Pixel Scroll 8/9/18 I Was A Dream Scroller And I Had Pixels For You

(1) WHAT DO WHILE THE POWER IS OUT. Ursula Vernon’s ideas make scents.

(2) I PRAY FOR ONE LAST LANDING. Adweek covers a company’s creative message about sustainability: “An Astronaut Returns Home in This Gorgeous Film From Impossible Foods”.

“There’s life,” he begins, traversing the varied terrain, from bustling thoroughfares to nearly silent, sun-soaked forest glades, in full spacesuit. “Everything is here. The colors. The beauty. The motion. It looks like a living, breathing organism. It’s so beautiful here.”

That planet, of course, is Earth, and the film launches this week to coincide with the release of Impossible Foods’ first sustainability report. In that study, the creator of the plant-based Impossible Burger discusses its goal of eliminating the need for animals as a food source by 2035. Doing so will help cut greenhouse gas emissions while conserving natural resources.

 

(3) SOCIAL GRACES. Here’s a helpful reminder.

(4) NO BOX FITS THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL. NPR’s Etelka Lehoczky says “Spooky And Off-Kilter, ‘Come Again’ Shows Nate Powell’s Virtuosity”.

Earnest yet unpredictable, Nate Powell’s graphic novel Come Again is a perfect example of what’s possible when a creator roams outside of set conventions. Come Again fits no particular genre, though much of its style and tone resemble the slow-building, true-to-life narratives of Craig Thompson, Lucy Knisley and Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. But a touch of the mystical keeps this book off-kilter, raising the stakes on a story that might otherwise have seemed thin.

(5) 2017 #BLACKSPECFIC REPORT. Fireside Magazine has published its third annual report about the underrepresentation of black writers in sff magazines. There’s a Twitter thread that starts here. And a narrative version here — “The 2017 #BlackSpecFic Report”. The data is available in a spreadsheet here.

Some highlights:

2017

In 2017, the magazines in this dataset are, as with 2016’s report, professional-rate magazines (as defined by the SFWA) that have been in existence for at least two years and are currently open to submissions. They published 1,112 stories by 816 unique writers, 38 of whom are Black and who wrote 48 of the stories. The unique Black author ratio is 4.7%, and the story ratio is 4.3%. Compared with 2015 data, Black representation in this aspect of the field has essentially doubled.

… When we began this initiative, many worried that the majority of the few stories published would be by Black authors with household names; that still is not the case.

They are, however, generally published in the same set of magazines.

 … Most of the magazines portrayed in this image doubled, tripled, or quadrupled their Black representation from 2015-6 to 2017. When combined with 2 magazines that already performed relatively well in publishing stories by Black authors, but that hadn’t improved significantly — namely, Lightspeed and Nightmare — the magazines in this image published about one fourth of all stories in this dataset. Yet, they published close to 90% of this year’s stories by Black authors. In other words, as with 2016, one quarter of the field is publishing the vast majority of its Black work. Field-wide submission rates can’t explain that.

Furthermore, while these magazines’ representation varies individually, when taken as a combined unit, their Black representation approximates U.S. population distribution at 13%. Five of them published Black authors at rates approximating or exceeding it.

(6) SCOOP NEWS. BBC says the world’s largest ice cream parlor is officially Parque Coppelia, but Cubans call it la catedral de helado: “Cuba’s communist ice cream cathedral”.

We’re at Parque Coppelia, the world’s largest ice cream parlour and an iconic institution in Cuba. Taking up an entire block diagonally opposite the Hotel Habana Libre in the once-tony Vedado district, this state-run ‘people’s park’ offers a for-pennies indulgence for the masses and serves an average of 30,000 customers a day – and up to 600 at any one time.

When Havana sizzles, the entire city seems to descend seeking relief. The helado – served with taciturn efficiency by waitresses in 1950s plaid miniskirts – wins no awards. But no other experience speaks so sweetly to Cuba’s revolutionary idealism.

(7) CITY SECURITY. From the Black Hat cyber security conference, “Warning over ‘panic’ hacks on cities”. Chip Hitchcock observes, “Katherine MacLean’s ‘Missing Man’ spoke of ‘city chess,’ in which senior maintenance workers put up plausible point failures that usually ruin the city very quickly — and she was just talking about breakage, not about deliberate attacks.”

Security flaws have been found in major city infrastructure such as flood defences, radiation detection and traffic monitoring systems.

A team of researchers found 17 vulnerabilities, eight of which it described as “critical”.

The researchers warned of so-called “panic attacks”, where an attacker could manipulate emergency systems to create chaos in communities.

The specific flaws uncovered by the team have been patched.

“If someone, supervillain or not, were to abuse vulnerabilities like the ones we documented in smart city systems, the effects could range from inconvenient to catastrophic,” wrote Daniel Crowley, from IBM’s cyber research division, X-Force Red.

“While no evidence exists that such attacks have taken place, we have found vulnerable systems in major cities in the US, Europe and elsewhere.”

The team plans to explain the vulnerabilities at Black Hat – a cyber-security conference – on Thursday.

(8) 1994 HUGO CEREMONY VIDEO. Thanks to Kevin Standlee for the head’s up:

The 1994 Hugo Awards video is online, thanks to us finding a videotape of it among the files here in Fernley, Lisa digitizing it, and Linda Ross-Mansfield on behalf of the parent of ConAdian giving permission to publish it. The quality isn’t great, but that’s in the original on our tape.

 

(9) BAEN FANTASY ADVENTURE AWARD. In addition to the grand prize winner reported here, “Dragon’s Heart” by David VonAllmen, Baen today issued a press release naming the runners-up:

  • Second Place: “Deny the World with a Thought” by Benjamin Scott Farthing
  • Third Place: “The Lady of Pain” by Steve DuBois.

The press release says the winners were selected by Baen editorial staff.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • August 9, 1930 — Betty Boop premiered in the animated film Dizzy Dishes.
  • August 9, 2004 — Donald Duck received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born August 9 — Sam Elliot, 74. Genre roles include The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, the Land of the Giants series, the 1999 Hulk film, Ghost Rider, The Golden Compass and The Good Dinosaur animated series.
  • Born August 9 — Melanie Griffith, 61. Hebron roles in Cherry 2000Alfred Hitchcock Presents series, voice work in the second Stuart Little animated film do likewise in the Back to the Jurassic film.
  • Born August 9 — Gillian Anderson, 50. The X-Files of course, roles also in the Harsh RealmHannibal and American Gods series.  Voice work in a number of animated series including Reboot as a character as a Data Nully.
  • Born August 9 — Thomas Lennon, 48. Appeared in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, but more commonly a voice actor with some of his credits being for Justice League Action (most excellent series), one of the computers in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy film, The Dark Knight Rises, ArcherRocky and Bullwinkle and Legend of the Three Caballeros.
  • Born August 9 — Rhona Mitra, 42. First genre role was in a sf update of Beowulf, later roles include Underworld: Rise of the LycansSGU Stargate Universe, The Gates, an urban fantasy set in a gated community where no one is human, The Last Ship post-apocalypse series and The Strain, a Guillermo del Toro vampire series.

(12) SLIGHT UPDATE. While his comments on what happened with Worldcon programming are apt, John Scalzi may not be reading the same sites I do. Thread starts here

Though I feel he’s overly optimistic about the silence of people hoping the Worldcon will eat itself alive — I could list three bloggers who are still writing about that.

(13) PICK THE ROCKET FROM THEIR POCKET. Here’s Russian retaliation for sanctions could include: “Russia targets the U.S. space program after latest round of ‘draconian’ sanctions”Vice News has the story.

…On Wednesday the White House announced it would be imposing fresh sanctions on Moscow over its role in the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the U.K. earlier this year.

The latest round of sanctions, due to take effect on August 22, will impose broad restrictions on technology exports to Russia, with further sanctions set to hit Russian airlines and banks. The latest round of sanctions could block hundreds of millions of dollars in exports.

The Kremlin has strenuously denied any involvement in the incident, and on Thursday morning Russian lawmakers fumed over the latest U.S. announcement, calling it “draconian” and “absurd.”

One high-ranking Russian lawmaker then suggested hitting back at the U.S. where it hurts.

Sergey Ryabukhin, a senior Russian senator who is chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for International Affairs, said Moscow could restrict exports of RD-180 rocket engines to the U.S.

RD-180 engines power the Atlas V rocket, which is used for military satellite launches, interplanetary missions and cargo runs to the International Space Station. The Atlas V has completed more than 75 launches with no major failures to date, and is key to the U.S. space program.

This isn’t the first time RD-180s have been caught in the middle of strained U.S.-Russian relations. Back in 2014, U.S. lawmakers opted to exempt the rocket engine from a ban on Russian military technology due to it importance to the U.S. space program.

(14) GUESS AGAIN. Popular Mechanics shares the revelation: “Weird Prehistoric Plant Turns Out To Be Weird Prehistoric Animal”.

Algae? Fungi? Some other type of plant? The Ediacaran organisms, ancient life forms that were common on in the Earth’s oceans half a billion years ago, have puzzled scientists for decades. Now two paleontologists feel confident that the ancient species were something completely different: animals that were unlike any seen on Earth today.

Scientists have discovered nearly 200 different types of Ediacarans within ancient rocks around the globe since the first discovery in the 1940s. It’s easy to identify an Ediacaran through their unique bodies, which are branched fronds taking the shape of fractals. Looking like long tubes that could grow up to six feet, Ediacaran fronds also had sub-fronds which replicated these patterns.

It’s easy to mistake an Ediacaran for a plant. But Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, along with Jian Han at Northwest University in Xi’an, China, has found evidence that says otherwise. They came to their conclusion through studying Stromatoveris psygmoglena, a marine species first discovered in 2006 that dates back to around 30 million years after Ediacarans supposedly died out.

(15) THE BATTLE FOR THE UR-QUAN HIERARCHY. Olav Rokne of Edmonton’s Hugo Award Book Club wanted to be sure I didn’t miss this gaming litigation story:

“Cult classic video game Star Control 2, beloved for its science fiction storylines and diverse cast of alien characters, is the subject of a bitter legal feud over who has the rights to release an official sequel. Original Star Control creators Paul Reich and Fred Ford maintain that their author contract’s rights-reversion clause was triggered more than a decade ago, while games company Stardock claim they bought the rights during Atari’s bankruptcy sale.

“It’s a feud that blazes more hotly than a Thraddash Torch, but is harder to understand than Orz dialogue. Thankfully, copyright lawyer Leonard French has created two excellent YouTube videos to explain it to the layperson.”

Video One:

Video Two: 

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Kevin Standlee, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]

2018 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award


Baen Books announced the winner of the 2018 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award at the start of the Baen Travelling Roadshow on Saturday, August 4 during the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con in Indianapolis.

Grand Prize

  • “Dragon’s Hand” by David VonAllmen

David VonAllman noted on Facebook that with him winning the Baen Fantasy Adventure award, Stephen Lawson the 2018 Jim  Baen Memorial Short Story Award, and Dustin Steinacker the 2018 James White Award, it’s been quite a year for the Writers of the Future class of 2017 (when all three were finalists).

2018 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Finalists

Baen Books has notified the finalists in the fifth annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award.

  • “Spun of Salt and Stone” by Deborah L. Davitt
  • “The Lady of Pain” by Steve DuBois
  • “Deny the World with a Thought” by Benjamin Scott Farthing
  • “The Puzzle Vault” by Auston Habershaw
  • “The Memory Bank & Trust” by Patrick Hurley
  • “Ashes for Ashes” by Kevin Kauffmann
  • “Luchadora” by Melissa Mead
  • “The Deadliest Dish” by David Samuels
  • “Ash-Eater” by Benjamin Tyler Smith
  • “Dragon’s Hand” by David VonAllmen

The winners will be announced at the start of the Baen Travelling Roadshow on Saturday, August 4 during the Writer’s Symposium at GenCon in Indianapolis.

2018 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Contest

The fifth annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award contest opens this month. Entries will be accepted from January 22 to April 30.

We’re looking for blood-pounding, heart-stopping action with heroes you want to root for and villains you love to hate. Whether your heroes win the day with swords or sorcery, fireballs or flamethrowers—or even by their wits alone—all are welcome. Modern, medieval, and otherworldly settings are all acceptable, as long as you tell a rip-roaring good tale with a fantastical element!

“It’s hard to believe it’s already been five years since we first partnered with the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con, and we’re thrilled to again present this award at their event,” said Baen executive editor Jim Minz. “Role-playing games and fantasy adventure fiction have gone hand-in-hand for decades, and Gen Con is the perfect melding of these forms.”

Each entry is limited to a short story of no more than 8,000 words, and only one entry per author. Entries will be judged by Baen editors and the award will be presented at the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con, which will be held August 2-5, 2018, in Indianapolis, IN.

  • The Grand Prize winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at industry-standard rates for professional story submittals. The author will also receive an engraved award and a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books.
  • SECOND place winner will receive a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books
  • THIRD will receive a prize package containing $300 of free Baen Books.

Finalists will be announced by July 1 and winners will be notified no later than July 7, 2018.

The first four years of the contest has seen thousands of entries of fantasy stories from all over the globe.

2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award

J.P. Sullivan won the 2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award with his short story “The Blue Widow.” Sullivan’s story was selected by Baen editorial staff. The announcement was made at Gen Con 50 on August 19.

GRAND PRIZE:

  • “The Blue Widow” by J.P. Sullivan

SECOND PLACE:

  • “Dust of the Fallen” by Barbara Doran

THIRD PLACE:

  • “And Not Go Hungry” by Laurie Tom

Started in 2014, this is the fourth annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award.

As the grand prize winner, Sullivan won an engraved award, and a prize package containing various Baen Books.

His story “The Blue Widow” will be a featured story on Baen.com main page.

The annual contest was held in conjunction with the Gen Con Writers Symposium.

Second place finisher Barbara Doran is shown in this public post on FB receiving her certificate.

Barbara Doran receives her second place certificate from James Minz (left) and Larry Correia (right).

2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Finalists

Baen Books has announced the finalists in the fourth annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award contest.

  • “Purity” by Jennifer R. Donohue
  • “Dust of the Fallen” by Barbara Doran
  • “Thirteen” by Teresa Lynn Michals
  • “Tracks of the Pi Nereske” by Wendy Nikel
  • “The Gift of the Afyr” by Wendy A. Simpson
  • “My Monster” by Camille Singer
  • “Truth” by Jonathan Steinhauer
  • “The Blue Widow” by J.P. Sullivan
  • “And Not Go Hungry” by Laurie Tom
  • “Calcaneus Bishop and the Seeds of Extinction” by William Wood

The annual contest is held in conjunction with the GenCon Writers Symposium. The winner will be announced at Gen Con on August 19.

2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Contest

The fourth annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award contest opens this month. Entries will be accepted from January 15 through April 1.

We’re looking for blood-pounding, heart-stopping action with heroes you want to root for and villains you love to hate. Whether your heroes win the day with swords or sorcery, fireballs or flamethrowers—or even by their wits alone—all are welcome. Modern, medieval, and otherworldly settings are all acceptable, as long as you tell a rip-roaring good tale with a fantastical element!

Baen logoEach entry is limited to a short story of no more than 8,000 words, and only one entry per author. Entries will be judged by Baen editors and the award will be presented by New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia at the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con, which will be held August 17-20, 2017, in Indianapolis, IN.

“Working with the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con has been an absolute delight, and we’re thrilled to again present this award at their event,” said Baen executive editor Jim Minz. “We appreciate the deep historical link between gaming and adventure fantasy, and Gen Con is the perfect melding of these forms.”

  • The Grand Prize winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at industry-standard rates for professional story submittals. The author will also receive an engraved award and a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books.
  • SECOND place winner will receive a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books
  • THIRD will receive a prize package containing $300 of free Baen Books.

Finalists will be announced by July 1 and winners will be notified no later than July 7, 2017.

Over a thousand stories from all over the globe were submitted in the first three years of the contest.

[Based on a press release.]

2016 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award

Shawn Snider won the 2016 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award with his short story “The Lavender Paladin.” Snider’s story was selected by Baen editorial staff. The announcement was made at GenCon on August 6.

GRAND PRIZE: “The Lavender Paladin” by Shawn Snider

SECOND PLACE: “Gunfight at the Thornmount Colossus” by Anthony Lowe

THIRD PLACE: “Watching the Door” by Joel and F.I. Goldhaber

Started in 2014, this is the third annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award. Baen executive editor Jim Minz said, “Our third year has been the best year yet. Each year the overall quality of submitted stories has only gotten better. We are excited to continue to grow this award and highlight the very best in fantasy storytelling.”

As the grand prize winner, Snider, who was on hand with his family in Indianapolis, received an engraved award, and a prize package containing various Baen Books. Snider describes himself as “the product of a good home, a supportive wife, and years and years of reading and people-watching.”

His story “The Lavender Paladin” will be a featured story on Baen.com main page starting September 16 until October 16, and available at the Baen Free Library after that.

The annual contest was held in conjunction with the GenCon Writers Symposium.

2016 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Taking Entries

Baen Books bwThe 2016 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award contest opened for submissions on January 1.

All entries must be received by midnight April 1. Each entry is limited to a short story of no more than 8,000 words, and there is one entry per author. The story may be epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, or contemporary fantasy. Additional guidelines may be found here.

Entries will be judged by Baen editors with finalists also being judged by authors Eric Flint and Larry Correia.

Baen executive editor Jim Minz wrote:

We are delighted to partner with Gen Con and its Writer’s Symposium again to present this award. We appreciate the deep history between gaming and adventure fantasy. We love games and gamers, and we know that Gen Con is the perfect place to seek out and showcase great fantasy talent.

The Grand Prize winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at industry-standard rates for professional story submittals. The author will also receive an engraved award and a prize package containing $500 of Baen Books and merchandise.

Second and Third Place winners will receive prize packages of Baen Books worth $500 and $300 respectively.

The website cautions —

What we don’t want to see Political drama with no action, angst-ridden teens pining over vampire lovers, religious allegory, novel segments, your gaming adventure transcript, anything set in any universe not your own, “it was all a dream” endings, or screenplays.

Finalists will be announced by July 1, and the winners will be notified by July 7. Eric Flint will present the award at the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con, to be held August 4-7, 2016.

Provine Wins 2015 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award

Baen Books bwJeff Provine has won the 2015 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Grand Prize with his short story “Kiss from a Queen.”

First Runner-up was Katherine Monasterio for her short story “Trappists,” and Second Runner-up was Joseph L. Kellogg for “Shell Game.”

Baen also recognized two stories for Honorable Mention: “Burning Savanna” by Alexander Monteagudo and “Adroit” by Dave Williams.

Provine was presented with his award August 1 by Baen editor, Jim Minz at GenCon.

“We had a lovely little ceremony at the start of the Baen Traveling Roadshow,” said Minz. “Not only was Jeff there to receive his trophy and share a few words, Katherine was there to receive her award as well. Afterward we went out for dinner with a couple of authors. It was a terrific evening all around. I’m really looking forward to next year’s contest.”

The annual contest was held in conjunction with the GenCon Writers Symposium. Finalists were judged anonymously by a panel of Baen editors and writers helmed by science fiction and fantasy author Larry Correia. The Grand Prize comes with professional publication by Baen Books on the Baen.com website.