Pixel Scroll 7/21/16 Faster, Pixelcat! Scroll! Scroll!

Spent Thursday escorting DUFF delegate Clare McDonald to the Huntington Library and the LASFS meeting, so there needs to be a short Scroll today….Short but charmingly illustrated, thanks to Camestros Felapton.

(1) MENTAL RIVALRY. Kameron Hurley says she has not yet achieved a state of Zen consciousness about her career in “What About Me? Dealing with Professional Jealousy”

Oh, you published a bestselling book that critics thought was crap? Oh you’ve won awards but not sold millions, oh, you sold millions, but didn’t win awards? Oh, you’ve sold well but never got a movie deal. Oh, you’ve sold well and got a movie deal but the movie tanked? Oh, you sold well and got a movie deal and the movie did well but didn’t win Best Picture. Boo-hoo.

You see how your measure of “success” can keep going up and up and up until you’re just never happy, ever. My spouse often shakes his head at me because I move my bar for success all the time. What I have is never enough. For me, this works, because if I was satisfied in my professional life I wouldn’t be inspired to do anything. But for my own sanity I did have to make my own definition of success. I had to create my own career goals so that when I did turn down opportunities or choose to do one project instead of another, I would stop second-guessing myself.

(2) DIFFERENT VIEW OF HOMER. M. Harold Page has an intriguing review at Black Gate: “Was Homer a Historian After All? A Look at The Trojan War: A New History”.

Better yet, modern archaeology has found a much larger Troy — Schliemann only discovered the citadel  — and also uncovered a general collapse consistent with foreign invasion. Finally, recent finds have dissolved away Homer’s apparent anachronisms in military equipment.

So Homer could be true. Not as true as, say, Froissart, but truer than Malory. Think how Saving Private Ryan or The Longest Day treated the Normandy landings, and you have a sense of how accurate we’re talking about.

All that said and done, Strauss settles in to tell us the story as it might/could/probably/should have happened.


(4) FOR PEACE OF MIND. James Davis Nicoll is doing a fundraiser sale at his book review site to help with a recently-deceased fan’s final expenses.

I’ve known Stephanie Clarkson since she was a young teen hanging around my game store. I saw her grow up and find her place as an adult. Recently, she struggled with major health problems. Just as she seemed to have turned the corner on that, she was diagnosed with cancer. Stephanie died on July 19th, 2016.

Patricia Washburn is raising funds for Stephanie’s final expenses. To help her in this, I am running a seventy-two hour sales: commissions are half off ($50 a review) and all funds raised from reviews commissioned between now and 10 AM, July 24rd will be forwarded to Patricia.

Aside from price, the usual terms apply.



  • July 21, 2007 — The seventh and final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is released, with an initial print run of 12 million copies in the United States alone.

(7) PAULK ON HUGO NOMINEES. Kate Paulk reached The Big One in her survey: “Hugo Finalist Highlights – Best Novella and Best Novel”. I picked this excerpt because it marks an occasion where I had pretty much the same thoughts about the story, although I thought the author achieved what he set out to do.

The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com) – This offering nearly broke me in the first sentence. Note to authors: you will not go far when you give a character with no discernable Spanish or Portuguese traits the name “Reconquista”. Especially when someone with more than zero historical literacy reads your work. The second-rate knockoff of the Brian Jacques Redwall-style stories does not help the cause.

(8) ANTICIPATION. Doris V. Sutherland predicts the 2016 Hugo winning novella after reviewing all five nominees. She begins with —

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Mankind has spread to the stars and encountered alien races, but not all of humanity is eager to explore space. The Himba of Southern Africa remain a close-knit and traditional people, one that prefers to remain on Earth. Binti, a sixteen-year-old Himba girl, is an exception: when she is granted a scholarship at a university on another planet, she eagerly hops on board a spaceship and begins the journey.

Binti finds herself travelling alongside members of another ethnic group, the Khoush, who mock her Himba adornments: she smears her skin with a mixture of oil and red clay, wears heavy anklets and has her hair elaborately braided….

(9) THESE ARE THE SNORES YOU’RE LOOKING FOR. The Daily Telegraph headline claims “Evil doll’s sleeping secrets unmasked”.

SLEEP-deprived parents are paying triple the price of a best-selling doll which puts babies to sleep using a heartbeat and breathing “like Darth Vader”.

A bidding war pushed the price of one Lulla doll on eBay to $350, while thousands of parents are on a waiting list.

Developed by a group of Icelandic mums, the soft doll plays a recording of a yoga guru in a deep meditative state wired up to a heart monitor.

Despite a shipment arriving last week, Australian distributor Michelle Green predicted she would be sold out of the $99 doll within days. “It’s crazy,” Ms Green said. “I’m packing and they’re going out the door as fast as I can get them.”

“It does sound like Darth Vader but, as I tell mums, most toddlers and babies haven’t seen Star Wars.”


(10) WHEN YOUR CHURCH BECOMES A POKESTOP. In “Popular Mobile App Brings Visitors to Church Facilities”, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints Church News recommends a response to Pokémon Go players who come to its sites:

  1. View any visit as an opportunity.

Recognize that it is good for people to want to visit Church buildings and sites, even if it’s just part of playing a game. Signs in front of our buildings clearly state, “Visitors welcome.” Consider any visit as an opportunity to improve relationships with members of the community and help others feel positively about the Church.

  1. Be friendly and welcoming.

The visit to a meetinghouse may be someone’s first and only contact with the Church, so remember to be friendly and welcoming. Hosts and missionaries serving at visitors’ centers, Church historic sites, temple grounds could welcome and invite game players—as they do all visitors—to enjoy the displays, learn about the site, and perhaps even listen to a simple gospel message….

(11) BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY’VE BEEN. The LA Times knows what you should be eating at the Orange County fair: Nutella, Game of Thrones-inspired hot dogs.

[Thanks to Camestros Felapton, Dave Doering, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JohnFromGR.]

86 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/21/16 Faster, Pixelcat! Scroll! Scroll!

  1. Insomnia has its benefits, I suppose.

    We meant to go see Ghostbusters and ended up seeing the new Star Trek movie instead. One of us liked it a lot. I was not that person. You’d think they could have used a slightly smaller special effects budget and made up the difference with a script doctor, but no. However, the last 15 minutes were fun, so there’s that.

    Why is nobody protesting the upcoming remakes of Ben Hur and The Magnificent Seven? Is it just because they don’t have girl cooties?

  2. No, I don’t have a Twitter account — to hedge against my tendency to fly off the handle… There are two Twitter curators that tweet most of the links to File 770, however.

  3. (8) Really enjoyed those reviews. I particularly agree with her thoughts on Slow Bullets and The Builders.


    I’m laughing so hard at the commenter who says:
    More of the same dreck we’ve come to know and loathe from the Hugo award process, with a few decent to good items thrown in for flavor. No, there’s no log rolling going on. It’s sheet coincidence that the same group of authors get nominated every year.

    Obviously, this person has not been paying attention to the fact that this year their choices were dictated by VD, not Worldcon voters.

  5. 11) I thought this was about Nutella hotdogs and I was like “wow the USA really does ruin everything”. Then it turned out to be hotdogs and also fried battered Nutella which is completely legit as far as I’m concerned. THEN I saw the bacon Nutella in the “also recommended” and I lost all hope. Perhaps someone can do the experiment for me and report back.

    10) The only pokestop in my village happens to be the local church but I haven’t met anyone there except a couple of confused kids wondering who on earth was using a lure in our two horse town. Church of England are a bit less… keen… than LDS from what I understand though.

  6. 10) Swedish Church policy on Pokemon seems to be that it is ok to catch Pokemon in the church yard, but there is sanctuary inside the church, even for Pokemon.

    I noted that a nearby playground had its average age raised by 25 years or so because of three pokestops placed inside it. Had a nice time there yesterday, chatting to the other players. It is kind of fun with people you’ve never met before starting to talk to you.

  7. 1. Hurley’s remarks come across as yet one more person with no confidence trying to convince themselves that they’ve turned a corner.

  8. Re 11) Clearly the Minnesota State Fair (the second largest in the US) has to up its game.

  9. @Cheryl There was a joke going around on twitter for a bit the other day about making a genderflipped remake of “Ben-Her”.

  10. Church of England are a bit less… keen

    As usual with the CoE it depends a lot on which bit. I’ve seen Paul Cornell’s wife, the Reverend Caoline Symcox tweeting about Pokemon.

  11. I’m trying to avoid reading an excerpt, since the blurb at Goodreads has me hooked!

  12. If I understand correctly, the Magnificent Seven remake is not gender-flipped, instead it is marine-mammal-flippered. It makes an interesting addition to the new genre, but can it match the sucess of the Manatee with no Name movies?

  13. @ Niall McAuley – One of my favorites in that genre is The Outlaw Josey Whale.

  14. Technically, I suppose you could also cosplay as Rowan or Bennie. Strongly recommend against cosplaying as Rowan in “giant ghost creature” form, though. Might end up looking a bit too “white sheet with pointy hood”. D:

  15. @Paul Weimer:

    Re 11) Clearly the Minnesota State Fair (the second largest in the US) has to up its game.

    That was my reaction, with a side of “I should have known California couldn’t be outweirded.” OTOH, one could say the Daenerys Dog is for sissies; if the owners were serious they’d used Carolina Reaper peppers (5x the heat of Scotch Bonnets according to this week’s BBC trivia quiz).

  16. Niall, I understand they flipped the numeral, too. Now it’s THE MAGNIFICENT L.

    [because everything’s funnier with a correction]

  17. Interesting. I am reading Junot Diaz’s story “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” on the New Yorker site. Inside the tale, he namechecks Arrakis, Neuromancer, and (I think) Doomsday Book. SF has arrived, I guess.

  18. (7)

    What a shock! The person who loved Seven Kill Tiger hated Fifth Season….

    @Paul Weimer

    No fair where deep fried spam can be purchased, and that isn’t even the strangest food stuff, needs to up it’s game.

    ETA: I should have read about the french toast bacon bombs before I started typing my fool words. The bar has certainly been moved.

  19. I would like to thank the academy for nominating my headline this morning. If only I spent as much time writing as I do thinking up pixel puns…

  20. Long-time Star Trek fan and writer Lora Johnson is in severe debt due to an ongoing medical crisis. I’m signal-boosting her gofundme page to spread the word.

    Written under the name Shane Johnson, Lora’s numerous Star Trek related works include Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise and Worlds of the Federation. She has also written the Star Wars Technical Manual and several independent books, and worked as a historian on US spaceflights. She has contributed a lot to the SF community, and I’m hoping the community can now give something back to her.

    Link to Lora’s GoFundMe https://gofundme.com/u3cq8cr7
    Link to Lora’s Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lora_Johnson

  21. We meant to go see Ghostbusters and ended up seeing the new Star Trek movie instead.

    So when does The Beyonder show up, and how is he different from Q?

    Why is nobody protesting the upcoming remakes of Ben Hur and The Magnificent Seven?

    My guess is that there are very few people who give a damn about The Magnificent Seven or Ben Hur. (For myself, I’ve never felt the need to watch Ben Hur, and not only did I like The Magnificent Seven better when it was called Seven Samurai, I also liked it better when it was called Battle Beyond the Stars, The Three Amigos, and A Bug’s Life.)

  22. “A local scroll, for local pixels”


    Deep fried spam? And I thought the Scots had the worst diet in the West…

    In fairness I had a haggis burrito for lunch.

  23. Good morning today I get an EEG and am pretty nervous so even less coherence than usual have a linkie:

    Comic-Con 2016: Moana heroine won’t have a love interest in the film

    [Directors] Musker and Clements made a point to say that Moana doesn’t have a love interest in this story and that it’s a film about the heroine finding herself.

    *fist pump* Disney I like this trend of telling girls they can be complete humans in their own right. Keep it up!

  24. Personally, I’m waiting for Saving Porpoise Ryan.

    (I caught part of a Ben Hur trailer the other day when half-watching TV, and said to my husband, “wait, what? Isn’t that Ben Hur? Why would they remake Ben Hur.…?????)

  25. On the other side is Day of the Dauphin where George C. Scott teaches a supposed French aristocrat to speak English*.

    * No doubt this originally caused outrage in some circles because it’s based upon a French novel.

  26. Re: animal name movie puns– I’ve always wanted to see How Stella Got Her Groveback. (Unfortunately, Wanyne Barlowe’s work is so undeservedly obscure that most people wouldn’t even get the pun (except in sites like this.))

    ETA: Just googled, and yep, the title “How Stella Got Her Goveback” is obscure enough to get zero hits (until this post becomes indexed, of course.)

  27. (I caught part of a Ben Hur trailer the other day when half-watching TV, and said to my husband, “wait, what? Isn’t that Ben Hur? Why would they remake Ben Hur.…?????)

    Why wouldn’t they? The version most people are familiar with is itself a remake of a remake, and there’ve been two more before the latest one.

  28. Without Yakima Canutt there’s just no Ben-Hur… they’ll probably get the dorks who choreographed that 28-mile runway scene in Fast and Furious Six.

    Though if Robin Williams were still around he could finally do “Mrs Doubtfire Returns” as “Been Her” instead.

  29. Sean O’Hara: Why wouldn’t they? The version most people are familiar with is itself a remake of a remake,

    If it ain’t got Francis X. Bushman in it, it ain’t nothin’.

  30. The next book of the J.K.Rowling Universe is to be released on the 31st of July. I’m guessing this to ensure that the USPS drivers will have something to do (it’s a Sunday).. I recall several trailers, completely loaded coming in for the last Potter book.

  31. Obviously, this person has not been paying attention to the fact that this year their choices were dictated by VD, not Worldcon voters.

    And most of the choices were also on the Sad Puppy list that she was supposedly part of managing.

    As far as authors getting nominations on a regular basis, it is almost as if writing is a skill that people retain from year to year.

  32. It’s not that there’s not room for some kind of Ben-Hur remake; the problem is that this one will probably keep Lew Wallace’s really awful grasp on Roman history and replace the live-action spectacle of the 1959 version (best! chariot race! ever!) with entirely too much CGI; whereas a good remake would strive for some level of historical accuracy and keep the effects as practical as possible (and probably be vilified as a result for the changes to the story — no slave rowers on Roman galleys, e.g.).

  33. The original Wizard of Oz movie starred, as the Tin Woodman, one Oliver Hardy.

  34. Oh, come on! How could you not want to see a The Fast and the Furious influenced chariot scene?!? There’s a time where characterization, historical accuracy, and plot coherency just have to take a back seat to AWESOME. I’m just trying to figure out how nitrous oxide works into it 😛

    Of course the true depths of re-make insanity hasn’t been plumbed on this thread yet:


    ETA: Grrrr! Swear to Ghu I hadn’t seen Mike’s Rocky Horror article on the main page when I posted this!

  35. What, no love for Larry Semon? Sic transit, man! Then there’s the original Tin Man from the familiar 1939 WIZARD OF OZ, Buddy Ebsen, whose voice can still be heard on the soundtrack in some of the Road numbers. That one octave jump (in the second syllable of “because”) sounds like him to me. (I wouldn’t have known he was there if it wasn’t in the Rhino soundtrack to the movie, and probably also mentioned in Aljean Harmetz’s book on the filming.)

    I’m looking forward to trying to remember to set a timer for the thing in October. Looking at the cast list made me happier than before—hoped all along that Curry would get the plum part of the Criminologist (always cheer for him in the theater), and seeing their choice for Dr. Von Scott is all good. My sheet music (which I’ve been playing a lot lately) is actually for “The Rocky Horror Show,” so I’ve never really seen the original anyway.

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