Pixel Scroll 2/25/18 I, Pixel

By JJ:

(1) ALSO #METOO. In a follow-on to Myke Cole’s mea culpa as reported in the February 15 Pixel Scroll (item #3) about a thread on industry harassment at School Library Journal, author Janci Patterson, in a post entitled “Sexual Harassment, Apologies, and Forgiveness” explains how Cole’s willingness to own, and apologize for, his past behavior has made a huge difference in her life:

That is what it was like being a woman in publishing who had been harassed. I watched people discrediting the women who spoke up on the basis of their comments being anonymous. If it was true, why would they need anonymity?

I knew why. After Zoe Quinn, women in my position all know. We are all one internet post away from being Zoe Quinn.

And then Myke apologized. If you haven’t yet, take a minute and read what he wrote. What he says describes my experience exactly. It’s a damn good apology. He admits to what he did, in specific terms. He expresses that he was unaware that he did it, but he doesn’t treat that as an excuse. He addresses his victims directly and says he’s sorry. He expresses additional sorrow. He talks about both what he’s going to do to make reparations and also how he’s going to address his behavior going forward.

Reading that changed the whole world for me. I had been watching the cultural shifts in our post-#metoo, post-Weinstein-scandal world, but for me, this was the final piece. In that moment, I went from a scared woman with a difficult secret to a woman who could speak authentically. Who could tell the truth. No one could jump on me in any kind of credible way anymore. It was true. It happened. Myke admitted it was true. He saw the hypocrisy in his feminism. He owned it.

He set me free.

Another SFF author who was mentioned in the comments on the SLJ thread, Dan Wells, also posted his thoughts on harassment and being willing to step up and do better:

I have always believed that you should believe a woman who says she’s been harassed, so I believe these women, too.

And then I was accused of being a harasser.

And then the same woman recanted her accusation.

I do not know who this woman is, as she posted anonymously both times, but I want to take this opportunity to pubicly accept her apology, and to thank her for coming forward.

But here’s the thing: I believed her. Obviously I didn’t believe that I had assaulted someone and then forgotten about it, or anything ridiculous like that. But I was – and am – willing to believe that without intending to and without noticing I had done something to make a woman feel uncomfortable or unwelcome or unsafe…

I could have raged against the injustice of this comment – and to be perfectly honest, a part of me did – but the more useful, more helpful response was to sit down and take a good hard look at myself and my actions. What have I been doing, and what can I do in the future, to make the conventions I attend and the spaces I inhabit safer for other people?

Recanted accusation or not, I found some stuff I need to work on. Not a long history of abusive behavior, but a tune-up on boundaries, and on thinking before I speak.

(2) THE LATTER IS NOT RECOMMENDED. SFF author Jeremiah Tolbert spent last Saturday at the Planet ComicCon Kansas City 2018, and he says, “ComicCons Are More Fun With Children. You Should Make Some, or Steal Somebody’s”.

So given that I’m not big on photos with famous people (but definitely not above walking past autograph alley to oogle them and say, without fail, “oh, they’re shorter than I expected”), and I am not really a collector of toys or comics, why would I ever attend these things? Two simple reasons: to meet up with professionals attending who are good friends and to watch my tiny human
lose.
his.
shit.
Little Dude Tolbert (hereafter referred to LDT) will be four in June, and he’s developing into quite the little protogeek.

 

(3) CONTRACTUALLY DEFICIENT. In a public post on Patreon, Jason Sanford reported:

Since the first of the year I’ve written a couple of times about Spectacle Magazine, a new quarterly speculative fiction publication (see here and here for previous articles). The magazine is published and edited by Kevin Hale and Danny Dumas and aims to be a high-end venue for thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction focused on SF/F themes.

Three days ago the Spectacle’s editors sent out a number of story acceptances. Normally you’d expect authors to be excited about acceptances, but news quickly spread that many of them were not happy with the contract terms being offered. I personally had multiple authors contact me about issues around the contracts they were offered…

There are several issues there, including with derivative rights. At worst this derivative rights grab could allow Spectacle to create films or video games or nearly anything else using the stories they purchased and the authors wouldn’t be able to object.

There are also other issues with the contract, such as not laying out when the work would be published or that the rights will revert to the author in the case the story is never published.

Shortly afterward, Spectacle Magazine published the following tweet:

Another author on Twitter noted, with astonishment:

(4) DEADLINE EXTENDED. Worldcon 76 has announced that the deadline for submissions to their Academic Track have been extended to March 1, 2018:

Participants in the Academic Track will have a chance at winning a “Best Academic Track Paper” cash prize from The Heinlein Society.  This $250 prize will be awarded based on the presentations as given at Worldcon 76.  Given this new opportunity, we will extend the submission deadline to March 1st.

Details on submitting can be found at the Worldcon 76 website.

(5) THIS IS THE FUTURE THAT FILERS WANT. Via Foz Meadows:

http://peppylilspitfuck.tumblr.com/post/171099260572/fozmeadows-majorgenerally-writing-prompt-s

(6) TAKING CREDIT. Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in her latest column “Business Musings: Editorial Encroachment”, comments on the recent trend she’s been seeing of editors requiring equal authorial credit on books:

Last week, as I was searching for a friend’s book on Amazon, I made a loathsome discovery. My friend’s book, which is up for preorder, lists her name and the name of someone else on the byline.

I had never heard of that someone else. So I clicked on the preorder, and what did I see? A cover, with just my friend’s name on it.

So I glanced up at the title. Beneath it was this byline:

My Friend (Author), Annoying Person (Editor)

I went through the roof. My friend wrote that book. She hired Annoying Person to edit the book.

I looked up Annoying Person and found her terms and conditions. She sounds like a fairly knowledgeable editor. She only handles copy editing and line editing (although it sounds like she would have a pretty heavy hand). She explicitly says she does not do developmental editing.

Which means she has done exactly nothing on this book. She didn’t come up with the concept. She didn’t brainstorm the characters. She didn’t improve the plot. She didn’t imagine the setting.

All she did was tweak the words.

So why the hell is she getting credit for this book?

Rusch explains in detail why she believes that going along with this is damaging to an author’s brand, and offers advice to authors who are faced with such contracts by their editors.

(7) CHESHIRE CATS. In a Twitter thread, lindsay beth explains how your SJW Credential always manages to magically appear, despite not having been in any of the places you’ve looked: (click the date/time stamp to read the whole thread)

(8) NEBULOSITY. Filer Cora Buhlert has posted “Some Thoughts on the 2017 Nebula Award Nominees”, and offers her thoughts on the shortlists of the various categories as well as some possible trends.

In general, what’s notable about the adult fiction categories is that Uncanny dominates the short fiction categories, followed by Tor.com and Clarkesworld. Tor.com absolutely dominates the novella category, while Orbit dominates best novel. The decline of the big three print magazines continues. F&SF and Asimov’s managed to garner one nomination each, while Analog didn’t get any at all. Only a single nominee in the fiction categories is self-published. Thematically, I don’t see a clear trend beyond a preferences for works with historical settings.

Buhlert’s piece contains more detailed analysis of individual entries, as well as of the levels of diversity reflected by the shortlist authors.

 

(9) DOCTOR WHEN. The Gallifrey Times says that during the February 21 BBC Worldwide Showcase Panel at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, it appeared to be confirmed that Doctor Who will be returning in October 2018.

In the background, we see a promotional photo of the Thirteenth Doctor with some text that reads:

Series 11 – 1×65 – 9×50 – delivers October 2018

You can view the Liverpool Echo’s photo gallery of the event here.

(10) ACHIEVEMENT GATEKEPT. Experienced gamer and blogger Mysty Vander describes how she conquered her social anxiety to attend a gaming convention in 2017, only to be confronted with outrageous sexism, in “Honey, Let the Real Gamers Play”:

We reached a point where my Gunslinger passed a search check nobody else did. I had found a letter. My character was quiet, stoic, and kept to herself – she likely would only divulge the necessary information. When the GM took the letter out, he handed it to the man playing Freya instead of myself. Okay…that’s fine, not a big deal, as long as I get to read it in the end (being partially deaf at a convention, I truly needed to read it with my own eyes to understand all of it).

That didn’t quite happen. Freya’s player read it, passed it along to the older man beside him, and then the note went no further. “Oh, so we need to find the South Gate?” Freya inquired.

The player beside him responded, “Seems like it,” and handed the note back to the GM.

“May I see the note?” I asked.

Without hesitation, the player playing Freya responded, “No need, we know what it meant, sweetie,” he said with a smile.

(11) JUMPING ON THE MAPWAGON. The February 19 Pixel Scroll (item #9), mentions an artist who has done Lord of the Rings-style maps of UK and US National Parks. Kim Huett points out that an Australian artist has done a map of Canberra in the style of Game of Thrones.

(12) BIRTHDAYS.

  • Born February 25, 1966Alexis Denisof (The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Born February 25, 1966Téa Leoni (Deep Impact, Jurassic Park III)
  • Born February 25, 1971Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things)
  • Born February 25, 1986Jameela Jamil (The Good Place)

(13) BUG REPORTS. In xkcd’s 2018 CVE List, Randall Munroe details the most recently-discovered Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures of software, of which we must all be wary. Be sure to mouseover the image for a special Security Disclosure.

(14) DEBUNKING THE MYTHS. In “Hugo Myth Season Again”, Cheryl Morgan dispels the idea that nominators must have read exhaustively in order to be legitimate nominators:

Voting is open for this year’s Hugo Awards, and consequently I need to get back to dispelling the strange ideas about the Hugos that seem to proliferate at this time of the year.

This post has been inspired in particular by the latest episode of the Coode Street Podcast where Gary and Jonathan do their usual fine job, but don’t quite get everything right.

Something that they do get right is the “I haven’t read enough” myth. Every year people trot out the idea that if you haven’t read “everything” then you are not eligible to nominate. This is nonsense.

However, Morgan says that there is another persistent myth to which even the Coode Street Regulars have fallen, which must be corrected:

Finally we come to the bit where the podcast goes totally off the rails. Jonathan resurrects one of the best known zombies of Hugo lore, the idea that the Hugos were once for science fiction only and were later changed to include fantasy. This is not entirely Jonathan’s fault. He got the story from Justin Ackroyd. I have had this discussion with Justin before. He was wrong then and he is still wrong now.

 

(15) I GOT YOUR EXHIBIT RIGHT HERE. Filer von Dimpleheimer, after seeing the announcement in the February 18 Pixel Scroll (item #21) that the exhibit “A Conversation Larger Than the Universe: Science Fiction and the Literature of the Fantastic from the Collection of Henry Wessells” would be taking place at The Grolier Club, stopped by when he was in the neighborhood. You can see his photos of the exhibit here.

– photo by von Dimpleheimer

(16) INADVERTENT DOXXING. In an article entitled “Furry Website Leaks Real Identities”, Medium contributor Sky raises some issues for concern regarding the registration software system used by a number of fannish conventions.

A “feature” in the popular convention registration system ‘Convention Master’ lets anyone find out your fursona name just by typing your real name.

The software is used widely by many conventions, especially in the furry scene. Civet Solutions, the maker of the software, boast “over one hundred and fifty thousand registrations processed.” If you’ve ever attended a furry convention, there’s decent odds they have your data on file… and are now leaking it with no plans to ever stop.

During online pre-registration, you enter your first and last name to see if you have an account at that convention. Unfortunately, anyone can do this. If you’ve ever pre-registered for that convention, or registered on site in a previous year, you have an account. And everyone can see you’ve attended that con with just your first and last name.

Even worse, your fursona name is also displayed.

Yep, that’s right. Anyone can find your fursona name if they know your real name.

Known affected furry cons:

  • Alamo City Furry Invasion
  • Califur
  • Fur-Eh!
  • Furlandia
  • Pacific Anthropomorphics Weekend
  • Scotiacon
  • Vancoufur
  • Wild Prairie Fur Con

Known affected non-furry cons:

  • Arisia
  • RustyCon

The article’s author discusses potential personal and professional implications of the public accessibility of members’ information, as well as possible avenues for remediation. They have also added a follow-up:

UPDATE NOTE: This article was updated with a section of feedback from Civet Solutions at the end of the article. Although the real name look-up feature in question will unfortunately not be removed from the software in future, I encourage you to read the update over to better understand their point of view and their future development plans.

(17) OLD PEOPLE READ YOUR SFF. In the past, James Davis Nicoll took requests on a commission basis only. However, he has now opened a Suggestion Box. There’s no guarantee that the work you suggest will be reviewed; however, submissions are welcome.

(18) YOU SHOULD SEE THIS. At Skiffy and Fanty, Stephen Geigen-Miller offers his “Best Graphic Story Hugo Recommendations”:

One of my biggest personal goals with these reviews – I mention this in the introduction to every column, and unpacked it a bit in my Month of Joy post – is to bring more, and different, deserving SFFnal comics, webcomics and graphic novels to the attention of SF&F readers.

That’s especially important when when it gets to be Hugo nomination season; I want to see a diverse, inclusive, smart Best Graphic Story category that reflects the breadth of the material that’s out there, and I want other genre readers to have the chance to find and fall in love with those comics, like I have.

(19) WHY SETI IS CONTRAINDICATED.

(20) ANNIHILATED. At The Verge, Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland talks about using sci-fi to explore self-destruction:

I think the main thematic preoccupation probably belongs primarily to the film, which is really about self-destruction. It’s about the nature of self-destruction in a literal sense: cells have life cycles and stars have life cycles and plants and the universe and us. You, me, everyone. But also psychological forms of self-destruction.

It was born out of a funny kind of preoccupation I started to have, that everybody is self-destructive, which is a strange thing to notice. I think a lot of self-destruction is very obvious. [Gestures to cigarettes on the table.] That’s an obvious self-destruction, right? And if a friend of yours is a heroin addict or an alcoholic, that’s an obvious kind of self-destruction. But there are also… You’ve also got friends, or people you encounter, who are super comfortable in their own skin, and very self-possessed, and feel like they have understood some sort of secret to existence that you’re not party to. And then you start to see, no, that’s not quite right. It’s more complicated than that. And fissures and fault lines appear, and between the fissures and the fault lines, you see bits of behavior that doesn’t really make sense – like they’re dismantling things in their lives for no good reason.

In “People Have Accused Annihilation of Whitewashing. Here’s How Its Director and Stars RespondedTIME Magazine reports:

Anticipation for the movie has been high since the release of the first trailer last fall. But recently, some, including the advocacy group Media Action Network for Asian Americans, have accused the film of whitewashing the roles played by Portman’s and Leigh’s characters, saying the characters on which they are based are of Asian descent and Native American descent, respectively, in the trilogy. In a statement, Alieesa Badreshia, an MANAA board member, said that writer-director Alex Garland “exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character.”

Others have pointed out that revelations of the two characters’ ethnic backgrounds are not made until subsequent books in the series.

In response to the criticism, Garland provided the following statement to TIME:

This is an awkward problem for me, because I think whitewashing is a serious and real issue, and I fully support the groups drawing attention to it.

But the characters in the novel I read and adapted were not given names or ethnicities. I cast the film reacting only to the actors I met in the casting process, or actors I had worked with before. There was no studio pressure to cast white. The casting choices were entirely mine.

As a middle-aged white man, I can believe I might at times be guilty of unconscious racism, in the way that potentially we all are. But there was nothing cynical or conspiratorial about the way I cast this movie.

While Portman, Leigh and Novotny are white, co-stars Thompson and Rodriguez are women of color. Oscar Isaac, who plays Portman’s character’s husband in the film, is of Guatemalan and Cuban descent.

 

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, James Davis Nicoll, Jason Sanford, Kim Huett, RedWombat, ULTRAGOTHA, and von Dimpleheimer for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 Contributing Editor of the Day JJ.]

2017 Ursa Major Awards Nominations Open

Image by EosFoxx

Nominations for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards have begun and will continue until February 15. Click here to participate.

To be eligible, a work must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical (for example the intelligent rabbits in Watership Down for the former, and Bugs Bunny for the latter.) Simply including an animal character is not sufficient to qualify. Non-animal characters such as Wall-E are also anthropomorphic.

The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote.

The twelve categories are: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Nonfiction, Published Illustration, Website, and Game.

Many nominations are likely to come from the 2017 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. However, inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible; first published during January to December 2017.

The final ballot will be announced on March 1 and voting will take place until the end of March.

The ballots will be counted, the trophies made, and the results will be announced at the award presentations in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, at FurDU 2018, scheduled for May 4-6.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

New Patten Anthology Features Anthropomorphic Animals at War

Dogs of War II: Aftermath, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Midwest FurFest 2017 in Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois over the November 30-December 3 four-day weekend.  The book can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet Productions.  It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.

Dogs of War II: Aftermath is an all-original anthology of 20 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals (not just dogs) in military scenarios, from battle action to boot camps, from the past to the future, on land, at sea, and in space.

From bioengineered military dogs with Artificial Intelligence to a fawn trying to prove he is a stag, a horse sailor on a warship, a canid-ape space war, a self-aware robot bird, a fox soldier passed over for a deserved promotion, reindeer Vikings, animal Sea Bees constructing an island airstrip, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment.

Contents

  • Dog, Extended, by Cairyn
  • Remembrance, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden
  • Scars, by Televassi
  • The Surface Tension, by Dwale
  • My Brother’s Shadow, by M. R. Anglin
  • Close to Us, by MikasiWolf
  • Lime Tiger, by Slip-Wolf
  • Umbra’s Legion: The Destruction of Ismara, by Geoff Galt
  • Umbra’s Legion: Charon’s Obol, by Adam Baker
  • The Call, by Lord Ikari
  • Every Horse Will Do His Duty, by Thurston Howl
  • Matched Up, by K. Hubschmid
  • The Son of Goulon Stumptail, by NightEyes DaySpring
  • Noble, by Thomas “Faux” Steele
  • Trial by Error, by Jaden Drackus
  • The Night the Stars Fell, by KC Alpinus
  • Tears of the Sea, by MikasiWolf
  • The Pack, by Argyron
  • Red Engines, by Kris Schnee
  • Going Home, by Miles Reaver

Price:  $19.95.  478 pages.  Wraparound cover by Teagan Gavet.   ISBN 978-1-61450-397-2.

Pixel Scroll 9/9/17 The Map Is Not The Epic Fantasy Just As The Pixel Is Not The Scroll

(1) FURRY COUNCILMAN OUSTED. A city councilman in the eastern U.S. was pressured into quitting after his activities as a furry fan became a source of public controversy. The Danbury, Connecticut News Times has the story: “New Milford councilman resigns after furor over ‘furry’ activities”.

Town Council member Scott Chamberlain had never made a secret of his deep involvement in Furry Fandom, a subculture of adults who dress in mascot-like animal costumes, attend role-playing conventions and interact regularly online.

But an uproar ensued when a town resident posted on a community Facebook page several screenshots of Chamberlain’s profile from a private website catering to “furries,” many of whom participate in or write about unusual sexual practices. The profile includes a list of Chamberlain’s “loves,” “likes” and “hates,” some sexual in nature, but also said that he “tolerates” rape.

In an interview at midday Thursday, Chamberlain explained his involvement in the “furry” community as a harmless hobby.

“It’s nothing to do with sex; it’s an interest in cartoon animals,” said the first-term Democrat, who was up for re-election.

But Mayor David Gronbach, saying elected officials should be held to a “higher standard,” called for Chamberlain’s immediate resignation, and within two hours party officials said he would resign all his town and party positions by Monday morning.

(2) PROGRESS. The “Help Lezli See (Eye Surgery)” campaign has now raised $6,525 of its $8,000 goal. The contributions have come from 130 donors, including Game of Thrones producer David Benioff.

(3) GENRE GROWTH. At Amazing Stories David Gerrold has a guest editorial, “Humanity’s’ R&D Department – Science Fiction”.

The evolution of science fiction is a reflection of our changing culture. Attitudes that were commonplace in the past have been recognized as antiquated, quaint, and obsolete.

Our national conversation is the result of our diverse history. We’re not the proverbial melting pot — no, we’re a tossed salad. Every new wave of immigrants adds new ingredients to the mix, new flavors to discover; but all arrive with the same dream, a place to build a better life. We are immigrants, or we are the descendants of immigrants, and as a people we are learning to recognize the strength and value of our national diversity — it gives us a greater sense of the global village.

So, yes, it is inevitable that science fiction authors will explore that diversity — expanded roles for women, new definitions of gender and sexuality, the contributions of People of Color and other non-white ethnicities. We’ve discovered the overlooked skills of the aged and the disabled, the unusual and extraordinary ratiocinations of people who are neuro-atypical. The next generation of authors are exploriong vast new landscapes of possibility — places to explore and discover ways of being human previously unconsidered.

Even as science extends its reach outward, probes journeying as far as Pluto, telescopes peering to the farthest edges of the universe, as we expand our knowledge of what’s out there, some of our most ambitious authors are turning their attention to a different frontier —exploring the workings of the human soul.

We’ve seen some remarkable work, truly transformative — mind bending. Yes, it’s non-traditional — so what? Science fiction has always been non-traditional. It has always been “that weird stuff.” It has always been subtly subversive — and sometimes even openly dangerous.

(4) SPACE FOR YOU. Brandon O’Brien muses about the genre:

Further down he says:

(5) STRANGE HORIZONS. Elsewhere, O’Brien encourages people to participate in the “Strange Horizons Fund Drive 2017”. $4,726 out of $16,000.

(6) AWARD WORTHY. The Hugo Award Book Club waxes nostalgic about “The science fiction art of Erik Nitsche”.

There was no Hugo Award given for Best Artist in 1957 at the 15th Worldcon in London. But since awards were given in other categories, there is no provision in the current rules of the WSFS constitution to award any Retro Hugos for that year. Which is a shame, because some of the finest work from one of the most innovative graphic designers of the era had started verging into the realm of science fiction in 1955 and 1956. The name Erik Nitsche is rarely brought up in conversations of science fiction, but is well-known to historians of graphic design. In 1955, the Swiss-born designer had been hired by General Dynamics to create promotional imagery for the organization’s annual International Conferences on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (ICPUAE).

(7) WASTED ON THE YOUNG? In The Guardian, Joanna Walsh asserts “All the awards for young writers amount to discrimination”.

A few years ago I wrote an article for the Guardian on ageism in the literary world, about the predilection of publications like Granta, the New Yorker and Buzzfeed for authors under the age of 40. The problem hasn’t gone away and on Tuesday I wrote an open letter to the Royal Society of Literature, after it called for nominations for 40 new fellows under 40.

Encouraging young writers is laudable. After all, it’s increasingly difficult to get started. Publishers’ advances are low and getting lower; arts degrees are more expensive than Stem subjects; social security is fiercely tested. Which must mean that those most able to pay for a writing course, or those most able to take time off work to write while still young, are those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence. There’s a correlation between setting an age bar and encouraging the already privileged.

All writers were young once, and many start writing young, but not all begin their careers as published authors at that point. Leaving aside the fact that some only decide to start writing later in life, many factors affect one’s ability to commit to writing seriously. Besides income issues, age bars can lead an organisation into worrying territory. Authors from outside the perceived cultural mainstream who do not already see their voices represented – LGBTQ writers, writers of colour – are sometimes slow to recognise the contribution they can make, or to feel like their voices will be valued.

Age is a feminist issue. Careers, delayed by years looking after children or other dependents, are mostly women; residencies that offer no childcare or require long stays are an easy way to sift female candidates out of contention. Older women are already told every day, in ways ranging from the subtle to the blatant, that they are irrelevant and should shut up. Multiply this by, say, race or gender, and the courage required to put work out is even greater. Or the potential writer might not be the carer, but the cared-for. Writers who live with a disability or ill-health may not start out until they have found a way to write with their condition – which may take longer than this 40-years-old rule allows for.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 9, 1927 — Silent horror-comedy The Cat and the Canary turns 90 today.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian found one it takes a moment to figure out: The Argyle Sweater.
  • It’s Daredevil vs. Spider-man at Bliss.

(10) JUST PLAIN FOWL. The Guardian profiles actor Michael Keaton: “Michael Keaton: ‘There was a lot of bad taste in the 90s and I contributed to that’”.

He has made a career out of taking the unpredictable route: you can never guess his next role, and then he never plays it the way you’d expect. In his breakthrough movie, 1983’s Mr Mom, Keaton played a stay-at-home father at a time when such a concept was almost unheard of, and he played him as a man who has no idea how to do any of the stereotypically masculine jobs around the house; when asked if he’s rewiring the house with 220 volts, Keaton adlibbed, “220, 221, whatever it takes”. He was the dazzlingly frenetic lead in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, a largely improvised performance opposite fellow ghosts Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. With Burton again, he played Batman as a conflicted nerd, rather than a grinning muscle man. In Birdman, he plays an actor so neurotic, he ends up running through Manhattan in his underwear.

(11) PRATCHETT INSPIRES FAST FOOD AD. Arby’s is known for its roast beef, not its Morpork….

(12) HISTORY CORRECTED. Have researchers finally discovered Sweden’s real-life version of Lady Brienne of Tarth or Xena the Warrior Princess? “Viking warrior found in Sweden was a woman, researchers confirm”.

The grave, which Hedenstierna-Jonson describes as the world’s “ultimate warrior Viking grave”, was discovered and excavated by Swedish archeologist Hjalmar Stolpe at the end of the 19th century. Because of the “manly” warrior equipment found in the grave, it was just assumed – rather than proven – that the remains were that of a man.

But a few years ago, Anna Kjellström, an osteologist at the Stockholm University, brought out the remains to study them for another research project and noticed that something was amiss. The cheekbones were finer and thinner than that of a man, and the hip bones were typically feminine. An osteological analysis was carried out, lending even more support to her suspicion.

Now, however, a DNA-analysis has been carried out, clearly confirming that the Viking warrior was indeed a woman.

(13) WEEDING THE PLOT. Your cabal curator, Shaun Duke:

(14) PLUNGE RIGHT IN. Beware: John Scalzi is a language prescriptivist and a plumber.

(15) GRITE LITERATURE. Camestros Felapton has had a busy day, posting chapters from Timothy the Talking Cat’s work in progress, Chiseled McEdifice: Returns.

Just then a gunshot rang out and a bullet ricocheted off his space marine helmet (he was wearing his space marine helmet obviously – look at the cover image). The HUD display flickered on in his helmet (no that isn’t ‘redundant’ I can’t just say ‘his HUD flickered on’ as that sounds perverted to me). Targeting identified a heat source 501.67 metres away to the north east.

“Enhance,” McEdifice vocalised and in some sort of cool special effect way the helmet magnified that area of his vision (with maybe a hi-tech noise like boop-ooohwushboop). It was one of the Treerat gang!

The Treerat Gang: a bunch of outlaws and pagan worshippers of the ancient demonic squirrel god. They had a lasting hate for McEdifice ever since he drove them and their filthy ways out of town and killed their leader in a shoot-out.

“Oh dear!” said McEdifice as he once again made a futile attempt to apply the brakes! Just then the front wheel hit a particularly large pebble! The bike crashed and McEdifice was thrown clear!

KABOOM! The bicycle exploded in a fiery explosion as a consequence of it hitting a rock. McEdifice rushed over and beat back the flames and then with one mighty flick of his shoulders he hoisted up the flaming bike and threw it into a near by pond which I should have probably mentioned earlier.

(16) NO TRUCE IN THE CULTURE WARS. Sadly, Lawrence Person ended his Jerry Pournelle obituary with an irrelevant shot at “SJWs”.

He edited a number of anthologies over the years; when he finally received a Hugo nomination for that, Social Justice Warrior bloc voting made sure he finished below No Award.

Person didn’t think it was important to mention that Pournelle was slated onto the 2016 ballot by the Rabid Puppies, which was the direct cause of that outcome. Or that Pournelle was nominated for eight other Hugos and finished above No Award every time.

(17) MEAT. What are they selling in this video? It’ll come to you eventually. Includes L. Ron and an alien.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Darren Garrison, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Montreal’s “What the Fur?” Ends Its Run

What the Fur (WTF?), a Montreal furry con, held its final event over the last weekend of July. The reason given was lack of volunteers to pick up the reins.

That leaves Otakuthon as the city’s only non-commercial con.

A fan has started a GoFundMe to help Feli (Christopher Pilgrim) pay the bills. It has raised $455 of its $5,000 goal as of this writing. However, the slow response may be because Christopher Pilgrim made no such request in his farewell comments and, in fact, said he was proud that this year’s con had managed to give over $900 to charity.

[Thanks to Cathy Palmer-Lister for the story.]

2016 Ursa Major Awards

Image by EosFoxx

The 2016 Ursa Major Awards were announced on June 30 at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh. The Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic works of the past calendar year, are presented by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA) in twelve categories, and are voted upon by the public on the Ursa Major Awards website, Ursa Major Awards website.

There were 1,446 votes this year, most from the U.S. but some from throughout the rest of the world. Below are listed the winners and nominees of the 2016 Ursa Major Awards.

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

Winner

  • Zootopia (Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush; February 11)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Finding Dory (Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane; June 17)
  • Sing (Directed by Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet; December 21)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 (Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni; January 29)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney; July 8)

Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series

Winner

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by James Thiessen, Jim Miller, Tim Stuby, and Denny Lu; Season 6 episodes 1 to 143 [TV])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • The Lion Guard (Directed by Howy Parkins; Season 1 episodes 1 to 22 [TV])
  • Bunnicula (Directed by Jessica Borutski, Maxwell Atoms, Robert F. Hughes, Matthew Whitlock, and Ian Wasseluk; Season 1 episodes 1 to 8 [TV])
  • Littlest Pet Shop (Directed by Joel Dickie, Steven Garcia, and Mike Myhre; Season 4 episode 10 to Season 4 episode 26 [TV])
  • Petals (Directed by Andrea Gallo and Alvaro Dominguez; November 29 [student film])

Best Anthropomorphic Novel

Winner

  • My Diary, by Fredrick Usiku Kruger, Lieutenant of the Rackenroon Hyena Brigade, by Kathy Garrison Kellog (The Cross Time Cafe; April 2)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • Dog Country, by Malcolm F. Cross (Amazon Digital Services; March 28)
  • Fracture, by Hugo Jackson (Inspired Quill; September 1)
  • The Origin Chronicles: Mineau, by Justin Swatsworth (Dolphyn Visions; June 14)

Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction

Winner

  • 400 Rabbits, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • A Gentleman of Strength, by Dwale, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Questor’s Gambit, by Mary E. Lowd, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • Marge the Barge, by Mary E. Lowd, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Sheeperfly’s Lullaby, by Mary E. Lowd, in GoAL #2 (Goal Publications; March 27)

Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

Winner

  • Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions; June 30 [anthology])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books; January 24 [anthology])
  • ROAR volume 7, ed. by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books; June 30 [anthology])
  • The Muse, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March [background booklet for Lucid’s Dream])
  • Hot Dish #2, ed. by Dark End (Sofawolf Press; December 1 [anthology])

Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work

Winner

  • The Art of Zootopia, by Jessica Julius (Chronicle Books; March 8 [book; making of feature film])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Fursonas (Directed by Dominic Rodriguez; May 10 [documentary film])
  • 17 Misconceptions About Furries and the Furry Fandom (Culturally F’d #23; February 11 [podcast])
  • CSI: Fur Fest; The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention, by Jennifer Swann (VICE Media; February 10 [Internet])
  • Burned Furs and How You Perceive Porn (Culturally F’d: After Dark; October 6 [podcast])

Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story

Winner

  • TwoKinds, by Tom Fischbach (Internet; January 6 to December 25)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Swords and Sausages, by Jan (Internet; January 10 to December 25)
  • Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler (Internet; Lackadaisy Sabbatical to Lackadaisy Headlong)
  • Lucid’s Dream, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March)
  • Endtown, by Aaron Neathery (Internet; January 1 to December 30)

Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip

Winner

  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 1 to December 30)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Savestate, by Tim Weeks (Internet; January 6 to December 28)
  • Carry On, by Kathy Garrison (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Kevin & Kell, by Bill Holbrook (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet; January 1 to December 29)

Best Anthropomorphic Magazine

Winner

  • Dogpatch Press, ed. by Patch Packrat (Internet; January 4 to December 20)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Fur What It’s Worth (Podcast; Season 5 episode #8 to Season 6 episode #8)
  • InFurNation, ed. by Rod O’Riley (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • Flayrah, ed. by crossaffliction and GreenReaper (Internet; January 1 to December 29)
  • Fangs and Fonts (Podcast; episodes #57 to #72)

Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration

Winner

  • Tracy J. Butler, cover of Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Teagan Gavet, cover of Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions, June 30)
  • Iskra, “Autumn”, FurAffinity, October 22
  • Jenn ‘Pac’ Rodriguez, cover of Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books, January 24)
  • Dolphyn, “Hey Baby, You’re the Cat’s Meow!” in Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book

Best Anthropomorphic Game

Winner

  • Major \ Minor (Developer: Klace; Publisher: Steam; October 11)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Pokémon Sun & Moon (Developer: Game Freak; Publishers: Nintendo and the Pokémon Company; November 18)
  • Overwatch (Developer and Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment; May 24)
  • Stories: The Path of Destinies (Developer and Publisher: Spearhead Games; April 12)
  • Bear Simulator (Developer and Publisher: Farjay Studios; February 26)

Best Anthropomorphic Website

Winner

  • Fur Affinity (Internet [furry art & discussion])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • E621 (Internet [furry art & discussion])
  • WikiFur (Internet [furry wiki])
  • The Furry Writers’ Guild (Internet [FWG news & discussion])
  • Culturally F’d, ed. by Arrkay and Underbite (YouTube [furry history & sociology])

Next year’s presentation venue will be at the FurDU convention, May 4-6, 2018, in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia. In addition, the Ursa Major Awards are adding a thirteenth category beginning this year, for Best Anthropomorphic Fursuit, but with special rules. See the UMA website.

National Animals Provide Theme For Patten Anthology

Symbol of a Nation, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Anthrocon 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania over the June 29-July 3 five-day weekend.

Symbol of a Nation is an all-original anthology of 11 short stories and novelettes featuring the anthropomorphized official animal (or bird) symbols of nations. This is designed to appeal to sff fans, and fans of political science.

  • Belgium — lion
  • Chile — Andean condor
  • Denmark — mute swan
  • Italy — wolf
  • Malaysia — tiger
  • Mauritius — dodo (extinct)
  • Namibia — oryx
  • Romania – lynx
  • Singapore — lion
  • Spain — bull
  • U.S.A. — bald eagle
  • Vietnam — water buffalo

From a famous extinct animal bioengineered to new life, to animal/bird astronauts, to animals adapted to their nation’s environments, to a 19th-century heraldic animal struggling to remain relevant in today’s world, these are stories that will make you think about the national animal symbols that we and some of our neighbors have adopted.

Contents

  • Didus ineptus Linnaeus, by Roz Gibson
  • A Poor Uncle’s Apprentice, by BanWynn Oakshadow
  • Remembering the Forgotten, by H. J. Pang
  • The Moon Like an Unhatched Egg, by Mary E. Lowd
  • Crossroads the Namib, by Jako Malan
  • Sdani White Wings, by Jennifer Sowle
  • The Scent of Lantana, by Frances Pauli
  • Huitaca, by Televassi
  • To the Kingdom They Come, by H. J. Pang
  • Bread and Butter, by Allison Thai
  • The Lion of the Low Countries, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden

The book can be pre-ordered now from Goal Publications. It will be for sale at the Goal booth at Anthrocon, and on the Goal online catalogue after the convention. Price: $17.50. vii + 241 pages. Print ISBN 978-0-99791-253-1, Digital ISBN 978-0-99791-254-8. Wraparound cover by Jenn ‘Pac’ Rodriguez.

The digital copy will be available sometime after the convention.

2016 Cóyotl Award Winners

By Fred Patten: The 2016 Cóyotl Awards. for the best anthropomorphic fiction of 2016, were announced May 27 at the Furlandia convention in Portland.

The winners are listed first and in bold.

Best Novel

  • The Digital Coyote by Kris Schnee
  • Black Angel by Kyell Gold
  • Dog Country by Malcolm F. Cross
  • Flower’s Curse by Madison Keller
  • Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

Best Novella

  • The Goat by Bill Kieffer
  • Culdesac by Robert Repino
  • The Time He Desires by Kyell Gold

Best Short Story

  • 400 Rabbits by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden
  • A Gentleman of Strength by Dwale
  • Old-Dry-Snakeskin by Ross Whitlock
  • The Torch by Chris “Sparf” Williams

Best Anthology

  • Gods with Fur edited by Fred Patten
  • Claw the Way to Victory edited by AnthroAquatic
  • Hot Dish #2 edited by Dark End

My anthology Gods with Fur won in the Best Anthology category.  The Best Short Story winner, “400 Rabbits” by Alice Dryden, is in Gods with Fur.

Gods with Fur has also been nominated for a 2016 Ursa Major Award.  The Ursa Majors will be announced at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh next month.

Pixel Scroll 4/13/17 Hark! What File Through Yonder Pixel Scrolls?

(1) ODYSSEY CON LOSES SECOND GOH. Honoring the reasons for the withdrawal of Monica Valentinelli, another Odyssey Con GoH has dropped out — Tad Williams made this announcement on Facebook:

I am sad to announce that I won’t be appearing at the upcoming Odysseycon. I feel a debt of conscience to guests of this con and to others whose complaints of harassment (and worse) at gatherings in our field have gone unheard and unresolved.

At the same time it seems to me and Deb that the issues are complicated and a lot of people must be having a very miserable time right now. We don’t want to contribute to the heat, and hope that things can be improved for everyone in the future. Odysseycon have been straightforward in their dealings with us, and gracious when we withdrew. I wish to extend my apologies to any members of the convention who will be disappointed by my not attending.

(2) TOOLMAKING. And today, Monica Valentinelli is looking for knowledge to make cons safer.

How can we…

  • …teach people not to harass?
  • …teach allies what to watch out for?
  • …foster healthy and safe communication about harassment?
  • …teach people how best to enforce harassment policies?
  • …address safety concerns that are not part of an official claim?
  • …share experiences between conventions so each con doesn’t live in a silo?
  • …implement better documentation policies so materials aren’t lost?
  • …help allies understand how to support victims?
  • …help victims have the confidence to come forward?
  • …guarantee that personal e-mails will not be posted publicly?
  • …help victims/allies mitigate the losses that come from making hard decisions?
  • …teach con goers how we take their safety seriously?
  • …teach con goers what to do next if something should happen?
  • …address what proper resolutions are and how they should be implemented?
  • …leverage our social communities better to review our convention attendance?
  • …help con runners decide how to implement training for their staff?
  • …help con runners understand how important it is to have the right people on staff to handle this?

I am 100% certain there are other questions I am missing, as I am speaking through the lens of my experiences. Regardless, I feel that the first step is to ask questions like these before they can be answered. Then, we need to have those hard discussions to take additional steps.

(3) TALKIN’ ABOUT M-MY REGENERATION. Beware, this will make your head spin — a video of every Doctor Who regeneration at Yahoo! TV. (The only bad part is you have to watch at least 30 seconds of a commercial before the video begins.)

(4) CARRIE FISHER. Is there anybody who hasn’t seen the Star Wars tribute to Carrie Fisher yet? Or who doesn’t want to watch it a couple more times?

(5) ROLLING IN THE GREEN. You might have said that’s a lot of lettuce to ask for a 50 pence coin, but the Royal Mint’s offering of a Peter Rabbit 2017 UK 50p BU Coin for £10 has sold out.

The Mint also put out a set of coins in 2016 to celebrate Potters’ 150th anniversary –

Features four coins depicting some of her best-loved characters: Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Squirrel Nutkin

(6) PKD FILM FEST. The fifth annual Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival takes place May 25-30 in New York City.

The program showcases over 100 films, premieres, panels, virtual reality demonstrations and celebratory gatherings as the festival continues its salute to the master of science fiction, Philip K. Dick.

Highlights include the world premieres of Maryanne Bilham-Knight’s A Life Gone Wild (2016) and Jean-Philippe Lopez’s III (2016), North American premiere of Adam Stern’s FTL (2017), USA premieres of Caroline Cory’s Gods Among Us: The Science of Contact (2016), Rasmus Tirzitis’s Vilsen (2016) and Ove Valeskog’s Huldra: Lady of the Forest (2016), east coast premieres of Niall Doran/Justin Smith’s Sixteen Legs (2016) and Renchao Wang’s The End of the Lonely Island (2016) and NYC premiere of Bruce Wemple’s The Tomorrow Paradox (2016).

The festival will also launch PKD Talks: Conversations with Luminaries, Visionaries and Mavericks, a new panel series discussing scientific, inspirational and world changing themes with industry professionals including author and physicist Dr. Ronald Mallett, acclaimed directors Maryanne Bilham-Knight and Caroline Cory, web host Joe Cerletti, astrophysicist Rudy Schild, computer scientist Jacques Vallee and more distinguished guests.

Check out the full schedule here.

(7) ATWOOD STORY ON TV. The Verge has seen the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and gives the show an enthusiastic endorsement.

But The Handmaid’s Tale is more than a political jab. In the first three episodes provided to reviewers, it’s a dystopia that manages to stand out in a television landscape already full of apocalypses and oppressive imaginary societies. It’s a colorful TV series about a woman negotiating domestic drama, and judging from its initial installments — all three of which will be released simultaneously on April 26th — it might be one of the darkest shows on television this year.

(8) THE EVENING NEWS. Problems with a furry convention have made it onto TV. That’s not surprising anymore, is it? But this is still a story that makes a fan’s hair (or fur) stand on end — “Amid allegations of unpaid taxes, neo-Nazism, and sex offender, Denver furry convention canceled”.

Head of company that operates RMFC exposed

But the letter was not signed by an attorney, nor did it contain language or punctuation consistent with those typically used by lawyers. But it did contain a red thumb print, sometimes associated with a movement the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as extremists.

And Kendal Emery, the man who signed the letter and the self-identified “Chief Executive Contract Law Officer” for Midwest Anthropomorphic Arts Corporation, is a convicted sex offender.

The Arvada man pleaded no contest to three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in 1993 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, near his native Carlsbad. New Mexico court records show he served at least probation and underwent out-patient counseling as part of his sentence.

But that isn’t the end of Emery’s issues: though he registered Mid America Anthropomorphic and Art Corporation in Colorado in 2005 at an Aurora address and also with the IRS, the IRS revoked the company’s status in May 2011 and has not reinstated it

(9) WHAT MAKES A WRITER REAL. Sarah A. Hoyt’s inspirational column “You’re real” ends:

A contract won’t make you real.  Writing more will make you real.  Indie and traditional both thrive on content.  The more you write the more you’ll make.  And in indie, this is all in your hands.  You don’t need anyone to give you permission.

Go write and publish.  Stop obsessing about being real.  I say you’re real, and in proof thereof, I’ve made the following certificate, which you can download, fill in and print at your convenience.

STOP GIVING AWAY part of you income for nothing, particularly to small presses of dubious value.  Write.  Publish.  Repeat.  Become a professional.

(10) EUROCON NEWS. The first announcement with details of 2017 ESFS Business Meeting has been made available on the European SF Society website.

The ESFS General Meeting for 2017 will take place at U-Con, the Dortmund (Germany) Eurocon, on June 16-18.

(11) TODAY’S DAY

Scrabble Day

By far the best way to celebrate Scrabble Day is with Oxyphenbutazone. That’s right, Oxyphenbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – you already knew that – but it’s also the word that, in a single play, can give the highest possible score on a Scrabble board. The chances of it ever coming up are similar to the chances of winning this week’s lottery, as you’d need to join all seven of your tiles with eight already on the board across three triple word scores. Still, it’d be worth waiting for, scoring 1,778 points. You’d almost certainly win the game with that.

(12) TODAY IN ALTERNATE HISTORY

April 13, 1967 — In another reality, 50 years ago today would have been the end of Star Trek. The final new first-season episode, “Operation — Annihilate!,” aired April 13, 1967. Only an unprecedented letter-writing campaign, spearheaded by Bjo Trimble and other science-fiction writers and fans, got the show renewed for a second season.

(13) TODAY IN REGULAR OLD HISTORY

April 13, 1970 — …disaster strikes 200,000 miles from Earth when oxygen tank No. 2 blows up on Apollo 13, the third manned lunar landing mission. Astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise had left Earth two days before for the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon but were forced to turn their attention to simply making it home alive.

(14) MATH OF KHAN. Why, this is heresy! Space.com says “Redshirts Aren’t Likeliest to Die – and Other ‘Star Trek’ Math Lessons”.

Grime first focused on an age-old assertion: that crewmembers wearing red shirts in the original “Star Trek” series, which denote working in engineering or security, are far more likely to be killed off than any other shirt color.

That claim, in fact, is false — more “redshirts” died on-screen than any other crew type (10 gold-shirted, which are command personnel; eight blue-shirted, who are scientists; and 25 red-shirted, Grime said), but that calculation fails to take into account that there are far more redshirts on the ship to start with than any other crew type.

In other words, we’re looking at the probability that you are a redshirt if you die (58 percent) — what we want to know is the probability that you die if you’re a redshirt, Grime said.

Grime used the “Star Trek” technical manual to find out how many of each crew type there were, which painted a different picture: out of 239 redshirts, 25 died, which is 10 percent. Out of 55 goldshirts, 10 died, which is 18 percent! So you are more likely to die as a goldshirt, Grime said.

Oh, so it’s actually true – this is just a lawyerly exercise in lying with statistics.

(15) FAN MAIL. Alastair Reynolds praised Erin Horakova’s Strange Horizons article article about Captain Kirk:

If you have a little time on your hands I commend this excellent Strange Horizons article by Erin Horakova on our changing (and inaccurate) perception of the character of Captain Kirk…

Regardless of the quality of the individual episodes, though, I quickly found myself wondering when this legendary bad Shatner was going to turn up, because all I was seeing – right from the outset – was an efficient and convincing portrayal of a man in a complex, demanding position of authority. Shatner isn’t just much better at playing Kirk than the popular myth would have it, but the character itself is also much more plausibly drawn than the supposed brash womaniser of the insidious meme.

Erin Horakova dismantles this false Kirk in expert fashion, while lobbing a few well-earned potshots at the reboot films.

(16) THE NEW NUMBER SIX. John  Scalzi continues Reader Request Week with “#6: Reading as Performance”.

  1. Recognize it is a performance. Which is to say that you can’t just go in front of a room, mumble your way through fifteen minutes of text, answer a couple of questions and go home (I mean, you can, but it won’t turn out the way you want it to). You actually have to be up and on, from the moment you get to the event until the moment you’re done. Which is draining, but can also be fun. When you read, don’t just read the text, act it. When you’re answering questions, don’t answer quickly, answer completely. When you’re signing, work to make it so the person you’re signing for feels like that those 30 seconds with you is a pretty good 30 seconds of their life. Know all this going in, and prepare.

(17) WAITRESSING FOR GODOT. Ann Leckie was prompted by Scalzi’s post to add her own thoughts – “On Performance and Sincerity”.

Now as it happens, I have a tiny bit of theater experience, along with that music degree, so I’m actually pretty comfortable onstage. But you know what else I think has helped me–years of waiting tables. I am a serious introvert, but working at waiting tables gave me practice interacting with lots of strangers for hours at a time, keeping my demeanor pleasant and mostly cheerful. It’s practice that has stood me in good stead for a lot of my non-writing-related life, actually. In a lot of ways waiting tables can be a really miserable job, but that aspect of it, learning how to be “on” very pleasantly and confidently, has been super valuable to me.

(18) WHAT GOES UP… Just don’t ask for an explanation: “Mysterious X37-B ‘space plane’ stays in orbit for 677 days – and no one knows why”.

A mysterious robotic ‘space plane’ has now been in orbit for a record 677 days – and America is remaining silent about what it’s doing up there.

The robotic Boeing X-37B craft – also known as Orbital Test Vehicle 4 – conducts long missions in orbit, carrying a classified payload.

Observers have speculated that the Space Shuttle-esque vehicle might be designed to destroy satellites – or work as a ‘movable’ satellite itself.

(19) LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Evidently, Scotland’s witch prosecution records leave something to be desired. Atlas Obscura has the story — “Maggie Wall’s Memorial”.

A mysterious monument where a woman who records say never existed was burnt alive for being a witch.

…Outside of a small village of Dunning, nestled in the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, lies a monument. It’s a collection of stones about 20 feet high, topped with a cross and decorated with gifts left by visitors—pennies, feathers, shells, fluffy stuffed animals, and tiny tea candles. The stones bear the words in stark white lettering: “Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a witch.”

Scotland was home to nearly 3,800 people accused of witchcraft between 1500s and 1700s, the vast majority of whom were women. In the end, about 1,500 were murdered as a result of witch hunt inquisitions. However, mysteriously, there is no record of a woman named Maggie Wall being tried as a witch. What’s more, there’s no record of the monument itself until 1866, though a forest surrounding the monument called Maggie Walls Wood was documented as of 1829.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Michael J. Walsh, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contirbuting editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

2016 Ursa Major Awards Ballot

Image by EosFoxx

Voting has opened in the 2016 Ursa Major Awards for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the and will continue until April 30. The winners will be announced at Anthrocon 2017 (June 29-July 2) in Pittsburgh, PA.

Anyone may vote. Go to the awards website and click on “Voting for 2016” at the left for instructions on how to register to vote.

This final ballot has been compiled from those eligible works receiving the most nominations.

2016 Final Ballot

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

  • Finding Dory (Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane; June 17)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 (Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni; January 29)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney; July 8)
  • Sing (Directed by Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet; December 21)
  • Zootopia (Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush; February 11)

Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series

  • Bunnicula (Directed by Jessica Borutski, Maxwell Atoms, Robert F. Hughes, Matthew Whitlock, and Ian Wasseluk; Season 1 episodes 1 to 8 [TV])
  • The Lion Guard (Directed by Howy Parkins; Season 1 episodes 1 to 22 [TV])
  • Littlest Pet Shop (Directed by Joel Dickie, Steven Garcia, and Mike Myhre; Season 4 episode 10 to Season 4 episode 26 [TV])
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by James Thiessen, Jim Miller, Tim Stuby, and Denny Lu; Season 6 episodes 1 to 143 [TV])
  • Petals (Directed by Andrea Gallo and Alvaro Dominguez; November 29 [student film])

Best Anthropomorphic Novel

  • Dog Country, by Malcolm F. Cross (Amazon Digital Services; March 28)
  • Fracture, by Hugo Jackson (Inspired Quill; September 1)
  • My Diary, by Fredrick Usiku Kruger, Lieutenant of the Rackenroon Hyena Brigade, by Kathy Garrison Kellog (The Cross Time Cafe; April 2)
  • The Origin Chronicles: Mineau, by Justin Swatsworth (Dolphyn Visions; June 14)
  • Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)

Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction

  • 400 Rabbits, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • A Gentleman of Strength, by Dwale, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Marge the Barge, by Mary E. Lowd, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Questor’s Gambit, by Mary E. Lowd, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • Sheeperfly’s Lullaby, by Mary E. Lowd, in GoAL #2 (Goal Publications; March 27)

Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

  • Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books; January 24 [anthology])
  • Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions; June 30 [anthology])
  • Hot Dish #2, ed. by Dark End (Sofawolf Press; December 1 [anthology])
  • The Muse, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March [background booklet for Lucid’s Dream])
  • ROAR volume 7, ed. by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books; June 30 [anthology])

Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work

  • The Art of Zootopia, by Jessica Julius (Chronicle Books; March 8 [book; making of feature film])
  • Burned Furs and How You Perceive Porn (Culturally F’d: After Dark; October 6 [podcast])
  • CSI: Fur Fest; The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention, by Jennifer Swann (VICE Media; February 10 [Internet])
  • Fursonas  (Directed by Dominic Rodriguez; May 10 [documentary film])
  • 17 Misconceptions About Furries and the Furry Fandom (Culturally F’d #23; February 11 [podcast])

Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story

  • Endtown, by Aaron Neathery (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler (Internet; Lackadaisy Sabbatical to Lackadaisy Headlong)
  • Lucid’s Dream, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March)
  • Swords and Sausages, by Jan (Internet; January 10 to December 25)
  • TwoKinds, by Tom Fischbach (Internet; January 6 to December 25)

Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip

  • Carry On, by Kathy Garrison (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet; January 1 to  December 29)
  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Kevin & Kell, by Bill Holbrook (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • SaveState, by Tim Weeks (Internet; January 6 to December 28)

Best Anthropomorphic Magazine

  •  Dogpatch Press, ed. by Patch Packrat (Internet; January 4 to December 20)
  • Fangs and Fonts (Podcast; episodes #57 to #72)
  • Flayrah, ed. by crossaffliction and GreenReaper (Internet; January 1 to December 29)
  • Fur What It’s Worth (Podcast; Season 5 episode #8 to Season 6 episode #8)
  • InFurNation, ed. by Rod O’Riley (Internet; January 1 to December 31)

Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration

  • Tracy J. Butler, cover of Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book
  • Dolphyn, “Hey Baby, You’re the Cat’s Meow!” in Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book
  • Teagan Gavet, cover of Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten  (FurPlanet Productions, June 30)
  • Iskra, “Autumn”, FurAffinity, October 22
  • Jenn ‘Pac’ Rodriguez, cover of Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books, January 24)

Best Anthropomorphic Game

  • Bear Simulator (Developer and Publisher: Farjay Studios; February 26)
  •  Major \ Minor (Developer: Klace; Publisher: Steam; October 11)
  • Overwatch (Deveoper and Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment; May 24)
  • Pokémon Sun & Moon (Developer: Game Freak; Publishers: Nintendo and the Pokémon Company; November 18)
  • Stories: The Path of Destinies (Developer and Publisher: Spearhead Games; April 12)

Best Anthropomorphic Website

  • Culturally F’d, ed. by Arrkay and Underbite (YouTube [furry history & sociology])
  • E621 (Internet [furry art & discussion])
  • Fur Affinity (Internet [furry art & discussion])
  • The Furry Writers’ Guild (Internet [FWG news & discussion])
  • WikiFur (Internet [furry wiki])

[Thanks to Fred Patten for the story.]