Pixel Scroll 5/30/16 You Only Five Twice

july-1942-patriotic-pulps

(1) MEMORIAL DAY. Honoring service and sacrifice — James H. Burns’ 2015 tribute to the WWII generation:

Yet, one of the biggest influences on that generation has remained generally uncommented on. Decades later, it can almost be viewed as a secret text, or a  vast compendium, that may well have helped prepare our country’s youth for the immense challenges that awaited them.

In the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression–still the toughest economic calamity that ever faced the United States–ANYONE could tune in, on the radio, to the terrific adventure series, comedies and dramas that were performed LIVE, for national broadcast.

It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, or what race or creed you encompassed. There was a wide array of delights simply waiting to be discovered….

(2) LLAMA DROP. Kameron Hurley has a book out tomorrow that she expects to be controversial. She recommends several rules of engagement to her readers, beginning with —

Hey, hey folks, my first essay collection, The Geek Feminist Revolution, drops TOMORROW, May 31!

In anticipation of its release, here are some things you should know that I know and some things you should know about how I’ll be comporting myself online during the launch:

  1. Some people (the minority, but oh, what a vocal minority!) will HATE this book, even and especially those who’ve never read it and have never heard of me and have no idea what it’s actually about. I fully anticipate several pile-ons. I expect lots of garbage in my social feeds. But fear not! All of my email is screened, I’ve muted the majority of the worst accounts and keywords on Twitter, and buttoned up other things to ensure this goes as smoothly as possible. I WILL BE FINE. CHIN UP.
  2. This leads us to THIS point, which is: NO WHITE KNIGHTING. All I ask if there’s a pile-on is for you to NOT tag me if you argue with trolls. My troll policy is mute and ignore. I’ve found that very effective. You are, of course, free to argue with whomever you want on the internet, but as a courtesy, I ask that you keep me out of it, or I’ll have to mute you too, and we don’t want that! In related news: DON’T POINT ME TO BAD REVIEWS or TELL ME TO READ TERRIBLE COMMENTS. I mean, unless you’re a troll? But I don’t think you’re a troll. Like, I mean, for real, folks? I never, ever, read the comments, and I’m not going to be reading bad reviews, even funny ones, for months yet. Thank you….

(3) LLAMA THUMBS DOWN. At Fantasy Literature, reviewer Bill Capossere’s verdict is The Geek Feminist Revolution: Just didn’t do it for me”. I’ve heard of “damning with faint praise,” on the other hand, this review is devoted to “damning with faint damns.”They follow after a three-paragraph confession of the expectations he brings to a book of essays.

The pieces certainly aren’t badly written, but there just wasn’t enough there for me, whether in terms of style or content. Often, the thrust of the piece wasn’t all that fresh. What does it take to succeed in writing? Persistence. How does one succeed? One has to be willing to fail. Women are horribly trolled on the net. Writers have a responsibility to consider the impact of how they present their worlds and the people who inhabit them, etc.

Now, I don’t have an issue with covering territory that has been covered extensively for a long time or, in the case of more contemporaneous issues, has been covered extensively elsewhere (well, maybe I have a little issue). But if you’re going to present me content I’ve seen lots of other places or have been reading for some time, then you need to do something else for me. When I talk to my students in creative writing I call this the “so what” issue with non-fiction. You have to give the reader a reason to keep reading something they’ve seen before. Maybe it’s the beauty of the language, maybe it’s the stimulating structure. But something.

With regard to structure, the essays in The Geek Feminist Revolution are almost strictly linear and mostly singularly focused. As for language, it’s adequate for communicating the ideas, but rarely rises above that. It’s conversational, passionate, but nothing will have you linger over the phrasing or is particularly dense with meaning.

(4) CHINA SF CON. Shaoyan Hu’s article at Amazing Stories covers “A Time to Share, a Time to Enjoy – The Closing Ceremony of the 8th Shanghai Science Fiction & Fantasy Festival”.

In the main hall, the ceremony was incorporated with the final stage of a mind contest called ‘Useless Superpowers’, in which the participants were encouraged to come up with ideas of superpowers that had no practical values but could become interesting under certain circumstances. They were requested to present the ideas with any means of their choice, such as videos, pictures, stage performances, and so on.

The winner was a student from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The imaginary superpower he had fabricated was ‘Immovable’, which meant the owner of the power could prevent anything from moving by simply touching it. Now, just imagine, someday in the future, if an asteroid is going to crash into the Earth, guess who will be sent out to the space to stop it?

(5) BALTICON AUTOGRAPH MACHINE. See George R.R. Martin sign and sign and sign in Chris Edwards’ half-minute video on Facebook.

(6) WISCON WARNING. Wondering what happened.

(7) CAPTAIN AMERICA SPOILER WARNING. With the mandatory warning out of the way, here is Brad Torgersen’s warning about violating fans’ expectations for a franchise.

Of course, the whole Captain America = Hydra Nazi thing, is a stunt. It will be eventually written up such that this shocking reveal is just the top-most layer on a plot cake wherein good old Steve is still true-blue American, and so forth. But by then the writers will have gotten what they wanted out of said stunt: attention, eyeballs, chatter, and (theoretically) sales.

Or . . . not?

Sometimes, stunts like this can dramatically backfire. If the audience suspects that it …is being shown contempt (by the creators) then the audience may very well turn its back. Superheroes are treasured icons for fans across the spectrum, and if you mess with those icons too much, you truly are playing with fire.

(8) IN A CAPTAIN CRUNCH. Echoing one of Torgersen’s notions about the fans no longer accepting the authority of the creator, comics veteran Gerry Conway has been besieged by fans trying to tell him the history behind Captain America. Here are a few examples from the Twitter exchange.

However, not everyone is engaging in the Captain America controversy with the same firestorm intensity….

(9) AUDIO BANDERSNATCH. Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Kickstarter funded – in fact, later today it achieved its first stretch goal.

I’m walking on SUNSHINE!! We met our funding goal for “Bandersnatch Goes AUDIO!!” Michael Ward will be narrating this book, and I am absolutely THRILLED. We still have one more day to meet some delicious stretch goals: I’d love to give each and every backer a copy of the 20-page discussion guide, and I’m still wondering if James A. Owen can draw a bandersnatch blindfolded. But for now, here’s the important thing: this is a real dream come true. This  audiobook will really really happen, and I want to thank YOU for taking part. I’m so excited and so, so grateful. WOOT!! Bandersnatch is going AUDIO!!

10) FAMILY REUNION. Fanac.org has uploaded video of “Science Fiction’s 50th Anniversary Family Reunion” from Noreascon 3 (1989). After the Sunday brunch, many of the greats reminisced – including Isaac Asimov, Terry Pratchett, Jack Williamson, Samuel Delany, Fred Pohl, Forry Ackerman, David Kyle, Connie Willis, and others.

(11) IT WAS A NEEDLESS TRAGEDY. The Onion has learned “Leaked Documents Reveal Studio Executives Knew About ‘Gods of Egypt’ Before It Released Onto Public”. Gasp!

Suggesting that the disastrous events of three months ago could have been averted, federal investigators stated Wednesday that a trove of leaked documents confirmed high-ranking studio executives had full knowledge of Gods Of Egypt long before the film was released onto unsuspecting Americans….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Michael J. Walsh, and Leslie Turek for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

Pixel Scroll 5/29/16 Hell Is Other Pixels

(1) HE SIGNS AND WONDERS. From the Baltimore Sun: “’Game of Thrones’ author draws faithful crowd at Balticon 50”

The wildly popular HBO series has gone beyond the plot lines of Martin’s books, though more are in the works. In an afternoon interview with Mark Van Name, Martin said he never anticipated that the unfinished book series would end up as enormous as it has become. When he sold it in 1994 with 100 pages written, he pitched it as a trilogy. That quickly became a “four-book trilogy,” he said, then a five-, six- and seven-book series. The sixth and seventh books have not yet been published.

“It hit 800 pages and I wasn’t close to the end,” he said of writing the first book, “Game of Thrones,” the show’s namesake, which was part of a larger series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Then “Thrones” became “1,400 pages and there was no end in sight. At that point I kind of stopped and said, ‘This isn’t going to work.'”

Though Martin didn’t speak in detail about the books, he said the Vietnam War was part of what shaped his writing and the complexity of his characters.

“We have the capacity for great heroism. We have the capacity for great selfishness and cowardice, many horrible acts. And sometimes at the same time. The same people can do something heroic on Tuesday and something horrible on Wednesday,” he said. “Heroes commit atrocities. People who commit atrocities can be capable later of heroism. It’s the human condition, and I wanted to reflect all that in my work.”

Martin Morse Wooster emailed the story along with his own observations:

…Nearly all of the piece is about listening to George R.R. Martin or standing in line to get your Martin books and other stuff signed.  This morning I was standing in line for the elevator and heard that they were admitting the 1,070th person to the autograph line.

(2) TIPTREE AUCTION AT WISCON. I’d like to hear the rest of this story…

And I’d like to hear this, too.

(3) CAPTAIN AMERICA SPOILER WARNING. (In case there’s anybody who doesn’t already know it…)

Ed Green snarked in a Facebook comment:

I rather like the bonus factoid that they released this in time to help celebrate Memorial Day. Because nothing says ‘Thank you for your sacrifice!” like turning a WWII legend into a Nazi.

You rotten bastards.

Jessica Pluumer also criticized the choice in her post “On Steve Rogers #1, Antisemitism, and Publicity Stunts” at Panels.

You probably already knew that, but I’d invite you to think about it for a minute. In early 1941, a significant percentage of the American population was still staunchly isolationist. Yet more Americans were pro-Axis. The Nazi Party was not the unquestionably evil cartoon villains we’re familiar with today; coming out in strong opposition to them was not a given. It was a risky choice.

And Simon and Kirby—born Hymie Simon and Jacob Kurtzberg—were not making it lightly. Like most of the biggest names in the Golden Age of comics, they were Jewish. They had family and friends back in Europe who were losing their homes, their freedom, and eventually their lives to the Holocaust. The creation of Captain America was deeply personal and deeply political.

Ever since, Steve Rogers has stood in opposition to tyranny, prejudice, and genocide. While other characters have their backstories rolled up behind them as the decades march on to keep them young and relevant, Cap is never removed from his original context. He can’t be. To do so would empty the character of all meaning.

But yesterday, that’s what Marvel did.

Look, this isn’t my first rodeo. I know how comics work. He’s a Skrull, or a triple agent, or these are implanted memories, or it’s a time travel switcheroo, or, or, or. There’s a thousand ways Marvel can undo this reveal—and they will, of course, because they’re not about to just throw away a multi-billion dollar piece of IP. Steve Rogers is not going to stay Hydra any more than Superman stayed dead.

But Nazis (yes, yes, I know 616 Hydra doesn’t have the same 1:1 relationship with Nazism that MCU Hydra does) are not a wacky pretend bad guy, something I think geek media and pop culture too often forgets.

(4) BOUND FOR BLETCHLEY. The Guardian reports a discovery made by museum workers — “Device used in Nazi code machine found for sale on eBay”.

It was just such a coincidence that led to the museum getting its hands on their Lorenz teleprinter, after they spotted it for sale. “I think it was described as a telegram machine, but we recognised it as a Lorenz teleprinter,” Whetter said.

They rang the seller and drove to down to Essex to take a look for themselves. “The person took us down the garden to the shed and in the shed was the Lorenz teleprinter in its original carrying case,” Whetter said. They snapped it up for £9.50.

But the true value of their purchase was yet to become clear. It was only after cleaning the machine at Bletchley Park, where the museum is based, that they found it was a genuine military issue teleprinter, complete with swastika detailing and even a special key for the runic Waffen-SS insignia.

Is it a suspicious coincidence that this story came out the same month as Steve Rogers #1? You decide!

(5) WISCON CON SUITE. Tempting as it is, if I left now I still wouldn’t get there in time.

(6) FAREWELL FROM THE MASSES. The G has something to say “About that Castle finale…” at Nerds of a Feather.

I finally got around to watching the series finale of Castle last night, and feel the need to vent a bit.

First, let me admit that I’ve watched a lot of Castle over the years. But I didn’t watch it out of any conviction that it’s good. It wasn’t. Rather, I watched it because it was simple fun. At its best, the show took a familiar formula (the police procedural), approached it with an appealing balance of drama and comedy and then let its charismatic leads (Nathan Fillion and Stana Kati?) carry the show. All in all, that made for an enjoyable, if somewhat forgettable, hour long diversion.

Sure there was the ongoing story about an increasingly convoluted and opaque conspiracy, as well as the love story between Castle and Beckett, but at its heart Castle was an episodic show. And now that it’s gone, I realize how few watchable episodic dramas are left on TV.

Which brings me to the finale…

As soon as it was over, my wife turned to me and said “Poochie died on the way back to his home planet.”

With a hook like that, how could I not read the rest, which is an explanation of the reference?

(7) DESPITE POPULAR DEMAND. There will be a movie based on the Tetris video game, in which massive blocks descend from the sky. Don’t be underneath when they fly by… oh, wait, that’s a different punchline.

Larry Kasanoff, producer of films based on the Mortal Kombat video games and Bruno Wu, CEO of China’s Sun Seven Stars Media Group announced that their new company Threshold Global Studios is set to produce the film Tetris The Movie.

 

(8) RECOMMENDATION: REREAD THE BOOK. Gary Westfahl’s analysis, “Alice the Great and Powerful: A Review of Alice Through the Looking Glass”, is posted at Locus Online.

The visual effects are regularly creative and engaging, and there are lines here and there that might make you laugh, but overall, anyone looking for 153 minutes of entertainment on this Memorial Day weekend would be best advised to read, or reread, Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) instead of watching this film, which borrows its title but none of its unique wit and charm. The work that it most recalls, as my title suggests, is the film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013 – review here), another thumb-fisted effort to “improve” upon a classic children’s book by adding new characters, new back stories for old characters, and an action-packed, melodramatic story line….

(9) MEANWHILE, BACK AT WISCON. Yes, indeed.

(10) CARBONARA COPY. Kurt Busiek commented yesterday about cooking a meal for his future wife using a recipe in a comic book. I thought it might be a pleasant surprise if I could find that American Flagg spaghetti fritatta recipe online. It was there, but I found more than I bargained for in Cleo Coyle’s post at Mystery Lovers Kitchen.

When I first met my husband, he whipped up a fantastic spaghetti carbonara that has since become part of our menu. Because he’s part Italian, and because both his mother and father taught him how to cook, I assumed his recipe came from one of them. Not so. Marc informed me that he found the recipe in a 1980’s comic book.

The comic was Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg!, launched in 1983. Fans of this series include Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon, who hailed Flagg as a precursor to the cyberpunk genre of science fiction.

Flagg is not for everyone. It presents a hard-boiled look at life in 2031—after nuclear war and an economic collapse leave things a tad chaotic in the USA. How bad do things get in Chaykin’s 2031? One example: The broken down piano player who inhabits the local lounge is Princess Diana’s oldest son.

As for today’s recipe, spaghetti carbonara happens to be the favorite dish of Rubin Flagg, the comic book’s hero. The recipe was published in the same issue that Rubin cooked it up. (Recipes included in fiction! Is that a good idea or what?)

Coyle says she’s married to somebody named Marc, so presumably this isn’t Kurt’s wife telling her side of the same anecdote. (I’m also sure Kurt knows his fritatta from his carbonara.) Just the same, it’s starting to sound like that American Flagg recipe is quite the love potion!

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 29, 1906 T. H. White author of The Once and Future King.

(12) SUITS. Mr. Sci-Fi, Marc Scott Zicree, takes you along —

While in London pitching series, Mr. Sci-Fi got a tour of the Propstore’s exclusive amazing collection of spacesuits from such films as Alien, Armageddon and Star Trek – The Motion Picture — plus he shows rare concept designs of Space Command’s spacesuit by Iain McCaig (designer of Darth Maul, Queen Amidala and The Force Awaken’s Rey). Not to be missed!

 

(13) WOLFE TALK. Spacefaring Kitten interviewed Marc Aramini who wrote Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 (Castalia House).

Is there a “right” answer to questions like “what has really happened between the protagonist and Suzanne Delage in ‘Suzanne Delage’” or “which one is the changeling in ‘The Changeling’”?

I’m asking this because I kind of enjoyed the ambiguous atmosphere and the weight of the unexplained in those stories, and while I was reading them I didn’t necessarily feel that there should be one comprehensive solution to be unearthed.

Yes, but you don’t have to get there to enjoy the story. I honestly believe there is a “right” answer from the author’s point of view, but that there are other authors who do not have this kind of rigid, disciplined mindset and write from a place of the subconscious or unconscious. I really do not feel that this is the case with Wolfe, and I have written about 700,000 words so far between the two volumes which argue that his mysteries have universal solutions. I think one of his tasks is using the tool-box of post-modern subjectivity and uncertainty to imply that there is still a universal structure behind the act of creation.

(14) HARDY. David Hardy has created a video tour of his famous astronomical art —

Voyage to the Outer Planets

To follow up my 50s compilation, ‘How Britain Conquered Space in the Fifties’, here is a video made from art of the outer Solar System which I produced 50 years later , for comparison. I like to think I have progressed a little! This is partly a short excerpt from my DVD ‘Space Music’ (available at www.astroart.org), which in turn was edited from German TV’s ‘Space Night’, shown in the early morning from 1994 (google it). They showed two programmes of my art, but for the DVD I added digital images from my 2004 book with Sir Patrick Moore, ‘Futures: 50 Years in Space’.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Spacefaring Kitten, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hal Winslow’s Old Buddy.]

Your Darn Near Hugo-Free Auxiliary Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 Scrolljira!

Gluten-free, too!

(1) SF HALL OF FAME VOTING. The EMP Museum has opened public voting on the 2016 finalists for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. The deadline to cast your vote is May 11.

In honor of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame’s 20th anniversary, we invited the public to submit their favorite Creators and Creations. After tallying up your nominations (nearly 2,000 submissions!), a committee of industry experts narrowed down the list to the final twenty nominees.

SF Site News observed:

It is the first time the EMP will be inducting a second class into the Hall of Fame, comprised of “Creations” as well as the “Creators” who have traditionally been honored.

Creators

  • Douglas Adams
  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Stephen King
  • Stan Lee
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Nichelle Nichols
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Lana & Lilly Wachowski

Creations

  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
  • The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
  • The Star Wars media franchise, created by George Lucas
  • The Star Trek media franchise, created by Gene Roddenberry
  • “Space Oddity,” by David Bowie
  • The Twilight Zone TV series, created by Rod Serling
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

(2) OWN ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST SF COLLECTIONS. Ebay is asking for best offers on what is billed as the “World’s Best Science Fiction Small press and Pulp Magazine Collection – High Grade”.

The owner is willing to sell it outright for US $2,500,000.00.

Details about  World’s Best Science Fiction Small Press and Pulp Magazine Collection High Grade

20,000+ Books Complete Sets Arkham House Fantasy Press

You are bidding on the most extensive, highest graded, complete set of all Small Press Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror books as well as the most extensive very rare pulp magazine collection in the world. Many of the sets below are the best in the world. A few are the only ones in the world, let alone in “like new” condition. Many are also complete (or near complete as some authors were dead at time of publication) signed sets.

You aren’t just buying a bunch of books, you are buying the rarest, and you are buying the best.

There is also a long Q&A section.

How can these things be in such high grade? Are there any fake dustjackets or facsimile reprint books?

EVERYTHING IS ORIGINAL. They are in such high grade because that’s what I go after. I have bought most of the books in the small press collection (for example) 2-4 times a piece. I love to marry high grade dustjackets to high grade books. I regularly buy the highest graded copy of any book that comes up for sale online from any of a couple dozen different book sites) as well as buy from older collectors with long time private collections. My record for any individual book is having bought it 13 times before finding a very high grade copy. Virtually none of these books came from collections I bought as a dealer. I had to buy them all individually. Most of the books I bought individually several times a piece. I’ve assembled all but one of these sets personally….

How large is the collection and book store?

Imagine a three car garage completely full from floor to ceiling, front to back without walking room in between, completely full of books. It’s the equivalent of about 350 to 400 “comic long boxes”, and will take the majority of an 18-wheeler for transportation purposes….

Why sell the personal collection and store together?

There is a lot of cross over interest, and frankly if I own even one book after this auction is over, I’ll just end up buying more….

(3) HAILED INTO COURT. Rachel Swirsky conducts a “Silly Interview with S. B. Divya, Defense Attorney for the Oxford Comma”.

1. Your bio says that “S.B. Divya is a lover of science, math, fiction, and the Oxford comma.” I am here to tell you that the Oxford comma has, unfortunately, been put on trial for its life. However, you are its defense attorney! Make your case.

Your honor, I humbly present the Oxford comma, also known as a serial comma. It is abastion of orderliness in a sea of grammatical chaos. This comma is an exemplary citizen, always obeying a simple rule: that it follows each item in a list until the last. Let us not create an exception to the rule! Let us not say, “It follows each item in a list except for the second to last and the last, which shall be joined by a conjunction.” Nay, let us stand fast against such unwieldy rule-making – such convoluted thinking – and embrace the simplicity that is embodied by this innocuous punctuation mark.

(4) CLASSIC FANZINE DIGITIZED. Linda Bushyager’s 1970s newzine Karass has been scanned and put online at FANAC.ORG.

They currently reside at http://fanac.org/fanzines/Karass/” Go there for a blast from the past (1974-1978). Lots of good artwork too, especially in the final Last Karass issue. If you don’t remember it, Karass was a SF fan newszine I published. My thanks go to Joe and Mark for doing this.

Basically, Karass passed the torch to File 770 at the end of its run. Wasn’t that awhile ago!

(5) CHINA PRESS COVERS HUGO NOMINEE. The South China Morning Post ran this story: “Young writer’s fantastical tale of class inequality in Beijing earns her Hugo Awards nomination”

Hao Jingfang says her sci-fi novelette ‘Folding Beijing’ aims to expose society’s injustices…

The nomination of Hao’s work comes after Chinese author Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem – depicting an alien civilisation’s invasion of earth during the Cultural Revolution – won best novel at the Hugo Awards last year.

Folding Beijing is set in the future, where Beijing folds up so different groups occupy different levels. The protagonist, a waste worker from the Third Space, is hired by a student in the Second Space to send a love letter to a girl in the First Space, despite strong opposition from the girl’s family due to their class difference.

(6) FAN MAIL. Kurt Busiek tweeted a fan letter he once sent to a Marvel comic calling on them to revive the quality of their letter section.

(7) BOOKMARKED. Rachel Swirsky interprets her story “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” in a comment at File 770.

“If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love has the clear implication that the author desires violent justice towards people who beat the narrator’s lover into a coma over either their sexuality or their ethnicity.”

OK, author talking about their own story follows. Feel free to skip.

Desires it, sure, but then is like “wow, that would suck and leave victims like me which is not okay.” Or: “I have a base desire to hurt you despite my understanding that it is morally and ethically wrong and would have terrible consequences, and I can’t even really fantasize about it without being overwhelmed by that knowledge and returned to the reality of the real world where nothing helps, nothing changes things, and certainly not revenge.”

(To a certain extent, isn’t that the *same* point Wright makes about homosexuals and tire irons? It’s his impulse, he says, but he’s not doing it, so presumably he’s aware that it is wrong–I hope–or at least that it has social consequences he doesn’t wish to encounter.)

I’m not suggesting you didn’t understand this in your comment. Just that it is a thing that confuses and bugs me about the revenge reading that’s been put forward, since it’s specifically an *anti-revenge* story.

It is an *anti-revenge* story because one of my intimate relations had recently uncovered a history of childhood physical and sexual abuse, and fuck if I didn’t fantasize about stopping or revenging it. But the damage is done. It is incontrovertible. And there is no revenge to be had; the abuser is still around, but what’s the point? It’s been thirty years. The person who did it, and the moment when it could have changed, are gone. All that’s left is the reality of the abuse and its long-lasting damage.

Not that I realized that was the impetus when I was writing it. I didn’t put it together until a lot later, that the story, and the angst I was going through over that, were related.

(I continue to have no problem with people who dislike it based on actual literary criteria, personal definitions of SF, or for sentimentality or manipulation. I would ask the folks in category two to consider noting that “it’s sff” or “it’s not sff” is actually a matter of opinion, not fact, since there is no reifiable SFF; it’s not like it’s a platonic thing that can be identified and pointed to. It’s a mobile boundary, interacting with a lot of other things. In this case, the interaction occurs around conditional tense and storytelling, which has a long history of being considered SFF in cases like The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and folklore, but I suspect there are also works that are considered realist that use the device. I don’t actually have an investment in whether it’s SFF or not, as I cannot be moved to give a damn about genres, but I think both positions are valid.)

OK, done, thanks, needed a rant.

(8) GET YOUR SECRET DECODER RINGS READY. The signal is on its way from John Scalzi —

(9) HAIR TONIGHT. King Gillette never used this for a commercial.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, and Michael J. Walsh, for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the second shift, Brian Z.]

Pixel Scroll 11/8 Five If By Scroll

(1) Mari Ness tweeted from World Fantasy Con that when she was unable to get her wheelchair on the dais, her co-panelists moved their seats to the floor. Crystal Huff shared a photo of the scene —

(2) Galactic Journey, whose blogger is a time traveler living 55 years in the past, reports that Kennedy defeated Nixon in today’s U.S. presidential election.

And so the 1960 election ends with the country divided sharply, not just demographically, but physically.  Nixon swept the West and Appalachia.  Kennedy won the Northeast and South.  Yet, it is a testament to how far we’ve come since the election just a century ago that the losing half of the populace will not riot or secede.  In two months, they will give their respect and reverence (though perhaps with a modicum of grumbling) to the new President.

The burgeoning Space Race, decolonization, Communist expansionism, and desegregation are going to be the volatile issues of the 1960s.  Let’s all hope that President Kennedy, whether he’s in the White House for four or eight years, will be up to tackling them.

(3) Suggestions are pouring in about what image should replace Lovecraft on the World Fantasy Award. Kurt Busiek’s idea is one of the most peculiar expensive ambitious.

(4) “Warner Brothers Is Reportedly Negotiating With The BBC To Include ‘Doctor Who’ In ‘The LEGO Movie 2’” reports ScienceFiction.com.

Now comes word that ‘Doctor Who’ the ultra successful BBC sci fi series, may crossover into the cinematic sequel to ‘The LEGO Movie’!  Director Rob Schrab appeared on the Harmontown Podcast and teased that Warner Brothers was in negotiations with the BBC to work The Doctor into the highly anticipated sequel, which sadly won’t be out until 2018.  (‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ will arrive first, in 2017.

(5) I missed a golden opportunity to follow yesterday’s Marcus Aurelius reference with this tweet by Paul Weimer, who is touring Italy this week.

(6) Does Brad R. Torgersen need to “get” Marcus Aurelius references? I don’t know whether he does or not, and if he still gets paid, does it matter? I pondered this question while reading Torgersen’s take on the recent topic of science fiction classics in “Classics: A Third Way” at Mad Genius Club. And don’t assume I’m hostile to his points – while I’ve read lots of classic sf, I haven’t read most Burroughs or A. Merritt, etc. Their devotees are probably as disappointed as Le Guin readers will be about Torgersen’s lack of interest in her work.

I have occasionally seen good-hearted appeals to community. “Let’s patch this crazy field back together again!”

But a community requires common touchstones, and at least some degree of shared values. It ought to now be obvious (in the year 2015) that there are no more shared touchstones, nor any single set of shared values spanning the total spectrum of fans and professionals. There are simply disparate circles of interest, some overlapping with others, but none overlapping with all. They each have their own touchstones, and they each esteem different things.…

Thus, the third way acknowledges the men and women who built the field, without saddling new fans and authors with the unpleasant chore of having to push up-hill through thousands of books and thousands of stories, all the while never even catching up to what’s current.

Like any culture argument, this one won’t ever be settled. Nor am I trying to have a last word. I am merely thinking about my own experience — as someone who came in very “late” and who can’t mass-consume every single piece of the field, dating back to the 1920s or beyond, much less everything generated in 2015 alone. It’s too much.

But with some curiosity and a little research, I was able to make myself aware of the field’s major literary players. At least up through 1994. New players have since emerged. Some of them probably are (*ahem*) for lack of a better term, overhyped. But many are not. I think Andy Weir’s book is liable to go down as having been a very significant landmark in the SF/F of the new century — just like Hugh Howey’s Wool universe, and of course J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Past a certain point, audience penetration becomes self-sustaining and self-expanding. “Viral” is the term most people under thirty would use today.

Knowing the new landmarks, as well as the old, is (in my opinion) a happy chore that shouldn’t consume a lot of time. Just pay attention to what’s going on. Read the things that look genuinely interesting to you. And don’t feel bad if you can’t get to everything. Nobody can. Nobody has, for many decades. And nobody will. Let it not be your fault, as long as you’ve seen the forest for the trees.

(7) Jeff VanderMeer said on Facebook:

People on twitter seem upset/incensed/incredulous that I voluntarily smelled rotted whale mixed with the mud it rotted in. In a bottle. Like, if I’d had no choice, no problem. But that I actually said to the incredulous biodiversity museum volunteer, “Yeah, uncork that and give me a whiff,” somehow makes me dubious. Well, I’m a fiction writer. I’d smell a bear’s ass if it gave me a sensory advantage I needed in a story.

(8) I have never sniffed rotted whale and I’ve never played Fallout, however, I’m not so opposed to doing the latter after enjoying Adam Whitehead’s “Fallout Franchise Familiariser” at The Wertzone.

On Tuesday, Bethesda Softworks will release the computer roleplaying game Fallout 4. The previous games in the series have sold tens of millions of copies, and Fallout 4 will likely be battling with Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops III for the title of biggest-selling game of the year. A lot of people are going to be talking about it, but what if you have no idea what the hell the thing is about? Time for a Franchise Familiariser course.

(9) Mari Ness also sent a wistfully humorous tweet from WFC:

(10) Let everyone on the road know where you stand with the Godzilla Attack Family Car Sticker Set

Godzilla Attack Family Car Sticker

No more boring stick figures! With these customizable stickers, show off your love for fun and imagination. All sets start with a large, Godzilla decal, over 6.5 inches in height. Being chased by Godzilla, is a family. The default family is a Dad, Mom, Girl and Boy. In total, the set comes with a Large Godzilla chasing a family of 4, made up of a dad, mom, girl and boy stick figure.

The same business will also sell you the Family of Silly Walks car sticker, a Doctor Who-themed family car sticker, the Cthulhu Family car sticker, and others…

(11) Today In History

  • November 8, 1895William Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays; Superman was given one of this abilities beyond those of mortal men, and 50s sci-fi movies were never the same…. (How is it you know what I mean, when this sentence makes no grammatical sense?)

(12) Today’s Birthday Boys

  • November 8, 1836Milton Bradley began to amass his fortune by selling The Checkered Game of Life only after suffering a business setback —

When he printed and sold an image of the little-known Republican presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln, Bradley initially met with great success. But a customer demanded his money back because the picture was not an accurate representation—Lincoln had decided to grow his distinctive beard after Bradley’s print was published. Suddenly, the prints were worthless, and Bradley burned those remaining in his possession…

His drama reviews brought him to the attention of Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905), a tall, dark and well-regarded actor of the Victorian era who was said to have served as an influence for Stoker’s Count Dracula. Stoker eventually became Irving’s manager and also worked as a manager for the Lyceum Theater in London. He published several horror novels in the 1890s before the debut of his most famous work, “Dracula,” in 1897.

  • November 8, 1932 – Ben Bova

(13) Today’s Internet Winner

The advertisement that quoted John is here….

(14) A recent art exhibition in Turin was inspired by Theodore Sturgeon’s “The Dreaming Jewels” — “So Much More Than the Sum of Its Tropes” at Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin. The exhibition title even references a Jo Walton review of Sturgeon.

The exhibition in which the works act as “figurative places” of the scenes from Sturgeon’s book, asks the spectator to move around inside the space in the way in which you move in a narrative text, with the suspension of disbelief typical of fiction and the analytic and personal participation that characterizes the fruition of art: painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture, intervention after intervention. All the way to the point of imitating the act of immersive reading in the trans human movement inside the gallery.

Curated by Gianluigi Ricuperati with the collaboration of Elisa Troiano. Works by Antonia Carrara, Raphael Danke, Fabian Marti, Nucleo, Elisa Sighicelli, Michael E. Smith.

The exhibition closed October 28.

[Thanks to Matthew Davis, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

50 Ways To Leave Your Rover 6/20

aka “I love the smell of puppy in the morning.”

In today’s roundup, Ed Fortune, David Gerrold, T.C. McCarthy, Daniel Haight, Natalie Luhrs, John C. Wright, Morgan Locke, Mick, Carl Henderson, Vox Day, Tom Knighton, Rolf Nelson, Kevin Standlee, Melina D, Lis Carey, Kurt Busiek, Fred Kiesche, Brad Johnson, and mysterious others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day John King Tarpinian and Hampus Eckerman.)

Ed Fortune on Starburst

“Book Boycott Backfires” – June 20

An attempted boycott of publisher Tor Books by right-wing online activists has spectacularly backfired as booklovers across the world have responded by purchasing books from Tor to show their support. The activists in question are known as the Sad Puppies, or simply ‘The Puppies’. They recently gained notoriety by block voting in the recent Hugo Award nominations. The demands are in response to recent statements made by editors and authors who are associated with Tor in some way. Military sci-fi author Peter Grant issued a list of demands on behalf of The Puppies in a private letter that he then posted on his blog. The demands are:

Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”

Tor must “publicly reprimand those individuals for stepping over the line”

Tor must “publicly indicate that it is putting in place policies to prevent any recurrence of such issues.” Despite original Sad Puppy campaigner Larry Correia stating on his blog “The Sad Puppies Campaign is NOT calling for any boycotts, the letter was later endorsed by prominent members of The Puppies, including Theodor Beale (aka Vox Day) and John C. Wright. The Puppies now seem mostly leaderless, operating in a way similar to other online activists such as Gamer Gate and Anonymous have done in the past.

The response from the greater community has mostly been mockery, and to do their best to support authors by purchasing books from Tor

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 20

With the various escalations over perceived hurts, it seems that this is no longer about the Hugos — it looks more like an attempt to ignite a full-scale culture war within the genre.

Certainly, there is a lot of polarization evident in the various blogs and comment threads. But while the online discussions seem to present a picture of equal sides, I think that’s an illusion. It may turn out that the larger body of fandom will not be stampeded by the few who have become addicted to outrage.

Some of the most offensive posts — some of which are being widely circulated — will only serve to further marginalize not only the authors of those posts, but also those who are seen as comrades.

 

 

Daniel Haight on Flotilla Online

“Too Soon? How Should Sci-Fi Authors Deal with Tragedy?” – June 20

I felt compelled to speak up when another author linked to the above post made by the sci-fi author Michael Z. Williamson.  I found that Mr. Williamson’s Facebook is public and I was able to confirm that he did say what he said and that it’s still visible (as of today, 6/20 @ 10:05PDT)

I immediately felt a number of conflicting emotions: shock and revulsion at the tactless joke that was made. Sadness that we have become so inured to senseless violence that people are rushing to be the first one to find a way to joke about it. Confusion at whether I had a right to say anything, knowing I’ve made a few dark jokes from time to time. Uncertainty about whether it was my business to speak up.

And yet … a joke like that … made the same day the Charleston shooting occurred.  I can’t keep my mouth shut about that.  Innocent people died.  Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters … hundreds of lives ripped apart by a senseless act of violence.  That’s not hyperbole, those people’s lives are inexorably altered and potentially ruined. You … you can joke about that?

I can’t.

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Documenting a Wannabe Supervillain” – June 20

I don’t care if you think they’re jokes. And I know full well what kind of context they’re coming from, when your Twitter feed is full of you taunting people who are grieving and angry over an act of terrorism perpetrated against their community and you have pictures of yourself with guns and your Facebook profile pic is pro-waterboarding. I know exactly what kind of asshole you are and you can’t slither out of responsibility for your words because you think they’re jokes. You are a hateful, vile, and pathetic human being, Michael Z. Williamson.

And Williamson’s Hugo-nominated work, “Wisdom from My Internet” is execrable. It should never have made it to the ballot–and it wouldn’t have, if the Puppies hadn’t gamed the system with coordinated slates.

 

John C. Wright

“Moshe Feder Speaks for Himself” – June 20

He has decided publicly to rebuff those customers Mr Feder calls our customers unhappy with the recent unprofessional antics at Tor Books by the charming epithet “idiots”:

As you may have heard, certain scoundrels have declared a boycott of Tor, starting today, to protest the efforts of some Tor employees to defend the Hugo Awards from attack. In response, some of our friends have declared today “Buy A Tor Book Day.”

I wouldn’t have the temerity to ask you to buy a book just because some idiots have declared war on us. But if there _is_ a Tor Book you’ve been meaning to get anyway, buying it today would be a a gesture I’d appreciate.

[As always here on Facebook, I’m speaking for myself and not the company.]

Ah… Well, thank you for your help mollifying our customers, Mr Feder. I am sure that being told they are idiots will make them eager to spend their hard earned book-buying dollars the product you and I are working together to produce for them….

Since I have a conflict of interest, I must remain neutral. Loyalty to my publisher demands I not take sides. Loyalty to my beloved customers demands I not take sides.

Mr Feder has taken sides. Loyalty to his political correctness outweighs, for him, loyalty to publisher. And he just called you, my dear readers and customers, idiots and scoundrels.

This has nothing to do with the Sad Puppies. We are only here for the Hugo Awards.

This particular fight is between, on the one hand, those at Tor Books who think political correctness outweighs all professional and personal loyalties, all standards of decency, all need to be truthful, and who damn their own customers; and, on the other, those who are thankful to the customers and who think the purpose of a business is business.

One side consists of those calling for the resignations that any professional worthy of the name would long ago have proffered for the damage they have done to the company name and public goodwill.

The other side consists of people at Tor who regard Tor as an instrument of social engineering, an arm of the Democrat Party’s press department, or a weapon in the war for social justice.

Without expressing any personal opinion, I can say that there is an easy compromise which our free and robust capitalistic system allows: we can all wish the best to Miss Gallo and Mr Feder when they day comes when they decide to take their interests and obsessions elsewhere, and leave the company in the hands of those of us who merely want to write, publish, and read science fiction told from any and every point of view, political or otherwise, provided the story is well crafted.

 

 

Mick on Mick On Everything

“I Support The Tor Boycott” – June 20

There is plenty of evidence that they’ve been lying to you internally, if in fact they are telling you that those of use who’ve been e-mailing the company are bots as has been rumored.

There is plenty of evidence that they won’t stop, and even though they are now careful to state they don’t speak for Tor, without their positions they wouldn’t have nearly the platform or audience they do. These people are trading on the status the company gave them to trash the customer base, and the authors who actually produce the work.

The originator of the Sad Puppies movement, the International Lord of Hate Larry Correia, has come out and said he does not endorse the boycott. I reiterate – I do. Those of us on the Puppy side have taken enough abuse from the other side, and it’s time we hit them in the wallet.

If someone starts a fight and you don’t fight back, you lose. They started it years ago. Now is time to fight back.

 

Carl Henderson on Offend Everyone

“In Which I Speak of Sad Puppies.” – June 20

I’m a supporter of free speech—which ideally extends beyond the 1st Amendment protections against Government interference or suppression of speech. We as a society and individuals need to cultivate tolerance for opinions we disagree with.

Ms Gallo should not be fired. While her original Facebook remarks were mean-spirited and showed contempt for Tor readers and Tor authors, employers should not purge employees for having unpopular views. They may have a legal right to (depending on state laws and contracts), but they should not because: 1) the organization becomes captive to the loudest and most easily offended of their stakeholders, and 2) free speech is an objective good that writers and publishers should support, even when that speech is unpopular, or even considered hateful.

I think that calls for Tor to fire Gallo to be are wrong. Her remarks on Facebook were hateful and intolerant. But contributing to the culture of demanding punishment whenever anyone says anything offensive is counter to the Sad Puppy goal of more intellectual/political diversity in SF and Fantasy (as well the main goal supporting the primacy of good story over message). If you like a book/writer published by Tor, buy it. If you don’t, don’t buy it. In the long run, the free market will prevail and Tor (like any other company that doesn’t get the government to bail it out) will either change or die.

The justifications I hear from some people involved in Sad Puppies for supporting a Tor boycott or a campaign to have Gallo fired, generally run along these lines of “our opponents use these tactics, so we have to as well”. (I’m oversimplifying. Duh.)

But there’s an important point that those Puppies are missing. People like Gallo are good for your side. The louder and more extreme your opponents get, the better you look. And the better you look, the more support you gain.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Mr. Feder fans the flames” – June 20

It’s worth pointing out that we are not at war with Tor Books. We are merely asking Macmillan to save Tor Books from the observably self-destructive and unprofessional leadership of three of its senior employees, who have abused Tor’s authors and attacked Tor’s customers.

 

Tom Knighton

“Thoughts on the TOR boycott” – June 20

Tor, for some silly reason, is one of many traditional publishers that look at ebooks as a novelty and has them priced in a way to encourage you to buy the print book instead.  I hate that.  There are books I want to read, but I’m not spending more than $10 for a brand new ebook, and I expect that price to drop as time goes on.  Tor’s starting point, so to speak, is so much higher than I want to spend that I don’t really see me buying much of anything anyways.

Honestly, I can’t really boycott someone I don’t buy from in the first place.  I may have yet another reason to not buy Tor books, but it’s not like they’ll notice my lack of spending on their books.  Now, that’s not true for a lot of my Sad Puppy brethren, but it is for me.

Some are screaming that it’s not fair to try and “destroy” someone’s livelihood over comments they made a month earlier on their personal Facebook page.  I’ll buy that when the Left quits trying to destroy the livelihood of everyone who says something they disagree with.

I don’t want Irene Gallo fired necessarily.  I haven’t called for anyone from Tor to be fired.  The only person whose job I called for was the twit who wrote the Entertainment Weekly article, and that wasn’t because of her personal views, it was because she is an embarrassment to journalism.  It’s as simple as that.

That’s not to say that there aren’t a few people from Tor I’d love to see hunting for a job.  There are.  I hear those people get fired, and it’s party central at the Knighton household.  They’ve insulted me and my friends so many times that I really don’t care about how they’ll manage in today’s job market.

 

Wheels Within Wheels

“Boycott in progress” – June 20

I won’t be acquiring any more, though. Tor gives every impression of having a corporate culture that despises anyone who isn’t wholly on board with the left-wing causes of the day, and is more than willing to demonize them. As that applies to me, since they despise me, I’ll not force them to associate with me any longer.

 

Rolf Nelson

“Tor Boycott” – June 19

Gee, I can just feel the love from here. Details at Vox’s blog, Peter Grant’s place, Hoyt’s, and many other places in the SF/F blog-o-sphere. So, if you like SF, keep reading, but but use the library. If you think you just must buy your favorite Tor author, buy used and hit their tip-jar. Or, check out competing publishers like Baen or Castalia House, which don’t treat their authors and fan base like crap.

 

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way Of Life

“E Pluribus Hugo Submitted” – June 20

As presiding officer, I obviously won’t take a stance on the proposal; however, its very complexity requires me to be concerned about how to handle it technically at the Business Meeting. It will probably depend on how much more business gets submitted. It’s proposals like this that lead me to planning for WSFS to hold a Sunday (final day) business meeting for the first time since 1992.

 

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Mini Review: The Lego Movie” – June 21

I was watching along enjoying it, but thinking that there wasn’t really anything deeper to the movie, and then it turns around and hits me in the feels.The ‘twist’ at the end was unexpected and definitely added another element to the movie, but it also raises some questions (for me anyway) about the purpose of adult collectors of toys. I come from a family of these (my grandparents actually ran a toy museum when I was a kid) so maybe I think about these things when others don’t, but should toys be played with or preserved?

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Related Works” – June 20 So, the best of this category was better than I expected, but the worst was much worse than expected. I will use No Award in this category, because I don’t think any of the writing was polished or completely engaging enough to win an award as prestigious as the Hugo. However, I’ll list The Hot Equations next, as it was a mostly cohesive piece of writing which showed clear links to SF fiction.

This is where the slate is once again doing themselves a disservice, because it’s possible in another year The Hot Equations might have been in their amongst the top pieces. It’s the kind of thing I was expecting/hoping to find in the nominations – work on topics which aren’t usually my cup of tea (milSF and thermodynamics) which are good enough to engage me and make me think. But because there’s nothing to compare it with, I have to judge it on its own – create my own criteria – which leaves a possibility that I’m being harder on it than it deserves. And there’s such a lot of energy spent on promoting the really bad writing which could be spent on promoting and polishing and presenting more work like this.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Abyss & Apex: Hugo-Nominated Magazine of Speculative Fiction” – June 20

Abyss & Apex is a 2015 Hugo nominee for Best Semiprozine. It’s a web-based zine publishing a mix of poetry and fiction. I was very pleased to see that they have organized and accessible archives that made it easy to look at their issues from 2014. i.e., the relevant ones for this year’s Hugos. Overall, the quality looks high, and the presentation is good. My one objection is that the body text font doesn’t seem to be completely consistent across the site, and for me, that makes it a smidge less reasonable. In total, though, I’m favorably impressed.