Pixel Scroll 6/6/16 You Don’t Send Me Pixels Anymore

(1) MIDWIVES OF THE CURSED CHILD. In “Why J.K. Rowling Endorsed ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ for the Stage” the New York Times presents edited excerpts from a conversation between Colin Callender and Sonia Friedman, producers; Jack Thorne, the playwright; John Tiffany, director; Jamie Parker, who plays Harry; and Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione – in which they spoke “about everything but the plot.”

You both share story credit with J. K. Rowling. How did it work having three writers in the mix?

John Tiffany Jo Rowling was incredibly generous. I met her first, and I already had a soft spot for her because she used to write in the cafe of the Traverse Theater in Edinburgh when I was the director. It was only after the first book came out that I realized it had been her, nursing one cappuccino for four hours. When we met to talk about the play, she asked, “What do you think the Harry Potter stories are about?” I said, “Learning to deal with death and grief.” There was something in her eye — I thought, we didn’t say it’s about transformation or magic or flying on brooms, and we’re on the right track.

Thorne We all met in Edinburgh and as the day developed, we knew we would take the epilogue of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as a starting point.

Tiffany All the seeds are there; we start with that scene in the train station. Am I allowed to say that? Anyway, it was clear that she was going to let us take those characters and have our own ideas.

Callender Of course, Jack came to the table with an encyclopedic knowledge of Harry, so that helped.

Thorne All right, I’m a nerd. With abandonment issues.

(2) YOUR NAME HERE. Cat Rambo tells how to win a Tuckerization in one of her stories.

This month my newsletter subscribers and Patreon supporters have a chance to win a Tuckerization in one of my stories. It’s not too late to get next week’s newsletter with details about how you can enter.

If you haven’t heard of a Tuckerization, that means you supply the name of one of the characters for a story – you may want to name them after yourself, a friend, or someone else you want to pay tribute to. I will offer you your choice of three possible genres, and do reserve the right to reject names that will not work with the story. In such cases I will work with you to find an acceptable name.

(3) SARKEESIAN. “Lingerie Is Not Armor” on Feminist Frequency, a video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian.

The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects.

Click here for the full transcript, links and resources for the episode.

(4) BEWARE SPOILERS. The latest installment of Slate’s series about the nastiest folk in Game of Thrones “This Week’s Worst Person in Westeros: The High Sparrow”.

After each episode in Game of Thrones Season 6, we’ll be answering a crucial question: Who is currently the worst person in Westeros? This week, technology and culture writer Jacob Brogan is joined by Slate pop critic Jack Hamilton.

Brogan: Hi, Jack. Thanks for joining me to talk about “The Broken Man.” Last week, Dan Kois and I declared the waif the worst, with Dan going so far as to claim that she is, in fact, the worst person “in all episodes in which she appears.” While that’s a bold statement on a show that includes the (still mercifully absent) Ramsay Bolton, this episode went a long way toward proving Dan right. She shows up briefly, using mere seconds of screen time to repeatedly stab Arya in the stomach. While I have little doubt that the girl-formerly-known-as-the-girl-with-no-name will survive, I’m mostly looking forward to her doing a little stabbing of her own at this point.

(5) WORLDBUILDERS. The charitable fundraiser Geeks Doing Good 2016 is in full swing.


Worldbuilders was founded in 2008 by New York Times bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss to bring the geek community together to make the world a better place. We work hard to raise money for reputable charities while giving back to the community who supports us with things like giveaways, auctions, and our online store.

To date, Worldbuilders has raised just shy of $5 million for charities like First Book, Mercy Corps, and Heifer International, and this year, we’re continuing  to expand our fundraising efforts.

In addition to our annual end-of-the-year fundraiser, we have another tradition: the week-long Geeks Doing Good summer campaign. This is different from our usual lottery and auction set up, where you might win fabulous prizes, or you pay top-dollar at auction for something rare or limited. Instead, for this summer fundraiser, we’ve taken the chance out of it.

When you donate during this Geeks Doing Good campaign, you are guaranteed to get the advertised reward. They’re affordable, they’re cool, and there’s no guesswork. You pledge at the soap level, you will get a bar of beautiful, handmade soap. Wha-BOOM! Hit in the face with Awesome!


(6) SHE REALLY DUG DINOSAURS. “Unearthing History: Mary Anning’s Hunt for Prehistoric Ocean Giants” from the Smithsonian Libraries Unbound blog.

You may not have realized it, but you’ve been acquainted with Mary Anning since you were young. “She sells sea shells by the sea shore.” Remember this grade school tongue-twister? What you probably didn’t know is that this nursery rhyme is based on a real person who not only sold seaside curiosities by the seashore, but became world renowned for her fossil discoveries.

(7) LEGACY. Steve Vertlieb invites people to enjoy his post “Careening Spaceships & Thundering Hooves’ … Children’s Television in the 1950s & The Legacy of Buster Crabbe”: “Here’s my affectionate remembrance of children’s television during the comparative innocence of the 1950’s, the early days of televised science fiction and cowboys upon a deeply impressionable young boy, and the towering influence of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and Captain Gallant Of The Foreign Legion, all of whom both looked and sounded like the personification of celluloid heroism…Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe.”

When I was a little kid, prior to the Civil War, I had an imagination as fertile and as wide as my large brown eyes, dreamily filled with awe and wonder.  My dad brought home our first television set in 1950.  It was an old RCA Victor TV with a screen not much bigger than my youthful head, but I was glued to its black and white imagery like flies on butter.  I was but four years old. In those early days of television, programming didn’t even begin until late afternoon or the dinner hour, but I would sit in front of the little brown box staring longingly at the Indian head portrait frozen in Cathode promise.

(8) QUINNFUNDING. Jameson Quinn’s YouCaring appeal to fund his trip to MidAmerCon II has raised $580 of its $1400 goal at this writing.

For the past two years, a minority of slate nominators have managed to pick a majority of the Hugo finalists. Last year, I helped propose an improvement to the voting system, E Pluribus Hugo (EPH). I raised funds to attend Sasquan, and I was there to help explain the proposal, which passed the Business Meeting by a 3:1 margin after extensive debate; if we ratify it this year, we can start using it next year.

This year, my coauthor Bruce Schneier and I were given access to last year’s nomination data in order to see how EPH would have worked. We found that it would have helped significantly, ensuring that at least one nominee in each category was slate-free. But we also found that there would still have been several categories without a choice between two or more slate-free nominees.

There are several ways we could deal with this. We could use just EPH, and live with the possibility of only one slate-free nominee per category; we could strengthen slightly it using a proposal called EPH+, which would tend to raise that number to two; we could pass a proposal called 3SV, to allow voters to disqualify disruptive slate nominees before they become finalists; and there are other, related, proposals that have been floated. I believe that there will be at least two new proposals on the table this year, and I think that, as with last year, my voting systems expertise could be valuable in helping the Business Meeting understand the implications of these options and decide what to do.

So, again, I’m raising funds to go to Worldcon this year (MAC II). I’m also hoping to raise extra money for The Center for Election Science, an incorporated charitable organization which supports reforming election systems more generally. (I’m a board member for the CES, and of course I feel that we do good, important work.)

(9) ART SHOW There’s been some discussion of Arisia 2017’s art show space and pricing policies.

Applications for space in the 2017 art show are now open.

New for Arisia 2017, we will be allocating space by lottery. More information is available on the reservations page.

Unlike most other science fiction convention art shows, sales at Arisia 2017 will be at fixed price only.

Since I don’t know the answer I thought I’d throw open the question – are these policies unusual, or increasingly common?

(10) TENTACLE TIME. Gamespot’s introduction to a new Independence Day TV commercial points out a fresh alien image:

It might have taken twenty years, but the sequel to ’90s blockbuster Independence Day finally hits cinemas in a few weeks. Independence Day: Resurgence sees the human race once again forced to defend itself against extra-terrestrial invaders, and the latest TV spot provides a first look at the aliens’ queen.


(11) TART SENTIMENTS. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dead Horses is keeping an eye on Indiana Jim.

(12) THE LUCHA LIBRE APPROACH TO SCHOLARSHIP. “Mexican ‘Spider-Man’ weaves web of knowledge for science students” – Reuters has the story.

A Mexican science teacher has come up with a novel way to get his students’ attention – giving lessons dressed as Spider-Man.

Moises Vazquez, 26, said he was inspired to pull on the tight blue and red suit of the superhero after reading in comics that the Marvel character behind the mask, Peter Parker, worked as a science teacher after his time as a freelance photographer.

“I do the same job as anyone else, I don’t think it’s the best class in the world just because I put on a suit. But I assure you I want to be the most honest and dedicated there is, I just want to make the classroom a better place,” he said…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Dave Doering, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John M. Cowan.]

142 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/6/16 You Don’t Send Me Pixels Anymore

  1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the pixels were scrolling thirteen.

  2. As I’m currently watching through The Clone Wars:

    If you scroll me down, I shall become more pixelated than you can possibly imagine.

    It even makes sense somehow =)

  3. Darren Garrison: I’m not usually blessed by this degree of innocence. I don’t plan to look up the reference either. 🙂

  4. Apropos of nothing in this thread (yet 🙂 ), and with apologies to Johnny Mandel, Mike Altman, the cast of MASH, and various posters toasting world peace:

    Through early morning fog I see
    Another troll post on the screen
    Their words that are meant to rile me
    I realize and I can see

    That scrolling past is painless
    It brings on many changes
    And I can take or leave it
    If I please

    Games of trolls are a loss to play
    Not gonna feed it today
    That losing card I’ll some day lay
    But right now though I have to say

    That scrolling past is painless
    It brings on many changes
    And I can take or leave it
    If I please

    Their words are time we’ll not see again
    It doesn’t hurt when it begins
    But engage and get all drawn in
    The loss grows stronger, watch it grin

    Scrolling past is painless
    It brings on many changes
    And I can take or leave it
    If I please

    Sea Lions once demanded me
    To answer questions they thought key
    Is it to be, or not to be?
    And I replied, oh why ask me?

    Scrolling past is painless
    It brings on many changes
    And I can take or leave it
    If I please

    And you can do the same thing
    If you please

  5. Pixel, pixel, little scroll
    How I wonder why they troll
    All around the File they lie
    Like a (space-inappropriate, breakable, air-filter-clogging) tea set in the sky. . .

  6. Looks like it’s pixels all the way down today….

    @Sunhawk: yes.

  7. @Chip – thank you! As someone who has been in a number of art shows in the past and never had one of my works get enough bids to make it to the silent auction, my thought is maybe having works get more than one bid is something that’s become less common so they decided to just not do a whole auction for a handful of artworks? Probably says more about the number of people and the size of the cons themselves than about the artwork itself, that the con goers feel less inclined or able to come back on Sunday to make sure they get that one artwork they liked.

  8. My name is Pixelmandius, Scroll of Scrolls
    Look on my works, you mighty, and despair.

  9. This is off topic, but I’m asking because a number of SFWA members post here:

    I’ve become eligible to join, and I’d like to hear what experiences others have had with the organization. Voting for the Nebulas is nice, but in practice, does membership provide notification of markets, anything to help improve one’s craft, or other professional benefits that a short fiction writer would find useful? Are there good reasons to join or not to join?

    If I’m missing an obvious place to find all this – not SFWA promotional materials, but discussion of the pros and cons by actual members – then I apologize for wasting everyone’s time and would be grateful for a link.

  10. The 770ers will all be there / Late of Pixel Scroll’s fair, what a scene

  11. I do not think this counts as science fiction but it does as fantasy and horror. I give you Earthquake Bed.

    There are a bunch more of these on youtube from the same company. I like the drive-thru supermarket and the super drone one as well.

  12. And the scrolls who spurred us on
    Sit in judgement of all wrong
    They decide and the pixel sings the song

    (omg this is my first one ever, am I doing this right??)

  13. @Sunhawk


    Um you know I never asked if there was a right or wrong way myself. This is going to be embarrassing if someone suddenly says there’s rules 🙂

  14. Today’s Read — Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold

    This was … a nice book. I mean, it was cool to hang out with Cordelia again some. And the subject matter, moving on with life after a major chapter of it has ended, was a good one.

    … That’s kind of all I got.

    Look, I’ll be honest here. The fervent love some have for even what I would consider Bujold’s lesser works kind of baffles me. Don’t get me wrong, Shards of Honor is a classic, A Civil Campaign totally rocks, and for that matter I enjoyed the hell out of many of the Miles Vorkosigan adventures. So I don’t dislike Bujold, not at all. But … people really think Diplomatic Immunity is one of the top SF novels of the 21st century? And Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance? I mean, if that’s what you love, I can’t say you’re wrong, but those were ones I thought were pretty much just fun popcorn reads, personally. Nothing wrong with popcorn, but if I got a plate of salted popcorn and it was called a five-star meal I’d be a little puzzled.

    So, yeah, this book was OK. A little too much clunky exposition, a few too many overexplained references to past books. A subplot or two that really didn’t seem developed enough. But a decent enough minor work in the Bujold constellation.

    I wouldn’t call it more than that, though. Tastes differ, I guess.

  15. @Jonathan regarding SFWA:

    I’ve been an associate member now going on two years.

    Here are the reasons why I think it valuable and important to join:

    1. it is a forward-thinking authors organization that takes its role – supporting, educating and advancing the lot of writers seriously
    2. it opens up to you a tremendous number of resources
    3. individuals can’t address some of the larger issues effectively – but as a group, with a strong history and access to skill sets and prior experience – SFWA can
    4. You’re a member of SFWA! dude!
    5. Not only are you a member of a professional writers organization, but being so relieves you of having to make up those signs with magic marker that say “Professional Writer” – no longer do you have to pin one of those to your back as you wander around the convention
    6. “Chicks dig professional writers, especially when their dustjacket photo has them posing with a pipe” (That’s probably a very old school reason….)
    7. The private discussion forums are a great resource
    8. if you are working on a “project” you can usually find people willing to help
    9. you gain the political weight and cred of being a member; you get to help decide the future direction of the organization, you have a perfect vehicle for “paying things forward”, you are perceived as a peer by many of the other professionals in the field. You gain access to all of the super-secret SFWA stuff we’re not even allowed to mention….
    10. You’re a member of SFWA! Dude, come on! No waiting on the access line at convention parties! (That ought to be enough all by itself)

  16. @Bonnie: “The more trailers I see, the more I think Resurgence is going to be bigger, dumber, and rubber-science-y than the first.”

    Oh, definitely… and “single fighter-portable warhead instantly reduces moon-sized ship to tiny shards” is one of the least of the original’s problems. (Hello, tidal devastation?) The sequel seems to be replete with lampshades, though, at least if Goldblum’s line about how the aliens like to go for the landmarks is any indication.

    Of course, that’s part of the ticket price. Ante up, switch the critical part of your brain off when you take your seat, and enjoy the ride. I may be there opening weekend, but if not, I’ll certainly make it to a first-week matinee. If I haven’t made it out to X-Men: Apocalypse by then, I may even make it a double feature.

  17. @Hampus Eckermann

    I love the scroll of pixels in the morning.

    You know, one time we had a thread filking and punning, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I scrolled down. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ filk, unfilked. The scroll, you know that pixelish scroll, the whole thread, scrolled like… fen-at-play. Someday this blog’s gonna end…

  18. Just finished reading Butcher’s steampunkish entry in the Hugos this year, and God in Heaven, I never want to see the words “God”, “in”, and “Heaven” in the same sentence again. I did a search of the document, and there are apparently only 65 instances in the book, which is an average of about 1 per 10 pages. That doesn’t seem like much, but they seem to come in clusters. This may seem nitpicky, but I almost put the book down (no throwing Kindles against the wall) by the last quarter of the book.

    My general take on it is that it’s a good, fun read and there’s a decent chance I’ll pick up the next book. It’s definitely a very commercial book.

    Well-executed action, a fast-moving plot (that maybe sagged a bit in the middle), likable if 1-dimensional characters, an extremely unlikable if 1-dimensional antagonist. CATS! I very much liked the cats, though I thought even their portrayal was a bit 1-dimensional. My biggest quibble with the cats was when Ebjy erdhrfgrq rkgen ubarl va uvf grn. Pngf pna’g qrgrpg fjrrg! Lrf, va n obbx srnghevat gnyxvat pngf naq zntvpny pelfgnyf, GUNG jnf n fgvpxvat cbvag sbe zr.

    As mentioned above, cardboard characters, including the Bad Guy(tm) antagonist, and the writing seemed at least a bit phoned in. Having so many chapters (I believe it was every chapter, by the last 1/4) end in a shocking “IS (S)HE DEAD?” cliffhanger feels lazy.

    I’m debating about the placement on this year’s Hugo ballot. On the one hand, I enjoyed reading it, on the other hand, it was a light, fluffy read – what I’d call a beach book if I didn’t hate beaches. It was gamed onto the finalist list. I’ll probably put it above No Award, though. I think. I’ll agonize over it for a while.

    Just started: Seveneves.

  19. Paul :

    I haven’t read the story or the anthology. What boxes does it check?

    The story features lazy Africans who can’t be helped by any amount of aid from more civilized people, ruthless cunning Chinese, and a somewhat pansy-assed, Prius-driving CDC professor.

    I suppose it’s somewhat non-traditional box-checking in that it is antagonists and not protagonists who fills the boxes, but I still groaned when the Prius was mentioned.

  20. @Johan

    Un huh. Well, ‘checking boxes’ for what you fear and dislike is as old as ‘checking boxes’ for stuff you do like. Heck, I remember LUCIFER’S HAMMER, decades ago, checking some boxes that way.

    Heck, even in videogames, I recall one of the described enemies in an 80’s CRPG being an avaricious and greedy being called “SRI”. I might have been young, but I got that one…

  21. I know that I’m always surprised at the lack of seeming interest in the art show at Balticon.

    This year JOHN PICACIO had a number of works up for the silent auction that weren’t even bid on. Last year’s Artist GoH Halo (of Inkmaster on Spike TV fame, and a helluva tattoo artist) had about 12 canvases up with his artwork, and I was the only one with my number on the bid sheet until Sunday right before the auction ended, and then a couple of the other ones got minimum bids.

    I think I’ve read here before that a lot of artists don’t even bring prints to cons anymore because it’s unwieldy and time consuming to do so, and there isn’t the sort of return that there has been in the past.

    I seem to remember RedWombat discussing it.

  22. Hey, has anybody else bought a supporting membership to MAC2 since Hugo voting opened? I bought one last Tuesday and I still don’t seem to be in the Hugo database to look up my PIN. I know people are doing work around their real lives to make the convention happen, but a week is starting to push my patience. I’ve got an email in, but who knows how long that’ll be. And every day is a day closer to the deadline.

    (Also “An email has been sent to the email address on record for the selected member. Please check your email for a message from [email] which will contain your 2016 Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Award nominating information.” is not exactly helpful if you then don’t get the email promised. From what IT experience I have, I suspect I’m not in the database, but it would be nice if I was told how to resolve a problem.)

  23. One third into Butchers book. Mixed feeling as yet. It is a bit too much of “Men being glib to each other while bleeding”. And I got an intense dislike for Captain Cardboard from the beginning. He is too much a Mary Sue for me. And the cats. Well, I think they are mostly irritating, too clearly a checkbox element.

    But it is well written, there are action elements that I do like, I find that I like the characters regardless of the checkbox elements. As yet, I would recommend Chris Woodings Ketty Jay books instead, far superior, but this one is still fun.

    Also, is it only me that feels having an XO seems a bit anachronistic?

  24. @katster

    I purchased an attending membership on Saturday and received a followup email with my member number and nominating pin within five minutes of confirmation of payment.

    When using the pin lookup link, an email is sent with the member number and nominating pin info.

  25. @Russ

    Okay, then something’s gone horribly wrong somewhere, because I got confirmation of payment and then nothing else, and I’ve been whacking the button to give me my pin on a fairly regular basis since then.

    Hopefully Reg will get it straightened out soon.

    Edit: Ah *ha*! I went to search my email for my payment confirmation, and lo and behold, I did have a response to my email this morning. We’re all straightened out now. So if you haven’t gotten it fairly immediately, poke them.

  26. @ Kyra

    Look, I’ll be honest here. The fervent love some have for even what I would consider Bujold’s lesser works kind of baffles me.

    As best I can tell, we’re somewhat aligned on which Bujold we rate highly. (My metric is, “the happier Miles is, the less interesting the book is.”)

  27. @Jonathan regarding SFWA

    I’d echo (in a mostly theoretical way) the items steve davidson lists. (Although I have yet to enjoy the “chicks dig authors” aspect.) I joined SWFA on my third short story sale, largely for the cachet. (When you’re writing a submission cover letter, “SFWA member” is a fairly useful shorthand for “please take me seriously.”)

    I assume you’re familiar with the SFWA website and forums? I’ve found the resources useful (e.g., model contracts) although many of those are available to the public. I haven’t really gotten the hang of the forums, largely because that particular flavor of social media doesn’t come naturally to me. I suppose I could make more use of the promotional opportunities but I have some personal hangups. (The whole thing about “will all the other kids consider me a fraud because I’m not with a real SFF publisher?”)

    Because I don’t haunt the forums, I haven’t really seen membership translate into publishing opportunities, but then I have a limited scope for writing to order or writing on spec for anthologies and whatnot, due to available writing time.

    I’d say that mostly I view SFWA as the equivalent of joining a union. Even if I don’t get any concrete advantages personally, I’m contributing to a body that represents my interests in the abstract.

  28. As long as I’m being opinionated this afternoon…

    Re: convention art shows

    This is a highly subjective, purely personal position. When I have bid on items at a convention art show (or done direct purchase of art), what I’m looking for is original (i.e., non-print) artwork, in themes that speak to me, from artists working at a certain minimum level of professional ability. If I find something that meets those criteria, I’m happy to pay appropriately high prices. If a work doesn’t hit my buttons, I’m not going to buy it just to buy something.

    I have an irrational attachment to the…I’m not quite sure how to put it, but the “intrinsic unique value” of hand-produced original artwork. Many years ago, when I wanted to buy something of Alicia Austin’s, I bought a pencil concept sketch rather than a print of the finished work, because it was the actual physical object on which she’d put pencil to paper.

    This means that with the rise of artists working in computer media (which I totally understand from their point of view!) there are increasingly few works on display that meet my first criterion. And I really do understand why there’s been a shift in what gets displayed and offered. I’ve had friends who were artists who would lug the same physical originals to many shows, hoping they’d eventually find the right buyer. Prints are more efficient. Though the artist who once berated me for my preference on this matter didn’t do his cause any good. (It may be an irrational preference, but I have the right to have it.)

    But I’ve also seen a shift to a greater proportion of art shows being amateur art–and I mean that not simply in the sense of people who are doing something else for a living, but in the (entirely independent) sense of people who are still in the process of honing their craft. I’ve been paying a lot more attention to art shows in the last couple of years, looking for potential contacts regarding some future self-publishing projects. Finding the intersection of skill, treatment, and subject matter that attracts me is very difficult. I’ll note that when I’m considering a commission (or a purchase-for-pleasure) that involves female figures, I get turned off by the objectification I see from nearly all male artists and a startlingly large number of female artists.

    Back 20 years ago, there was a higher proportion of art I would have enjoyed buying. Alas, back then I didn’t have the income to indulge.

  29. @HRJ: (con art shows)

    I usually make a swing through the art show, even though I don’t have good wall space to actually buy and hang anything. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a definite rise in “Poser art” – which, for the uninitiated, consists of constructing a scene in software (usually Poser, hence the name), from decorating the “set” with wallpaper and props to choosing a digital model’s wardrobe and pose, lighting it, and rendering it in high definition. It’s very much a thing that you recognize when you see it, and although it can be done very well, it can also be done extremely badly…

  30. My preference in SF art is original stuff—not in the sense of not-a-print, but in the sense of not-another-picture-of-Spock (my avatar notwithstanding). Something that shows actual creativity. Generic fantasy warrior wielding a BFS or generic space marine wielding a BFG probably won’t get a second glance from me, unless it’s really well done. Although I admit, I do have a weakness for simple “spaceship against a backdrop of stars, and maybe a planet” images. But otherwise, I tend to be drawn to original ideas (and/or humor). Lady with a shoulder dragon? Nah. Lady with a shoulder robot (or robot with a shoulder dragon)? Closer. 🙂

    Depending on my budget, I usually toss down a few bids at a con art show, and often, though not always, end up with one or two items. So far, my walls still aren’t full, and if they were, I suspect there’s one or two things I could rotate out.

  31. @sunhawk: the silent auction is the one with the bids on paper; in most art shows, everyone who puts up an original (or a single print rather than a rack of them) for sale is in it. What you haven’t been getting enough bids to get into is the voice auction; I noted this dying, but dropping the silent auction as well (so that the first person willing to pay the artist’s asking price can claim the work) seems unusual. I would really like to see Arisia’s explanation for this, both hard numbers (e.g. fraction of sold works that went on just one bid, clerk- and tech-hours and additional charge machines saved by selling continuously (if that’s what they’re doing) instead of having a rush at closing) and guesses (e.g., relative values of making it easier for members to know what they’re buying (and not needing to monitor contested works as the show closes?) versus making more money for artists).

    it’s true that silent bidding has gone down; would you believe the Boskone rule (even before its huge expansion in the 1980’s) used to be 8 silent bids to get a work to live auction? But I’m surprised that a show this size would drop it; they have a lot more customers and display space than Wiscon, and I suspect more of their membership has money to spend.

    @alexvdl: what were the minimum bids on the Picacio works? Original art (even roughs) by people who get major-publisher cover commissions is usually not cheap.


    I’ll note that when I’m considering a commission (or a purchase-for-pleasure) that involves female figures, I get turned off by the objectification I see from nearly all male artists and a startlingly large number of female artists.

    Back 20 years ago, there was a higher proportion of art I would have enjoyed buying.

    Are those linked? I haven’t tried to track this, but I would have hoped that objectification would be going down.

  32. About that Appendix N rant:

    The guy who uses the RPGPundit handle has spent literally decades lashing out, frequently abusively, at everyone who’s Doing It Wrong when it comes to roleplaying games. In practice, this means everyone who doesn’t do it exactly the way he likes. He’s intensely misogynistic and fairly homophobic in practice, all the while insisting that in principle he’s all inclusive and stuff. Likewise, he’s corrosively hateful at all measures to actually improve any part of society as social justice warrioring, while claiming to have a pure left-wing vision of the better society, which will apparently arrive when we stop striving.

    When a game I co-developed was popular, he worked in stuff I’d posted about my health, struggles with depression, difficulties with US health bureaucracies, and such to mock me as an obviously unworthy person who needed to be derided. He’s done the same to a lot of others, including many of my friends.

    James Maliszewski is a long-time acquaintance. He’s temperamentally conservative, and part of the way he’s dealt with various stresses is by building up this image of himself as The Voice Of Tradition And Wisdom in a scene that includes a lot of vocal liberals, leftists, enthusiastic modernists, and such. He’s also gone through the kind of suffering too many of us have, like the long difficult death of a parent with whom he was frequently at odds and depression cascading in the wake of that, and I genuinely respect how he’s managed to help his recovery by emphasizing his long-time gaming loves for an emergent new market of fans of old gaming styles.

    What roleplaying gamers call the Old School Revival has a bunch of features that don’t work for me at all. But it’s brought a lot of pleasure to its participants, and some really fascinating work. James is part of a growing group of folks who’re reviving old-style fanzines – assembled on whatever tools they’ve got on their computers and in the house, printed in small lots, the whole deal. They have so much fun at it, just as anyone making a fanzine should. It’s very much therapeutic for many of them, too, given how many of us suffer from physical and mental crud. Some, like James, remember gaming’s early decade and change, including the importance of fanzines and amateur press associations; others are young enough that they’re bringing tales of the tribal elders to life for the first time in their experience; they have fun at it together.

    For RPGPundit this is terrible for several reasons. He didn’t think of it, he can’t just disrupt their discussions online since a lot of it’s happening offline, so it’s all just terrible. He has to therefore settle for trying to mock and humiliate the participants, this time including James.

    This may all sound very, very familiar to File 770 regulars.

  33. Enter the Wu-Pixel (36 Scrolls)
    Da Mystery of Pixelscrollin
    Wu-Pixel Clan Ain’t Nuthing To Scroll With
    Pixelfaced Scroller.

  34. Yeah, in gaming circles I have a firm rule: if you’re a dick to Jenna Moran, John Kim or Bruce Baugh, you’re dead to me. I believe the self-styled Pundit has hit for the cycle.

  35. @ Chip Hitchcock

    Me: Back 20 years ago, there was a higher proportion of art I would have enjoyed buying.

    Are those linked? I haven’t tried to track this, but I would have hoped that objectification would be going down.

    No, those are independent aspects. I think the objectification is more linked to the “still honing the craft” aspect.

  36. re SFWA, @Jonathan Edelstein: SFWA does a lot to advocate for writers in general–sets standards for pro payrates (low though they are, they used to be lower), provides examples of fair contracts and model policies, provides resources for learning about the nitty gritty of publishing as well as dealing with conflicts in publishing, things like that. I think this is work that helps all SFF writers whether they’re members or not, but it makes me happy to be a member and support the organization.

  37. Kyra: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold… This was … a nice book. I mean, it was cool to hang out with Cordelia again some. And the subject matter, moving on with life after a major chapter of it has ended, was a good one. … That’s kind of all I got… people really think [the more minor Vorkosigan stories are in] the top SF novels of the 21st century?

    I enjoyed the book — it fleshes out a part of the Vorkosiganverse nicely — but it was never on the radar for me in terms of a Hugo nomination. I agree with you: I love the Vorkosigan stories with an undying love — and some of them are world-shaking, but some of them are just very good.

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