Pixel Scroll 6/5/17 Don’t Scroll Until You See the Whites Of Their Pixels

(1) WISDOM. Bob Dylan’s Nobel Lecture has been posted online.

By listening to all the early folk artists and singing the songs yourself, you pick up the vernacular. You internalize it. You sing it in the ragtime blues, work songs, Georgia sea shanties, Appalachian ballads and cowboy songs. You hear all the finer points, and you learn the details.

You know what it’s all about. Takin’ the pistol out and puttin’ it back in your pocket. Whippin’ your way through traffic, talkin’ in the dark. You know that Stagger Lee was a bad man and that Frankie was a good girl. You know that Washington is a bourgeois town and you’ve heard the deep-pitched voice of John the Revelator and you saw the Titanic sink in a boggy creek. And you’re pals with the wild Irish rover and the wild colonial boy. You heard the muffled drums and the fifes that played lowly. You’ve seen the lusty Lord Donald stick a knife in his wife, and a lot of your comrades have been wrapped in white linen.

I had all the vernacular all down. I knew the rhetoric. None of it went over my head — the devices, the techniques, the secrets, the mysteries — and I knew all the deserted roads that it traveled on, too. I could make it all connect and move with the current of the day. When I started writing my own songs, the folk lingo was the only vocabulary that I knew, and I used it.

(2) TO THE MOON, ALICE. Chuck Wendig couldn’t just review the movie — “Greetings From The Eunuch Moon Colony #457!”

On the first day, I’d heard some rumblings about how the film was doing very well in the box office, perhaps even setting records as a film directed by a woman — strange to think how that was once unusual! — and I’d also heard that there were a handful of “women-only” screenings happening, and that some men were noticeably upset about being excluded. What I didn’t know was what happened during those screenings. They were the start of it. The beginnings of the rebellion. A fast-growing fire….

That was it. That was how it began. Bloody and brutal. Turns out, there was a Special Edition Wonder Woman film. One we men did not get to see. One that indoctrinated the women and the girls, one by one, in the ways of Matriarchy. That was the start of the Lady’s Laws. They spliced in iPhone footage from those initial women-only screenings: the male organs bouncing around, the blood, the chanting, the Vagenda of Manocide laid bare for all to see. It was brainwashing, pure and simple. I’m with her, they said again and again. A mantra. Pointing to the woman on the screen. Wonder Woman. An Amazon. A goddess made of clay killing all the men.

It wasn’t long before the women had taken over. It was only two years later I found myself on a shuttle bound for the moon. To one of the expansionist eunuch colonies. I expected that you’d need us for breeding — not you personally, of course, but the Greater General Lady-You — but turns out, with genetic manipulation, we aren’t needed for much at all.

(3) TOO MUCH GAS. The Center for Planetary Science offers an explanation for “The ‘Wow!’ Signal”.

ABSTRACT

In 2016, the Center for Planetary Science proposed a hypothesis arguing a comet and/or its hydrogen cloud were a strong candidate for the source of the “Wow!” Signal. From 27 November 2016 to 24 February 2017, the Center for Planetary Science conducted 200 observations in the radio spectrum to validate the hypothesis. The investigation discovered that comet 266/P Christensen emitted a radio signal at 1420.25 MHz. All radio emissions detected were within 1° (60 arcminutes) of the known celestial coordinates of the comet as it transited the neighborhood of the “Wow!” Signal. During observations of the comet, a series of experiments determined that known celestial sources at 1420 MHz (i.e., pulsars and/or active galactic nuclei) were not within 15° of comet 266/P Christensen. To dismiss the source of the signal as emission from comet 266/P Christensen, the position of the 10-meter radio telescope was moved 1° (60 arcminutes) away from comet 266/P Christensen. During this experiment, the 1420.25 MHz signal disappeared. When the radio telescope was repositioned back to comet 266/P Christensen, a radio signal at 1420.25 MHz reappeared. Furthermore, to determine if comets other than comet 266/P Christensen emit a radio signal at 1420 MHz, we observed three comets that were selected randomly from the JPL Small Bodies database: P/2013 EW90 (Tenagra), P/2016 J1-A (PANSTARRS), and 237P/LINEAR. During observations of these comets, we detected a radio signal at 1420 MHz. The results of this investigation, therefore, conclude that cometary spectra are detectable at 1420 MHz and, more importantly, that the 1977 “Wow!” Signal was a natural phenomenon from a Solar System body.

(4) A BAD DAY FOR DINO SCI-FI. While astronomers were eliminating the Wow from that space signal, other researchers were taking the mick out of some exciting fossils: “Scientists just destroyed our dreams of a real Jurassic Park”.

Jurassic Park — you know, that silly little novel-turned-movie about mankind bringing dinosaurs back from the dead that made a measly $1 billion — is science fiction, but could it ever actually happen? Researchers studying the remains of one special Tyrannosaurus rex thought it just might be when they discovered what they thought was intact proteins deep within the dinosaur’s fossilized bones. Now, new research has absolutely destroyed the already hazy dream that dinosaurs could one day be resurrected.

When first announced, the discovery of these proteins proved a very exciting event for many paleontologists and scientists. It was the first time that such a discovery had been made, and seemed to fly in the face of the accepted belief that dinosaur fossils simply couldn’t provide the DNA data that would be needed to even begin the process of resurrecting such long-extinct animals. Unfortunately, there was apparently no reason to be excited in the first place, because the proteins detected by lab analysis weren’t even that of a dinosaur.

(5) SALLIS OBIT. Actor Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace of Wallace & Gromit, has died at 96.

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park led tributes to Sallis, describing him as a “unique character”.

“I’m so sad, but feel so grateful and privileged to have known and worked with Peter over so many years. He was always my first and only choice for Wallace,” Park said in a statement.

(6) HE’S BACK. John Crowley (Little, Big) has a new publication from PM Press — Totalitopia.

John Crowley

John Crowley’s all-new essay “Totalitopia” is a wry how-to guide for building utopias out of the leftovers of modern science fiction. “This Is Our Town,” written especially for this volume, is a warm, witty, and wonderfully moving story about angels, cousins, and natural disasters based on a parochial school third-grade reader. One of Crowley’s hard-to-find masterpieces, “Gone” is a Kafkaesque science fiction adventure about an alien invasion that includes door-to-door leafleting and yard work. Perhaps the most entertaining of Crowley’s “Easy Chair” columns in Harper’s, “Everything That Rises” explores the fractal interface between Russian spiritualism and quantum singularities—-with a nod to both Columbus and Flannery O’Connor. “And Go Like This” creeps in from Datlow’s Year’s Best, the Wild Turkey of horror anthologies.

Plus: There’s a bibliography, an author bio, and of course our Outspoken Interview, the usual cage fight between candor and common sense.

(7) SUPER SHOWCASE. Some of the best sff author around are contributors to —

Behind the Mask: An Anthology of Heroic Proportions
Editors: Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson
Released May 12th, 2017

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others.

It is partially a prose nod to the comic world: the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

The authors in this collection, both established and new, are all dexterous and wonderfully imaginative, each deserving of their own form-fitting uniforms and capes.

Some of the stories pulse with social commentary, like Cat Rambo’s whimsical and deft “Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut” and Keith Rosson’s haunting “Torch Songs.”

Others twist the genre into strange and new territories, like Stuart Suffel’s atmospheric “Birthright,” Kate Marhsall’s moving “Destroy the City with Me Tonight,” and Adam Shannon’s reality-bending “Over an Embattled City.”

Some punch with heart and humor, like Matt Mikalatos’s satisfying “The Beard of Truth” and Chris Large’s adventurous “Salt City Blue,” while others punch with bite and grit, such as Michael Milne’s evocative “Inheritance,” Aimee Ogden’s poignant “As I Fall Asleep,” and Jennifer Pullen’s heartfelt “Meeting Someone in the 22nd Century.”

Some of the stories feature characters who might not be superheroes in the traditional sense, yet are heroic nonetheless, such as Sarah Pinsker’s imaginative “The Smoke Means It’s Working” and Stephanie Lai’s majestic “The Fall of the Jade Sword.”

Some shine a unique, captivating spotlight on supervillains, like Keith Frady’s dramatic “Fool” and Carrie Vaughn’s romantic “Origin Story.”

Some are somber, ponderous works, where our heroes consider their impact on the world, like Lavie Tidhar’s regret-tinged “Heroes” and Nathan Crowder’s resonant “Madjack.” Others tread more light-hearted waters, with heroes adjusting to the sometimes-comical, sometimes-stressful life in the public eye, like Seanan McGuire’s entertaining “Pedestal” and Patrick Flanagan’s lively “Quintessential Justice.”

And then there are the softer, quieter moments between heroes, as they navigate their extraordinary lives in their own unique ways, such as Ziggy Schutz’s tender “Eggshells” and, of course, Kelly Link’s captivating “Origin Story.”

(8) ROGUE REVIEWER. Aaron Pound at Dreaming of Other Worlds discusses a Hugo finalist “Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

Short review: A convoluted plot sends Jyn Erso to Scarif with a band of ruffians where they set about stealing the plans for the Death Star and kick off the plot of the original Star Wars movie from 1977.

Haiku
Her father taken
A secret design flaw
Desperate mission

(9) LANDMARK NOT DEAD YET. The LAist says “Rejoice, West Hollywood’s Historic Formosa Cafe Plans To Reopen”.

Is West Hollywood’s iconic Formosa Cafe coming back to life? Sure seems that way. In an interview with Los Angeles Magazine, Bobby Green, Dimitri Komarov, and Dima Liberman of 1933 Group (who restored the Highland Park Bowl and The Idle Hour, among other establishments) revealed that they have signed a long-term lease with the property’s owners and will restore the Formosa to its former glory. “We’re gonna put it all back,” Green told LA Mag. “Vince [Jung, the previous, long-time owner/operator] has everything in storage: All the autographed photos, all the Elvis decanters, the lucky Buddha. He’s got everything.”

(10) TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. In 1962, not all customers are satisfied. Galactic Journey takes readers “[June 5, 1962] Into the Sunset (the End of The Twilight Zone, Season 3)”.

You hear that? That’s the last school bell ringing, signifying the end of the school year. That means the beginning of summer break, and with it the end of another season of The Twilight Zone. However, unlike the previous seasons of The Twilight Zone, I hear this may be the last. I am both sad, and a bit relieved. I have very much enjoyed reviewing this series with my father, and I am very sad to see it go. However, I believe it’s also time for it to go. It had a very good first season, and progressively got worse over time as Serling strained for more ideas. It was obvious that by the end, Serling was out of inspiration. Still, rather than focus on all the many mediocre episodes, I’d like to go back and appreciate the really stand-out episodes of The Twilight Zone.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, and Camestros Felapton for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]

62 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/5/17 Don’t Scroll Until You See the Whites Of Their Pixels

  1. Anyone going to NASFIC may want to familiarize themselves with this situation. No riots, no violence, but it appears that the Puerto Rican university system has been hit with a nearly-50% budget cut, and the students and faculty are Not Happy. The topic may come up in casual discussions from time to time, and it will look better if you’ve at least heard about it.

  2. “The Refrigerator Monologues” by Cat Valente

    I owe someone here a review of that and brain-rot keeps me from remembering to ask who when the opportunity presents itself. Memory, f*ing lack of it.

  3. Jack of Shadows might be my second-favorite work of Zelazny’s, behind Lord of Light, and I recently despaired of being able to get a cheap well formatted ebook of it and I scanned my copy. I can’t remember if I actually finished fixing the formatting, but for 90 cents (after price matching Amazon at Kobo), I think I’ll pick it up instead.

  4. Does Palmer ever quit apologizing for trying to confuse us about people’s genders? I’m getting to the point of I’m past chapter 25 and it still seems like every other page has Mycroft yet again apologizing for being inconsistent about gender notation, and, oh yes, by the way, some of these people are definitely not physically the gender that he’s using to refer to them and he’ll no doubt use an alternate gender if he thinks it’s appropriate later. I, of course, am assuming that Mycroft is male because the name is currently used by the male gender, but I have been glossing over all the gender identity stuff so much that Mycroft could have started talking about having her period start and I would miss it.

  5. Bruce Arthurs: how did I manage to read twice as many books back when I was half as old? Fewer commitments, faster brain, fewer this-is-like-soandso-did-30-years-ago distractions? (I was reading a dozen books a week through high school, but school wasn’t challenging and I was in a small-and-remote town (by the standards of someone who’d spent 13 years growing up a few miles outside Washington DC), so was BOREDBOREDBORED.)

    @P J Evans: did Kelly really say “blunked”, or just one of his malapropistic characters? I’d buy “blunk” as the past participle (cf needing 4 hice to get a hotel in Monopoly), but not “blunked”.

    @lurkertype: Maybe “cheap” is the word you’re looking for? The covers are at least relevant to the contents, just much less detailed than a lot of us expect.

    David H.: “Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.” And I thought Hyperion sucked even before it quadrupled in length, but I remember a lot of people used to squee over Simmons before he started talking (in person, not books) like an alt-righter.

    @Lee: Is anyone going to NASFI(C)C? I’ve heard something about insignificant numbers of registrations — and I haven’t heard anything like publicity. (Don’t remember them appearing at either Boston convention, but I was out of it for both of those.)

  6. Chip Hitchcock on June 6, 2017 at 8:14 pm said:
    Yep. It’s even in Wikipedia, in their article on Pogo, in the paragraph on Beauregard Bugleboy. (I seem to recall there was some discussion at one point, about what happens if they can’t get their eyes un-blunked.)

    (I believe that “blunked” is the past tense of “blank”. But it’s Pogo…)

  7. @ Chip: Fewer commitments and NO INTERNET. Every minute I spend online is competition for my reading time.

    Re NASFIC — well, I’m going, but so far I haven’t heard anyone else say they were. And scanning their membership list shows a lot of names that I know very well are going to Helsinki, and who probably only have supporting memberships because they voted in the site selection.

    I was thinking just today that I wonder how many people there I’ll actually know. But if not, hey, that’s an opportunity to meet new people!

    Sadly, I’m going to miss the Arecibo field trip, which was the main thing that actually made me decide to go. But they’re doing it on Thursday morning, and my flight doesn’t get in until Thursday afternoon, and changing it isn’t an option 🙁

  8. @Lee: ah yes, teh interwebs. I was an early addict, having to go cold-turkey twice on Usenet over 30 years ago; at one point it got so bad I was taking printouts to change-ringing practice to read while I was swapped out. (There were some very … advanced … ringers.) And now there’s the version of Solitaire that can be backed up and retried with different choices, and my TBR shelf is at least 40 feet long; I sometimes wonder how I managed to have a career.

  9. @lurkertype: Those covers are unusual, but I kinda like them. Hey, at least they’re different from each other, unlike when Del Rey (same publisher) made new covers for the original “Thomas Covenant” series – identical covers except for coloring (just the iconic white gold ring), which were rather yawn-inspiring.

    @Lee & @Chip Hitchcock: We were going to go to NASFIC, but unfortunately realized it’s just not a great idea, given the length, expense, and proximity of our Worldcon trip. ;-( But NASFIC feels like it’s so close, it’s a shame we’ll miss it. Plus, we’ve never been to Puerto Rico before.

  10. >(I believe that “blunked” is the past tense of “blank”.

    Well no. anything-ed === “did anything” (that is wher the “ed” suffix came from).

    Only for “weak verbs” (aka modern verbs).

    Strong verbs (aka “archaic stuff”) use vowel mutation ***and not appending “did”*** to indicate past tense i.e. “did” idea.

    Thus swim-swam-swum (strong verb).
    Thus play-“did play” aka “played” (weak verb).

    So “blunked” can only be the past tense of the present tense verb “blunk”. Which does not exist outside of a typo.

    If “blank” were a strong verb, “blunk” would be a perfectly cromulent past tense though.

    I have been known to “strengthen” weak verbs by making the past tense appropriately, e.g. “sync” past tense “sunc” (not “synced”). So far without success (in getting anyone else to acquiesce!). But one needs a hobby.

    Grammar pedant bedtime now.

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