pile continues growing. I’m also reading the stories the Young People are reading as they come (so far, that’s just the Campbell pre-Thing tale). I read Binti the day before yesterday. Rather enjoyed it. It felt like very old-fashioned SF to me, in that the Sci was pretty much hand-waving, but the story was definitely set in the future, and there was a galactic space culture, and exotic aliens… By “very old-fashioned” I think I mean “the kind of stuff I read when I was very young.”

    I’m working on Penric’s Demon at the moment, and I’m very much digging it, as well. I think maybe, having just read “Seven Kill Tiger” and a couple other puppy plops, I’m just super stoked to be reading stories written by people who can write and is capable of compassion and empathy. Sometimes the pure greedy brutality of the puppy-loved is just too cold and alien for me.

    I’m also still theoretically working on Seveneves, but I think I’m just going to table that, and slowly read it over the course of the next few years. My feelings about Neal Stephenson’s writing are the definition of love/hate. It’s going above No Award, because it’s great, but it’s in fourth place because it’s annoying the living bejesus out of me. I feel like I can believe it deserves a run at a Hugo even without finishing it. It’s not entirely my thing, but it’s very good in its own right.

    tl;dr kathodus is tired and rambling and thinking about getting back to reading Bujold’s “World of Five Gods” series.

  20. Finished of Uprooted and a bit conflicted about it. I like the feeling of horror that appears several times, I’m a bit more irritated about the romance elements that felt pasted into the story. Abg gb gnyx nobhg gur obevat znaqngbel frk fprar. I also felt it lost pace in the middle and stopped reading it for a while.

    But the good parts is really good. On the whole, I would give this a solid four out of five. I would have liked it better when I was younger.

  21. (19) That should be Finncon, not Åcon. Åcon was some weeks ago, and had Zen Cho as the Guest of Honour.

    (I’m on my way to Tammerfors and Finncon right now. Just a few more minutes. before the train arrive. (Yes, the train has wifi too.))

  22. Pain. Can’t sleep.

    @Hampus Eckerman:

    I mostly enjoyed Uprooted, but V sbhaq gur frk fprar xvaqn perrcl. Fur oernxf vagb uvf ybpxrq orqebbz va gur zvqqyr bs gur avtug naq frqhprf uvz. Ur fgnegf gb bowrpg naq vafgrnq bs gnyxvat nobhg vg gurl unir gur frk. V unir qbhogf gung gur eryngvbafuvc jvyy jbex bhg va gur ybat eha vs fur whfg *nurz* evqrf ebhtufubq bire uvf bcvavbaf yvxr gung.

    Some potential Scroll titles:
    The Pixelated Man
    It’s time to meet the Filers on the Pixel Scroll tonight!

  23. Dawn Incognito: Sorry you’ve got such miserable pain, but it isn’t keeping you from devising good Scroll titles.

  24. @Dawn on Uprooted:

    Nterrq – V gubhtug gur ybir fgbel jnf gur yrnfg fngvfslvat nfcrpg bs gur fgbel, orpnhfr juvyr Ntarvfxn arire ranoyrf gur Qentba’f hacyrnfnag, obeqreyvar nohfvir orunivbhe vg’f nyfb arire ERNYYL pbasebagrq orlbaq “bu npghnyyl ur’f avpr gbb, naq gur nohfvir nfcrpgf jrer rvgure zvfthvqrq be qrsrafvir, naq gurl qb tbbq zntvpf gbtrgure naq ner gurersber nggenpgrq gb rnpu bgure naq pbzcngvoyr fb *fueht*”. V’z abg fnlvat ur unf gb or “svkrq” orsber ur pna unir fbzrbar jub ybirf uvz naq gbyrengrf uvf synjf, ohg vg qvq srry gung vg fubhyq unir perngrq zber grafvba va gur fgbel guna vg raqrq hc qbvat.

    Naq lrnu gur frk fprar jnf… abg gur orfg rknzcyr bs pbafrag naq pbzzhavpngvba rire gb pbzr bhg bs yvgrengher. Juvpu vf abg gur jbefg guvat va vgfrys, ohg ernyyl bhg bs cynpr va n eryngvbafuvc jr’er fhccbfrq gb ernq nf rffragvnyyl urnygul naq fhfgnvanoyr sbe nyy vaibyirq…

    (ETA: giggles like a schoolchild at the particular English word that translates to “frk” in ROT13)

  25. You do have to wonder about the relevance of Malzberg putting the boot into Merrill almost twenty years after she could retort: why now? Why at all? But then Malzberg is very much somebody we Dutch call a vinegar pisser, somebody who can only complain and never contributes anything positive, which seems to be the case for his career since 1973 or so.

  26. Some more song title inspired titles:

    Scroll On You Crazy Pixel
    It’s Been a Hive’s Scroll Night
    Pixscroll Wizard
    I Was Made For Scrolling You

  27. @Mike Glyer:

    Why thank you! When I can’t sleep my brain runs around getting fixated on various things. I decided that, rather than getting angry at my pillow, I should really share “Scrollamagoosa” before it was lost in the light of day.

    Now the painkillers have had some time to take effect. Sleep attempt 2: Electric Boogaloo.

  28. The pixel at the end of the scroll

    It is one thing to read about pixels and another to scroll them

    To light a pixel is to cast a scroll

  29. IanP: I Was Made For Scrolling You

    As an avid Kiss fan, I must add:
    Pixel’s on Fire
    Scroll It Out Loud
    Scroll It Up
    Calling Dr. Scroll

    and my favorite:
    Let’s Put the “X” in Pix(el)

  30. @Heather Rose Jones: congrats! And I sympathise with your situation. My last “holiday” saw me working only half days (with a 70 hour week of prep beforehand to make sure everything ran smoothly!) In a year’s time, my plan is to be able to sell these businesses and “retire” to do my MA and possibly PhD – I’m not sure this will actually be less stressful than work but at least I’ll be studying something I enjoy.

  31. 3: A. the post was pulled back, and we don’t yet know why – could have been a draft accidentally published, could have been editorial decision, could have been any number of reasons including “that’s not what I really meant to say.

    B. I have a great deal of respect for Barry (warts and all – everyone makes mistakes and many of us are subject to holding on to old world views of things even despite evidence to the contrary); read Engines of the Night and dig into it, you will find many things possibly unpleasant to contemplate, but never anything that isn’t supported by fact and an unflinching willingness to hone in on reality.

    C. I think the central point of the piece – pulled back or not – was not necessarily his critique of Merrill’s motives, but the statement that the genre must remain a “ghetto” (sorry to those folks for whom that word has other meanings) and can not/should not seek mainstream approval.

    D. Barry it seems, often delivers his observations in an unpleasant manner, but there is (IMO) always a kernal of something worthwhile to contemplate in them.

  32. 3:
    A. The original post on Merril has vanished because it was Malzberg’s May/June Galaxy’s Edge column. It’s now been replaced by the July/Aug column. No Stalinist revision, or editorial second thoughts. There is no online archive (except archive.org). If you want to read old columns you have to buy back issues.

    C. Malzberg’s argument is that sf has virtues of its own, often accessing social and emotional insights into contemporary life that even the avant-garde fail to achieve – comparing Bester, Leiber and Sturgeon to their benefit to the Beatniks and contemporary writers for Partisan, Kenyon, Hudson and New American Reviews. He’s no puppy advocating for retro Campbells and Heinleins. But pandering for literary respectability is a kind of death for sf, distracting ti from its strengths, and that’s what Malzberg interprets Merril as doing.
    Rereading a mass of interviews and non-fiction by Phil Klass/William Tenn its obvious that he made the same arguments in the early 60s even as it was happening, falling out with Merril and the Milford group, which is one of the contributing factors to his decades-long absence from sf.

    If you don’t like this essay by Malzberg, then you really wouldn’t want to have read his one from last year about Alice Sheldon’s murder/suicide

  33. (9) annoys the hell out of me; painting this as “robots should pay taxes” is a ridiculous mis-framing of the issue.

    First of all, obviously, it’s not the robots paying taxes, it’s the companies producing and operating them. If I’m looking at the right report, the quote is:

    Bearing in mind the effects that the development and deployment of robotics and AI might have on employment and, consequently, on the viability of the social security systems of the Member States, consideration should be given to the possible need to introduce corporate reporting requirements on the extent and proportion of the contribution of robotics and AI to the economic results of a company for the purpose of taxation and social security contributions

    But even that… I mean, holy hell. The issue at hand is “Is the number of jobs for which humans are necessary going to sink way, way, beneath the number of humans seeking jobs.”
    What kind of tax are you going to need to offset that?

    The focus on “robots” is likewise stupid (I’m speaking about the CNN article, not about the original report, which I haven’t read beyond looking for that one quote). The problem isn’t “robots,” as though each human job is going to be replaced with one of C-3PO’s siblings. It’s automation, which can take a million different forms, and be incredibly hard to pin down to any one originator who bears responsibility.

    Talking about jobs being taken by “robots” who can be “taxed” and “registered” is just horribly misleading. Are you going to tax and register Google and Wikipedia, for harming job opportunities for librarians and encyclopaedists? But then, they weren’t first; are you going to tax and register Bing, Yahoo, and Microsoft Encarta?

    These are entirely the wrong terms. Stupid, stupid pop science reporters.

  34. For those interested in reading Merril’s reviews, check out The Merril Theory of Lit’ry Criticism, recently published by Aqueduct Press. It reprints her F&SF columns 1965-1969 and excerpts her introductory comments from the various Best of the Year collections. The late 60s were my prime reading introduction to sf and re-reading those columns were more than an exercise in nostalgia, reminding me of the many great books and authors of the day. Merril was occasionally off-base (in retrospect) with her criticism, but always interesting and obviously passionate in her love for sf.

  35. Finished The Builders, and still don’t like it. Making the characters animals seems pointless, all characters seem to be unpleasant and don’t even like each other, and their quest is not something to identify with either.

    Perfect State appears to be more enjoyable so far, though.

  36. Remember CapHydra? Well, a quick check of the Marvel Wiki revealed that the most popular fan theory was right–the living Cosmic Cube from Avengers: Standoff rewrote Steve Rogers’ past when it restored his youth. I didn’t like this plot and I am a DC person myself so I won’t be following CapHydra, but there you go.

  37. 3) Destroyed SF, huh? When I’m asked for a short list of books that shaped me, her seventh best of anthology is on the list. It’s an amazing collection.

    So I’ll read his column. And I have a Sarah Hoyt book I need to get read, too.

  38. (3) MADE YOU CLICK. The column does seem to not be a new one. It’s on archive.org for May 8th so it probably did just disappear as it was superseded.

    From the archive link, which should be persistent, you can move back and forth to the column in other issues.

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