Pixel Scroll 6/7/16 Pixel Sally, Guess You Better Scroll That Pixel Down

(1) THE WAY TO LIVE IN FANDOM. In “A few post-Wiscon thoughts on being an ally” Sigrid Ellis covers several topics, and this segment speaks to fans far beyond the environs of WisCon.

Here’s the thing: if the fates are kind, all of us will one day be old in fandom. Two, three, four generations will pile in after us, building on what we have fostered. We, too, will be pushed to the margins and passed by.

Yet my heart and head are with the youth. With the future. I cannot bring myself to condemn change that spreads power among more people. I cannot argue against hearing more people tell their own stories. I cannot stand against representation, inclusion.

And yet, and yet, and yet …

What I want, what a crave, is for people to LISTEN to each other. To empathize. I want the young’ns to thank those who came before for their victories, however incremental. I want the founders and established folks to respect the anger and impatient demands for change. I want the next generation to not throw out everything just because it was done before. I want the previous generation to avoid “because we always do it this way” as a reason.

When I hear some Old Fart say something dismissive and intolerant, I wince. I want to prevent my respected elders from showing their ass in public, I want to cover for them, I want to protect them from being overheard.

When I hear some Young Turk calling to burn it all to the ground and start again, I wince. I want to run interference, I want to soften their demands, I want to compromise and meet them halfway.

(2) WHAT IT’S ABOUT. In a piece for Bloomberg, “’Star Wars’ Is Really About Feminism. And Jefferson. And Jesus”,  Cass Sunstein has excerpts from his book The World According to Star Wars.

….Like a great novel or poem, Star Wars doesn’t tell you what to think. You can understand it in different, even contradictory ways. Here are six of those ways.

Feminism

From the feminist point of view, is Star Wars awful and kind of embarrassing, or actually terrific and inspiring? No one can doubt that “The Force Awakens” strikes a strong blow for sex equality: Rey is the unambiguous hero (the new Luke!), and she gets to kick some Dark Side butt. Just look at the expression on her face when she has a go at Kylo Ren.

By contrast, the original trilogy and the prequels are easily taken as male fantasies about both men and women. The tough guys? The guys. When you feel the Force, you get stronger, and you get to choke people, and you can shoot or kill them, preferably with a lightsaber (which looks, well, more than a little phallic — the longer, the better).

But there’s another view. Leia is the leader of the rebellion. She’s a terrific fighter, and she knows what she’s doing. She’s brave, and she’s tough, and she’s good with a gun. By contrast, the men are a bit clueless. She does wear a skimpy costume, and she gets enslaved, kind of, by Jabba the Hutt. But isn’t everything redeemed, because she gets to strangle her captor with the very chain with which he bound her? Isn’t that the real redemption scene in the series?

(3) SISMAN OBIT. Publisher and novelist Robyn Sisman (1955-2016) died May 20 of cancer reports The Bookseller.

She began her career in publishing at Oxford University Press where she worked her way up to become an editor.

She later became an editorial director at J M Dent and created two publishing imprints – Everyman Fiction, a list of contemporary fiction; and a classic crime line, which included writers such as Nicholas Blake (Cecil Day-Lewis), Margery Allingham, and Kingsley Amis.

Malcolm Edwards believes she commissioned the first Interzone anthology at Dent.

Sisman then joined Hutchinson, part of the Random House group, via a stint at the newly established UK arm of Simon & Schuster.

She oversaw publication of Robert Harris’ wartime novel Fatherland, but also such books as Kim Newman’s The Night Mayor and Brian Stableford’s Empire of Fear brought to her attention by an sf advisor.

Sisman’s career as a writer began with her debut novel, Special Relationship, published in 1995 by Heinemann. She wrote five other romantic comedies, Just Friends (Penguin), Perfect Strangers (Penguin), Weekend in Paris (Penguin), A Hollywood Ending (Orion) and The Perfect Couple? (Orion).

She was married to author Adam Sisman.

(4) TOP DRONE. I don’t know what Luke will go shooting womp-rats with now – “The U.S. Air Force May Have Just Built Its Last Fighter Jet” reports The Daily Beast.

In the direst scenario, Air Force fighters simply won’t survive over enemy territory long enough to make any difference during a major war. In that case, the penetrating counterair system, or PCA, might not be a fighter jet as we currently understand it.

Instead, it could be a radar-evading drone whose main job is to slip undetected into enemy air space and use sophisticated sensors to detect enemy planes—and then pass that targeting data via satellite back to other U.S. forces. “A node in the network,” is how the strategy document describes the penetrating system’s main job.

The Air Force could start work on the penetrating counterair system in 2017, according to the new air-superiority plan. The document proposes that this possible stealth drone could team up with an “arsenal plane”—an old bomber or transport plane modified to carry potentially hundreds of long-range missiles

(5) AERIAL SNACKAGE. Richard Foss was up early to guest on a TV show called Food: Fact or Fiction and wrote a great post about his experiences.

One segment was about the history of food aboard commercial aircraft, the other about food in space, and each had their humorous moments. As part of one I had to eat some airline peanuts, and unfortunately they had brought the sweet kind that I detest. I managed to fake enjoyment when the camera was on, but must have made an interesting face as soon as it stopped, because the cameraman asked if I was choking. When I told him the situation, he complimented me on my acting, because he had thought I loved peanuts as long as the camera was on. The annoying part? They had to shoot the scene three times, so I ate a whole bag of the nasty things.

(6) UP THE AMAZON. John Scalzi delivered “A Tweet Spree on Amazon Authors and Envy” — 17 tweets and a kitten picture. Here’s number 6.

(7) AUGUST BRADBURY SHINDIG. Steven Paul Leiva signal boosted a call for submissions for this summer’s Ray Bradbury Read in LA.

On August 22, 2016, in celebration of the ninety-sixth anniversary of the birth of American and Angeleno literary great Ray Bradbury, the Ray Bradbury Read will take place in downtown Los Angeles from twelve noon to three p.m.

The Ray Bradbury Read will feature three hours of short readings from the works of Ray Bradbury; from his short stories, novels, poems, and essays…

The readers of Bradbury’s work will be members of the public selected by the process described below. There will also be guest celebrity readers….

To be considered as a reader you must submit a proposal for a reading of a five-minute-or-under excerpt from one of Bradbury’s many works. The excerpt can come from any of Ray’s published prose and verse writings and should have a central theme, coherence, and completeness about it. More than one excerpt or poem can be read, as long as their reading time does not exceed five minutes. Excerpts from plays and screenplays will not be accepted.

Ray Bradbury Read 8 22

(8) WALK THROUGH MGM. Marc Scott Zicree, Mr. Sci-Fi, visits the former MGM, where Twilight Zone was shot.

(9) DO ANYTHING ELSE IF YOU CAN. William F. Nolan wrote on Facebook:

A major misconception: that all famous, successful writers find it easy to bring in vast amounts of money and have always enjoyed big bucks, right from the start of their fabled careers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Stephen King had his phone cut off for non-payment and had to use a gas station phone to receive calls while sweating for low pay in an industrial laundry. Ray Bradbury lived on tomato soup for years as his stories were rejected. Charles Beaumont had to hock his typewriter for food. Richard Matheson nearly starved trying to live on random, penny-a-word sales. Just a few examples from many. It takes talent, hard work and a LOT of years to “make it big” as a writer. And most writers never do. A tough game, people. Very, very tough indeed. Write if you must — but ONLY if you must.

(10) NOT A STRANGER. ScienceFiction.com shares “Strange Opinion: Bob Gale Of ‘Back To The Future’ Is Not Happy About ‘Doctor Strange’”.

In a recent interview with MoviePilot, Bob Gale let his opinion be known about Marvel’s upcoming ‘Doctor Strange’ movie, a film that he is not looking forward to. While you might think “Who the hell is Bob Gale?” and “Why does his opinion matter on this?” let me tell you, I had similar thoughts. I knew he was a writer/producer on the ‘Back to the Future‘ movies back in the 80?s (and has done little else since, except for ‘Back to the Future’ video games and promos, and the ride at Universal Studios), and I thought it was very strange that years later the man would pop up again with comments on a Marvel movie. However, Bob Gale having an opinion on the matter is not as strange as I originally thought, as it turns out that back in the 80s (at the height of his relevancy) the man wrote a screenplay for ‘Doctor Strange,’ which unfortunately never got made. Apparently Bob Gale is a huge ‘Doctor Strange’ fan and an expert on the character, which is why he tried to get his movie made, and also why he feels so strongly about Marvel’s upcoming film featuring the character.

Of course I’d listen to Bob Gale’s opinion. He majored in film at USC. More important, that’s how he happened to take me (a fellow USC student) to the first LASFS event I ever attended, the club’s 1970 anniversary dinner, where Harlan Ellison read aloud “Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.” He can say anything he likes about Doctor Strange as far as I’m concerned. 😉

(11) FANTASY TOURISM. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has “Rough Guides to Getting Around Single-Climate Planets”.

Ursa Beta Minor (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams) Introduction: The Pleasure Planet Ursa Beta Minor was designed, manufactured, and terraformed to be the ultimate vacation destination. The planet is comprised completely of warm oceans and thin strips of beach front. It is always Saturday afternoon, and the bars are always open. In fact, as you read this, you’re wondering why anyone would travel to any other single-climate planet, and frankly we have to agree with you.

Where to Go: Aside from the beaches and the bars, there is only one other destination: Light City, the capital city. While in Light City, visit the headquarters of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which will be very disappointing, but afterwards you can stroll down Life Boulevard and walk past the shops that literally no one is wealthy enough to afford.

Getting There and Getting Around: You’ll need a ship equipped with some sort of Infinite Improbability Drive, or at least a Bistromatic Drive. Once in orbit, you can only arrive by air, as the owners really want you to see Light City from up there, or else the whole trip is a waste.

(12) APPERTAIN YOURSELF A LIBATION. Stoic Cynic in a comment:

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

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Stoic Cynic, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

124 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/7/16 Pixel Sally, Guess You Better Scroll That Pixel Down

  1. Lela E. Buis: Every little girl’s dream is to be a Disney princess.

    I can’t tell, but I’m guessing this is sarcasm?

    Because if it’s not, you sure don’t know many little girls.

  2. (1) THE WAY TO LIVE IN FANDOM — As far as I know, I’m broadly in agreement with the political goals of the WisCon crowd. And yet, every single report on it I’ve read seems to spend an awful amount of time on people policing each other and being policed. The vibe I’m getting is of the “Quiet Cars” in Swiss trains, where there isn’t all that much quiet because of all the busybodies patrolling the length of the car shushing everybody who raises their voice above a whisper.

    Does the typical WisCon attendee actually have a good time (or, presumably, an extra good time because of all the attention given to mutual respect and inclusiveness), or is the conference experience filled with as much constant angst and drama as the reports seem to be?

  3. Little pixels, on the scrollside,
    Little pixels, made of ticky-tacky…

  4. @microtherion: All my friends who’ve gone to WisCon seem to have had a good time there.

  5. “And yet, every single report on it I’ve read seems to spend an awful amount of time on people policing each other and being policed. “

    I think it is the language. There are mutterings and smalltime complaints regarding every convention. But people attending WisCon seems to wrap all comments into the identity politics vocabulary.

  6. Hampus Eckerman: I think it is the language. There are mutterings and smalltime complaints regarding every convention. But people attending WisCon seems to wrap all comments into the identity politics vocabulary.

    I think it also has to do with the fact that, in recent years (and especially after Frenkelgate, which was a many-years run of people complaining and seeing nothing done about it until it finally turned into a huge blowup), people have reached the point where they actually feel able to speak up — that if they say something, they will actually be listened to and believed.

    I know a number of real-life arenas where you don’t ever hear public complaints (although, if you’re plugged into the grapevine, you can find out about them). That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any complaints. It means that people don’t publicly complain because they know it won’t accomplish anything and/or they know that they will be the one who ends up facing reprisals for complaining.

    And a lot of the time they just walk away, without anyone realizing what has happened or understanding why the people aren’t there any more.

  7. @World Weary:

    There was one thing that amused me at the Star wars re-release. The line to the men’s room ran all the way through the lobby but there was no line at all for the ladies’ room. Only time that I’ve seen that in my life!

    That used to be the go-to joke about Rush concerts. Though I can report this was somewhat less the case last summer at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

  8. @Magewolf: I am rather impressed that you described the language in that video as “mild cursing”.

  9. Every little girl’s dream is to be a Disney princess.

    Except for those who wish they were an Oscar Meyer Wiener.

    And yet, every single report on it I’ve read seems to spend an awful amount of time on people policing each other and being policed. The vibe I’m getting is of the “Quiet Cars” in Swiss trains,

    What I’m always reminded of by the actions of the really strongly socially-justicey groups is the Cultural Revolution scenes in Three Body Problem. First there is extreme confidence that there is an Enemy with a Bad Ideology that must be shamed, shunned, punished, and re-educated and that they are the Pure ones with the Correct Thinking who will do it–then the former punishers rip each other apart over ever-smaller slips from ideological purity. Each of them thinks that it can’t happen to them–until their “friends” turn on them like a pack of piranha.

  10. @JJ – OK I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t tell if that was sarcasm lol When I was little, I wanted to be a dragon when I grew up! 😀

  11. @Sunhawk & @JJ: I try to use smileys liberally (!) for stuff like that, but I thought it was very obviously sarcasm. Even if someone like BT or Tank Marmot said it, I’d still presume it was sarcasm. Just me? 😉

  12. Remember that time we accidentally wandered into the Sad Puppy* bar and Mike asked us if we remembered the theme from Scrollhide?

    * There was a discussion of Westerns over on MGC so I figure it makes sense.

  13. @Greg Hullender, Jack Lint:

    Here at File 770, we’ve got both kinds of music – country and western!

  14. Sunhawk:

    “When I was little, I wanted to be a dragon when I grew up! 😀

    I want to be a dragon NOW! >.<

  15. Looking at the code for the smiley, I see that there is an “img scale” option set at 0. This is a test post out of curiosity to see if plugging in a bigger number will give an enlarged image.

    (ETA: Nope! The whole tag is snipped.)

  16. Rev. Bob: Here at File 770, we’ve got both kinds of music – country and western!

    The hills are alive…!

  17. Kendall: I try to use smileys liberally (!) for stuff like that, but I thought it was very obviously sarcasm. Even if someone like BT or Tank Marmot said it, I’d still presume it was sarcasm. Just me?

    If people don’t use smileys, then the only indicator I have to go from is the “personality” they’ve shown in their posting history. Since this poster has a history of posting really clueless things in all seriousness, it was reasonable to presume that this was just another one of those.

  18. Sometimes it’s hard to be a pixel
    Givin’ all your love to just one scroll

    Stand by your scroll!

  19. I wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice when I grew up. Now I’d take healthy. Or a dragon. Or sorcerer. Or magical healer. But not Ruler of the Universe. 😉

    ETA: I always knew if born in a past time it was WAYYYY better to be born as aristocracy in the western world than common person so Princess would be ok under those circumstances. O_o

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