Pixel Scroll 8/20/19 My Name Is Pixel, Scrolled Pixel

(1) HUGO STATS. Dublin 2019 Hugo Administrator Nicholas Whyte has published his analysis of the voting: “2019 Hugos in detail, and reflections on the viability of Best Fanzine”. It begins —

All but two of the winners had the most first preferences in their categories. The exceptions

  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: The Good Place: “Janet(s)” came from third place to overtake Dirty Computer and The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate”.
  • Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 3: Haven started in second place but got enough transfers to overtake Black Panther: Long Live the King.

The only category where fewer than six rounds of counting were required to determine the winner was Best Fancast, where Our Opinions Are Correct won on the fifth count.

The closest results were:

  • Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 3: Haven beat Black Panther: Long Live the King by 8 votes.
  • Best Novella: “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” beat “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by 9 votes.
  • John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Jeannette Ng beat Rivers Solomon by 43 votes.

At lower rankings, there were three closer results:

  • Best Related Work: The Mexicanx Initiative beat Astounding by 4 votes for fourth place.
  • Best Fancast: The Skiffy and Fanty Show beat The Coode Street Podcast also by 4 votes for fifth place.
  • Best Fan Writer: Bogi Takács beat Elsa Sjunneson-Henry again by 4 votes for second place.

(2) AFTER ACTION REPORT. Cheryl Morgan tries to figure out what went wrong at the Hugo Losers Party in “Worldcon #77—Day 5”.

…Quite why so many finalists were turned away isn’t clear. It isn’t the fault of the Dublin committee, because they have nothing to do with the party other than pass on invitations to the finalists. It probably isn’t the fault of the NZ people because these days I understand that organisation of the event is passed on to people who work for George. People on Twitter inevitably blamed George personally (and doubtless complained that he should be writing books rather than running parties). The fault may lie with the staff at the venue. It is all a bit murky.

What is clear is that a whole lot of people who were not Hugo finalists had got into the party long before the Hugo Ceremony finished. This is the publishing industry in action. If there is a swank party going, publishing people will find a way to get into it. And the fact that they did led to the venue being (allegedly) overcrowded and people being turned away.

(3) FUND RAISING FOR SARAH NEWTON. Sarah Newton is a game designer and author of the Mindjammer game and novels and other RPGs. Over the past 6 months she’s been caring for her husband who had with stage IV cancer and she is now raising money for his funeral expenses, to get back on her feet, and get her company up and running again: “We?re raising £3,500 to help fund the funeral expenses of Chris James, the Brown Dirt Cowboy.” The appeal has brought in £7,231.

I wanted to explain what any money above Chris’s funeral expenses will be used for. The week after next, I’ll take Chris’s ashes to the UK by car and ferry, appx £400. I’ll return to work in France by 1 October. Mindjammer Press has been mothballed since February. It’ll take me the rest of the year to start delivery, meaning I need to cover the period financially. With your blessing, it would be useful to use your gifts to reduce any loan I’ll eventually need. My outgoings are low – appx 1000 euros a month. Please let me know your thoughts.

(4) IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED. Jezebel notes “Once Again, Women Casually Dominated the Hugo Awards” (based on a post at The Verge.)

… The streak is notable, because it comes even after a Gamergate-style pushback attempt in 2015.

(5) INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE. And one of those winners got a nice writeup in MalaysiaKini: “Malaysian author Zen Cho wins Hugo Award”.

Malaysian author Zen Cho has bagged the Hugo Award, a prestigious literary award for science fiction writing.

Cho’s ‘If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again’ won in the Best Novelette category.

… “It was unexpected – I was pleased to be nominated because I was attending Worldcon this year anyway, and I was keen to go to the Hugo Losers party hosted each year by Martin.

“But I had my bets about who would win and it wasn’t me!” she was quoted as saying….

(6) GONE FROM THE VERGE. Bad news for Andrew Liptak and those of us who like to read his coverage of the sff field: Reading List: Well, that was unexpected.

So, last week didn’t turn out as I’d expected it to. I was let go from The Verge: my last day was Wednesday. The reasons are both simple and complicated, and I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail, other than to say that I’m bummed to be out, will miss a bunch of my former co-workers, and being able to talk about some of the things that I really love to a big audience. I began work there three years ago, after applying on a complete whim. My time there has made me a much better writer from where I started, so that’s a plus. 

(7) BOND FILM GETS NAME. Esquire, in “‘No Time To Die’: Bond 25 Title And Release Date Are Finally Confirmed” says we know what the new Bond movie is and when it will be released.

At last – at long, long, long last – the next James Bond film has its title. Bond 25 can officially nestle in the bin with Shatterhand, Eclipse, A Reason To Die and however many other mooted titles which came and went….

It’s officially titled No Time To Die. It’s got a very punchy logo, and it’s out in the UK on 3 April 2020 and 8 April 2020 in the US.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • August 20, 1973 — George Lucas signed the contract to shoot a movie called Star Wars.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 20, 1883 Austin Tappan Wright. Did you know that Islandia wasn’t published when he was alive? His widow edited his fifteen hundred page manuscript for publication, and following her own death in 1937 their daughter Sylvia further edited and cut the text; the resulting novel, shorn of Wright’s appendices, was published in 1942, along with a pamphlet by Basil Davenport, An introduction to Islandia; its history, customs, laws, language, and geography, based on the original supplementary material. (Died 1931.)
  • Born August 20, 1890 Howard P. Lovecraft. Virtually unknown during his lifetime, he was published only in pulp magazines before he died in poverty. He’s regarded now as one of our most important authors of horror and weird fiction. He is not the originator of the term Cthulhu mythos, that honor goes to August Derleth. (Died 1937.)
  • Born August 20, 1932 Anthony Ainley. He was the fourth actor to play the role of the Master, and the first actor to portray the Master as a recurring role since the death of Roger Delgado in 1973. He appeared in eleven stories with the Fourth through Seventh Doctors.  It is noted that enjoyed the role so much that sources note he even stayed in character when not portraying The Master by using both the voice and laugh in social situations. (Died 2004.)
  • Born August 20, 1943 Sylvester McCoy, 76. The Seventh Doctor and the last until the modern era of the official BBC Doctors. He also played Radagast in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, he’s The Old Man of Hoy in Sense8 and he voices Aezethril the Wizard in the “Endgame” episode of Thunderbirds Are Go
  • Born August 20, 1947 Alan Lee, 72. Book illustration and film conceptual designer. I think one of his most impressive works is the Tolkien centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings which he did all the art for. Though his first edition cover of Holdstock’s Lavondyss: Journey to an Unknown Region s damn impressive too. Though I don’t  like the storytelling of The Hobbit films, his and John Howe ‘s conceptual design is fantastic.
  • Born August 20, 1948 John Noble, 71. He’s best known as Dr. Walter Bishop on Fringe, and Henry Parrish on Sleepy Hollow. He’s also played Denethor in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And he voiced Brainiac in Superman: Unbound, a superb film. 
  • Born August 20, 1951 Greg Bear, 68. Blood Music which won both a Nebula Award for Best Novelette and a Hugo Award for Best Novelette is an amazing read. I’m also very fond of the Songs of Earth and Power duology, The Infinity Concerto and The Serpent Mage, and found his Queen of Angels a fascinating mystery.
  • Born August 20, 1957 Mary Stävin, 62. It’s not often we get someone in two Bond films, both of them Roger Moore affairs. In Octopussy, she played an Octopussy girl, and in A View to a Kill, she played agent Kimberley Jones. In the low budget Italian SF film Alien Terminator, she’s Maureen De Havilland, and in Howling V: The Rebirth, she’s Anna. 
  • Born August 20, 1962 Sophie Aldred, 57. She’s Ace, the Seventh Doctor’s Companion. (By the way Doctor Who Magazine: Costume Design: Dressing the Doctor from William Hartnell to Jodie Whittaker is a brilliant read and has a nice look at her costuming.) She’s reprised the role in the Big Finish audio adventures. 
  • Born August 20, 1962 James Marsters, 57. Spike in Buffyverse. He’s also played Brainiac on Smallville, Captain John Hart on Torchwood, Barnabas Greeley on Caprica, and Victor Stein on the Runaways. Oh and he voiced Lex Luthor in Superman: Doomsday.
  • Born August 20, 1963 Justina Vail Evans, 56. Olga Vukavitch in Seven Days, a series I thought was extremely well crafted. She shows up in other genre series such as Super ForceThe Adventures of SuperboyThe X-Files, Conan and Highlander: The Series

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Today’s Speed Bump is about a disappointing turnout for an author’s event.

(11) UNDER THE LID. This week Alasdair Stuart’s The Full Lid dives into the heady, deadly romance of This is How You Lose The Time War and explores what happens to aging when we live…Longer. Rounded out by an early review of the wonderful Moonbase Theta, and Out’s second season, click here to read it: “The Full Lid 16th August 2019”. Excerpt from the Time War review —

A duel is a romance with different syncopation. A game is a conversation with rules. A dance is a fight you both get to win. A waltz between the seconds, a volta across parallel timelines. All of it driven by tempo and need, the percussion of war, the brass of ideologies clashing. The Hans Zimmer siren of massive concepts crashing against each other, of miniature disasters and minor catastrophes stitching themselves into the quilt of the world.

In the midst of all of this, Red and Blue. Soldiers. Assassins, Gardeners (Although only one would think of themselves as such), rivals and slowly, surely, something much, much more.

(12) ARE THE LIGHTS STILL ON? Camestros Felapton surmises that Vox Day’s “Castalia House has stopped publishing new science fiction”.

…The last blog post at Castalia’s blog leading with “Castalia New Release” was in November 2018 and was Day’s non-fiction riposte to Jordan Peterson. ISFDB has only one entry for Castalia in 2018 (Nick Cole’s republished Soda Pop Soldier) and while I know they are missing some titles (e.g. Cole’s sequel to that book from 2018), it is a sharp contrast from 2014-2017.

John C Wright’s “Nowither: The Drowned World” was published in 2019 but the series has shifted from Castalia to Superversive Press. Newer writer Kai Weah Cheah published a sequel with Castalia early in 2018 but his more recent books have been with Russell Newquist’s Silver Empire….

(13) BOOTH OBIT. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.] “Richard Booth: Bookshop owner and ‘king of Hay-on-Wye’ dies”. “I made the pilgrimage there before Conspiracy; If I recall, Jo Walton got married there.”

Richard Booth, who turned Hay-on-Wye into a second-hand bookshop capital, has died aged 80.

He was responsible for transforming the market town in Powys into the world’s foremost home for books.

Mr Booth – who dubbed himself “king of Hay” opened his first bookshop in the town’s former fire station in 1961 and was honoured with an MBE in 2004.

Anne Addyman, from Addyman’s Books, said: “This town has become what it is because of him.”

(14) PORTALESS FANTASY? A BBC writer takes “A bizarre journey beyond Earth’s borders”.

The Kcymaerxthaere is our global link to a ‘parallel universe’. So why don’t more people know it exists?

There’s a well-known saying from Ralph Waldo Emerson that goes: ‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey’.

That’s kind of how I was feeling, standing in the middle of the Malzfabrik – an enormous art and design centre that began as a malting plant more than a century ago – in Berlin’s Tempelhof neighbourhood. I’d walked 20 minutes from the closest U-Bahn station, along wide, tree-lined streets almost vacant of other pedestrians to reach these towering red-brick buildings and their main square.

I was well off the city’s typical tourist routes, and since my phone’s wi-fi kept cutting out (and the lovely woman at the Malzfabrik’s front desk had never heard of the ‘Kcymaerxthaere’), I’d been wandering around this massive industrial property for over half an hour, searching for signs to a parallel universe. Finding the first one – a pillar-mounted plaque describing Sentrists, a people so self-absorbed that the centre of the universe shifts a bit when more than a few of them get together – was fairly easy, but the others (including a marker tucked within the Malzfabrik’s entry garden) took a bit more sleuthing.

“You’re looking for what?” asked my friend Maria, with whom I was staying in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood, when I told her about the Kcymaerxthaere, or ‘Kcy’ – an ongoing, global, three-dimensional storytelling experience that has 140 installations, including a series of mostly square bronze plaques (or ‘markers’) and more complex ‘historic sites’, spread over six continents and 29 countries. Each installation pays tribute to a conceived ‘parallel universe’ called the Kcymaerxthaere, and shares bits of larger stories that are said to have taken place at or around corresponding locations in our own ‘linear’ world, but within an alternate dimension. It can be a heady thing to wrap your mind around.

(15) MACROPROCESSOR. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.] Not quite what Bill Higgins and Barry Gehm wrote of 40 years ago (*), but big enough: “Cerebras reveals world’s ‘largest computer chip’ for AI tasks”.

A Californian-based start-up has unveiled what it says is the world’s largest computer chip.

The Wafer Scale Engine, designed by Cerebras Systems, is slightly bigger than a standard iPad.

The firm says a single chip can drive complex artificial intelligence (AI) systems in everything from driverless cars to surveillance software.

…Cerebras’ new chip has 400,000 cores, all linked to each other by high-bandwidth connections.

The firm suggests this gives it an advantage at handling complex machine learning challenges with less lag and lower power requirements than combinations of the other options.

Cerebras claims the Wafer Scale Engine will reduce the time it takes to process some complex data from months to minutes.

(*) from “Home on Lagrange” (with respect to the advertised possibility of growing huge crystals in orbit): “It had 392 pins, drew fifty-seven amps of current, had a heat sink the size of a Cadillac. They called it … Macroprocessor”. (Per The NESFA Hymnal — the addition does not appear on the permitted onlining at http://www.jamesoberg.com/humor.html, so I’m not sure whether it’s original or part of the filk process.)

(16) INDIA CRAFT ARRIVES IN LUNAR ORBIT. BBC reports“Chandrayaan-2: India spacecraft begins orbiting Moon”.

India’s second lunar exploration mission has entered the Moon’s orbit, nearly a month after blasting off, officials have said.

Chandrayaan-2 began its orbit of the Moon at 09:02 local time (04:32 GMT) on Tuesday.

The craft completed the manoeuvre in around 30 minutes, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the mission as “an important step in the landmark journey”.

K Sivan, head of Isro, said he was confident Chandrayaan-2 would land on the Moon as planned on 7 September.

…Chandrayaan-2 (Moon vehicle 2) will try to land near the little-explored south pole of the Moon.

The mission will focus on the lunar surface, searching for water and minerals and measuring moonquakes, among other things.

See near the end of this BBC article for the orbital reason it took most of a month after launch to reach the moon.

(17) SHOW’S OVER. “‘World’s oldest webcam’ to be switched off” – BBC has the story.

The world’s oldest continuously working webcam is being switched off after 25 years.

The Fogcam was set up in 1994 to watch how the weather changed on the San Francisco State University campus.

It has broadcast almost continuously since then barring regular maintenance and the occasional need for it to be re-sited to maintain its view.

Its creators said it was being shut down because there were now no good places to put the webcam.

[Thanks to Nicholas Whyte, Trey Palmer, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

29 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/20/19 My Name Is Pixel, Scrolled Pixel

  1. (9) A very Doctor Who birthday list (I love it)

    John Noble had an hilariously-meta cameo in “Legends of Tomorrow” a few years back. Because Noble voiced the unseen villain in the series (Malus, I think), the heroes hijacked the “real” Nobel from the set of LoTR (the heroes have a time machine of course) and tricked him into saying lines that they hoped to use to mislead the villain’s main servant.

  2. Andrew says A very Doctor Who birthday list (I love it)

    I don’t think I could’ve pushed it any higher than four actors if I tried. Though it has been around for fifty years, so a lot of performers have cycled through it…

  3. I’d be fairly surprised if there weren’t many days with more Doctor Who actots having birthdays, but I doubt there can be as many high profile common birthdays who worked together.

  4. 4) People who use Goodreads or Librarything, is there a way to get statistics on reading habits? I noticed some 10-15 years ago how much more of the books I read that had female authors with a very large dominance in Fantasy (I think it might have lessened a bit since I’ve moved away from urban fantasy). It would be interesting to compare my own increase of the female share with those of the Hugo’s.

    I have also started to notice the same thing happening in graphic novels, but that might also be affected because I’ve moved away from Manga. So another thing that would be interesting to see is if the distribution is caused by reading more women creators in my old genres or how much is caused by finding new interesting genres.

    Is goodreads or librarything good to get stats on ones reading habits or are there other tools available?

  5. (9) Given we saw Sylvester McCoy regenerate into Paul McGann in the 1996 tv movie, doesn’t the latter count as “official“?

  6. @2: I’m not sure whether to trust Morgan’s report that random publishers filled up the Hugo Losers party — I’ve seen her get secondhand facts wrong before (and I’d argue with her broad tarring of the party itself) — but that would still leave the question of whether there were too many invitations handed out, or the door people let in people without invites (and if the latter, how much filtering fans can do if a publisher pulls a Majel Barrett on them). Reading further, I’m dismayed but not surprised to read that she was “blacklisted” (or at least not empaneled) at N4, and appalled at the report of a slam on the convention website. (No, I don’t remember hearing about it at the time, and I certainly didn’t see it; I was probably spending too much time floor-managing, but that and commuting meant I didn’t have time to spend online.)

    @8: I hadn’t realized it had taken that long from contract to release. I’m used to a year from start of shooting, and I’ve heard of taking a long time to get to the contract stage if there’s trouble finding backers (I found out a while ago that a scriptwriting classmate is trying to ~produce their next script and heard a bit of the long story); is the pre-shooting stage usually this long, or was there more time needed for a then-unusual work?

    @9: I haven’t reread those Bear works in some time, but I remember being awed by them originally. (The fact that I’ve performed a fair amount of Mozart and Mahler didn’t hurt.) I don’t care much for his later ~space-operatic stuff (and Darwin’s Radio seemed a ridiculous premise), but apparently it’s selling well enough that publishers are still buying — which is not a trivial achievement these days.

    @10: The author may have missed key reviews: “The Ten Commandments — faugh!” (Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth)

    It’s not nearly Heinlein’s “mobile infantry”, but developers of assistive suits have reached an important step: “Racing toward the future while wearing robots“.

  7. @Hampus Eckerman

    As a long (13 years+) and heavy (8000+ works cataloged) user of LibraryThing I have to say that LT sucks for reading stats. It can log reading dates (multiple per edition if needed) and it has all the data on author gender, nationality, age and all that (when entered by the community, but for the “popular” author’s it mostly is), but there is no way LT automatically generates any reporting, stats or overviews of this data. The only reports/overviews/stats are for your library as a whole, so the only way to track this info in your reading is to only catalog what you read, not what you own (which to me defeats the purpose, so I don’t use LT to track reading at all but use my own offline DB for that). It doesn’t even have stats on number of books/pages read in a year…

  8. @Hampus Eckerman

    4) People who use Goodreads or Librarything, is there a way to get statistics on reading habits? I noticed some 10-15 years ago how much more of the books I read that had female authors with a very large dominance in Fantasy (I think it might have lessened a bit since I’ve moved away from urban fantasy). It would be interesting to compare my own increase of the female share with those of the Hugo’s.

    I use an extensive tagging system on Goodreads (Goodreads calls tags “shelves”), including tags for author gender and subgenre, which then lets me generate my own statistics. But there’s no way to get Goodreads to directly generate those statistics, no–you have to put in the work tagging things as you add them, and you could just as easily do that by tracking your reading in a spreadsheet. I just like the Goodreads interface better. The only stats Goodreads itself will generate have to do with ratings, publication dates, and pages read over time.

  9. Steve Green asksGiven we saw Sylvester McCoy regenerate into Paul McGann in the 1996 tv movie, doesn’t the latter count as “official“?

    Good question. My understanding was that McGann wasn’t considered official by BBC. Certainly they didn’t refer to him at all until quite recently. He is by the way the Doctor who has done the most audio adventures for Big Finish.

  10. Cat wrote

    My understanding was that McGann wasn’t considered official by BBC. Certainly they didn’t refer to him at all until quite recently.

    Not my understanding. The vast bulk of his stories are not considered official, sure, being either books (73 novels) or audio spin offery, but I think the pre-Eccleston Doctor Who pages on the BBC featured all eight Doctors.

  11. McGann’s image is shown in the Tennant-era “The Next Doctor” so at that point I’d guess he became official.

  12. (1) My biggest surprises were how low “Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach”, Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, and “The Court Magician” placed (I had them at #1 in their respective categories, and they all finished last or next to last). Granted, it was a strong field of finalists all over.

    (12) And nothing of value was lost.

  13. The BBC put out a McGann mini-episode around the anniversary, Night of the Doctor,showing him regenerating into the War Doctor. I can’t imagine any doubt of his officiality/canonicity remaining after that…

  14. Jeff R. says The BBC put out a McGann mini-episode around the anniversary, Night of the Doctor,showing him regenerating into the War Doctor. I can’t imagine any doubt of his officiality/canonicity remaining after that…

    I said recently. All y’all have done is confirm my statement. For the longest time, BBC pretty much ignored his existence.

  15. @Cat: If I recall correctly, the early years of the new “Doctor Who” were very reluctant to mention any of the previous Doctors’ adventures so that it was possible to think of the new series as a completely new start. However, in Tenant’s era, as soon as mentions of any earlier doctors were made (I think first in “Human Nature/the Family of Blood” https://tardis.fandom.com/wiki/A_Journal_of_Impossible_Things_(Human_Nature) ) McGann was included.

  16. The BBC published a series of 73 Eighth Doctor Adventures, all novels featuring McGann’s Doctor, between 1997 and June 2005. I think that is fairly strong evidence that they considered him “official”! More to the point, Eccleston was always described as the Ninth Doctor, even if the TV series took its time about mentioning the other eight.

    And I think that the return of Sarah Jane Smith in the 2006 story School Reunion could be considered the first intrusion of Old Who into New Who, Daleks apart. That’s a year before the Human Nature/Family of Blood visual reference to the previous nine Doctors.

  17. My time was consumed by Worldcon and we have one more day in Dublin before we go home and I have a proper keyboard again.

    I am so sorry I missed the meetup! I did get to see Hampus, Cora, and JJ. So that was something. I shall try to do better in DC!

  18. Meredith Moment: Nicky Drayden’s Temper is $1.99 in Amazon Kindle today. This was one of my favorite novels of 2018.

  19. Hugo-related question: is the number of supporting memberships available anywhere? If it’s been posted, I’ve missed it.

    Thanks in advance for any info!

  20. (9) happy birthday, Austin Tappan Wright, author of one of my favorite books, Islandia. Imagine an American, writing about sustainable development in the first half of the 20th century!

  21. Msb notes happy birthday, Austin Tappan Wright, author of one of my favorite books, Islandia. Imagine an American, writing about sustainable development in the first half of the 20th century!

    There’s a weird cottage industry of folks writing sequels to Islandia, mostly in the past few decades. Particularly interesting as the novel itself is still protected by copyright so the characters and setting are not in the public domain.

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