Pixel Scroll 1/18/19 Learn To Scroll The Pixelphone, I File Just What I Feel, Drink Straight Tully All Night Long, And Filk Behind The Wheel

(1) AMAZON SAYS THEY’RE NOT TO BLAME. “Amazon hits back at claims it is to blame for falling author earnings”The Guardian has the story.

Amazon has called the conclusions of a recent report into US author earnings flawed, after the Authors Guild suggested that the retail giant’s dominance could be partly responsible for the “a crisis of epic proportions” affecting writers in the US.

The report from the writers’ body, published last week, highlighted the statistic that median income from writing-related work fell to $6,080 (£4,730) in 2017, down 42% from 2009, with literary authors particularly affected. Raising “serious concerns about the future of American literature”, the writers’ body singled out the growing dominance of Amazon for particular blame. “Amazon (which now controls 72% of the online book market in the US) puts pressure on [publishers] to keep costs down and takes a large percentage, plus marketing fees, forcing publishers to pass on their losses to authors,” said the report.

But on Wednesday, Amazon took issue with the report’s conclusions. “The Authors Guild has acknowledged that there are significant differences between the data it compared in its recent survey and years prior, noting that ‘the data does not line up’,” said an Amazon statement. “As a result, many of the survey’s conclusions are flawed or contradictory. For instance, the survey also shows that earnings increased almost 17% for traditionally published authors and 89% for independent [self-published] authors, and that full-time authors saw their median income rise 13% since 2013.”

(2) OVERSAUCED. Cora Buhlert wrote an emphatic dissent from Lee Konstantinou’s Slate article “Something Is Broken in Our Science Fiction” (linked in the Scroll a few days ago). Buhlert’s post is titled “Science Fiction Is Dying Again – The Hopepunk Edition”

…And now science fiction is dying again. Or rather, it already died in the 1980s and has been shambling along like a mirroshaded cyberpunk zombie ever since. For inspired by the hopepunk debate that broke out in late December (chronicled here), Lee Konstantinou weighs in on cyberpunk, hopepunk, solarpunk and the state of science fiction in general as part of Slate‘s future tense project (found via File 770). And this is one case where I wish I could use the German phrase “seinen Senf dazugeben” (literally “add their mustard”) instead of the more neutral English “weigh in”. Because Lee Konstantinou absolutely adds his* mustard, regardless whether anybody actually wants mustard or whether mustard even fits the dish….

(3) THE NEXT SFWA PRESIDENT. He’s not a SFWA member but he believes that could change — Jon Del Arroz declares “My Endorsement Of Mary Robinette Kowal For SFWA President” [Internet Archive link]

…Outreach to underserved and underrepresented writers in the SFF community

Again, the most important aspect of this, as the most underserved and underrepresented writers in the SF/F community are conservatives and Christians. These groups feel like they’re not welcome anywhere within the sphere of publishing, and it needs to change.

I’m confident Ms. Kowal will enact change here, which is the primary reason for my endorsement. I also volunteer to act as an ambassador to the conservative/Christian writing communities on her behalf, as many writers feel they can safely speak with me in confidence, when their concerns might get them ostracized or their businesses hurt if they voice their issues elsewhere. With me in such a role, we can repair the bridge in fandom so we can make it about books again, and selling for authors, and not about petty political squabbles.

Ms. Kowal has demonstrated to me personally that she is sincere in this effort by attempting to assist me with Worldcon 2018 when they horribly discriminated against me last year because of my outspoken beliefs, and because I was under threat of physical harm being done to me at their convention by extreme left-wing agitators.  The cycle of victim blaming must stop, and Kowal has assured me SFWA will not be an organization that will treat conservative authors as 2nd class citizens. This is a human rights issue and very big for me!

But Kowal also puts her money where her mouth is. When I was coming up and needed promotion as a writer, Kowal featured me on her blog not just once—but twice, and the second after I’d already become a prominent outspoken conservative within the community. She cares about books FIRST – and this is what sets her apart from others.

I’m excited for her tenure so I can finally join the professional guild (as is my due) without being shut down and held to standards others within SFWA are not.

(4) SPOCK BACKSTORY. Showrunner Alex Kurtzman discusses the launch of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 with The Hollywood Reporter: “‘Star Trek’ Showrunner: ‘Discovery’ Season 2 Is About Spock’s ‘Unwritten Chapter’”.

Discovery season one seemed like a declarative end of a chapter with the Federation-Klingon war coming to its conclusion. Why did you choose to start the second chapter by bringing in the Enterprise, considering its notoriety?

We discover in season one that Michael has a relationship with Spock. The mystery of why Spock, who we’ve known for over 50 years, has never mentioned his sister, is huge. It felt like there was no way we were going to be able to answer that question in one or two episodes. It was easily going to be the substance of a whole season. This season is a deep-dive into that relationship and what went wrong, their history and where they’re headed. That excited me. It’s the unwritten chapter of how Spock became the character that we meet in the original series. We’ll come to understand that were it not for his relationship with Michael, many of the things we know and love about Spock may not have flowered in the way that they did.

(5) LOOKING GOOD. Camestros Felapton reviews the premiere in “Star Trek Discovery: Brother (S2E1)”.

…Launching into this first episode reminded me that I do actually like these characters. I felt happy to see Michael, Tilly, Saru and Stamets again. Also, Discovery remains visually impressive, it’s easily the best looking Star Trek. The promised story arc appears to be a mysterious simultaneous signal from five points across the galaxy — a signal that Spock knows something about and which (apparently coincidentally) Captain Pike has been tasked with investigating….

(6) COSTA BOOK AWARDS. The 2018 Costa Book Awards, a general literary prize in the UK, have a winner of genre interest — Stuart Turton won the First Novel award for The Seven (or 7 1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

At a party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed – again.  She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day Aidan Bishop is too late to save her.  The only way to break this cycle is to identify Evelyn’s killer.  But every time the day begins again, Aidan wakes in the body of a different guest.  And someone is desperate to stop him ever escaping Blackheath……   

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who’s previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai.  He’s the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition.  TV rights for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle have been optioned by House Productions.  He lives in West London with his wife and daughter.     

Judges: ‘Impossibly clever, genre-busting murder mystery that feels like a mash-up of Cluedo, Sherlock and Groundhog Day.’

(7) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “WCFF-Dream” on Vimeo is an animated version of “I Dreamed a Dream” with many cute animals that was shown at the World Conservation Film Festival in October.

(8) PEARLMAN OBIT. Alan R. Pearlman (1925-2019) has died at the age of 93. The New York Times notes he was —

Founder of ARP Instruments and designer of its early synthesizers, which were used in Star Wars: A New Hope (R2-D2’s beeps), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (that infamous 5-note sequence, shown being played on an ARP 2500), and the 1980’s version of the Dr. Who theme.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 18, 1882 A.A. Milne. Oh Pooh has to count as genre, doesn’t he? Certainly that an exhibition entitled “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London shows his place in our culture. There’s also Once on a Time, a rather charming fairy tale by him. And though it isn’t remotely genre, i wholeheartedly recommend The Red House Mystery, a Country House Mystery that’s most excellent! (Died 1956.)
  • Born January 18, 1933 John Boorman, 86. I will admit that he does not at all have a lengthy genre resume though it’s quirky one nonetheless as it manages to encompass one howlingly horrible film being Zardoz featuring Sean Connery in diapers and Excalibur giving us a bare breasted Helen Mirren as Morgana. Did you know by the way that Robert Holdstock wrote the novelisation of The Emerald Forest which he directed? He also directed Exorcist II: The Heretic which frankly the less said about, the better.
  • Born January 18, 1937 Dick Durock. He was best known for playing Swamp Thing in Swamp Thing and The Return of Swamp Thing and the following television series. His only other genre appearances were in The Nude Bomb (also known as The Return of Maxwell Smart) and  “The First” of The Incredible Hulk. (Died 2009)
  • Born January 18, 1953 Pamela Dean, 66. Her best novel is I think Tam Lin though one could make an argument for Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary which Windling claims is her favorite fantasy novel. Her Secret Country trilogy is a great deal of fun reading. Much of her short stories are set in the Liavek shared universe created by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly. Alll of these are now available on all major digital platforms. According to the files sitting in my Dropbox folder, there’s eight volumes to the series. They’re wonderful reading. End of plug.
  • Born January 18, 1955 Kevin Costner, 64. Some of his films are his genre films are really atrocious, to wit Robin Hood: Prince of ThievesWaterworldThe Postman and the recent Dragonfly but I really like  his Field of Dreams and his acting in it as Ray Kinsella is quite excellent. Not quite as superb as he was as  “Crash” Davis in Bull Durham but damned good. I forgot until just reminded that he was Jonathan Kent in both Man of Steel and  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I know that’s two more horrid films he’s been in. 
  • Born January 18, 1960 Mark Rylance, 59. Prospero’s Books, an adaption of The Tempest which I really want to see, The BFG and Ready Player One are the films he’s been in. An active thespian, he’s been in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Royal Opera House, Hamlet at American Repertory Theater and Macbeth at Greenwich Theatre to show but a few of his appearances.
  • Born January 18, 1968David Ayer, 51. Film director, producer and screenwriter. Recent genre film from him were Suicide Squad and Bright, both of which have Will Smith in them and both of which, errr, were utter crap. He’ll be directing Gotham City Sirens which will not presumably have Will Smith in it. Yes I’m being snarky. 

(10) SIGNS OF SPRING. Jonathan Cowie announced that the Spring edition of SF2 Concatenation is now online, with its rich mix of con reports, articles, seasonal giant news page and loads of book reviews.

(11) BRICKS OF MONEY. Bloomberg says “The Hot New Asset Class Is Lego Sets”.

In a paper titled “Lego — The Toy of Smart Investors,” Dobrynskaya analyzed 2,300 sets sold from 1987 to 2015 to measure their price-return over time. She found that collections used for Hogwarts Castles and Jedi star fighters beat U.S. large-cap stocks and bonds, yielding 11 percent a year. Smaller kits rose more than medium-sized ones, similar to the size effect in the Fama-French model (though the relation isn’t exact).

Lego sets that focus on superheroes, Batman and Indiana Jones are among the ones that do best over time. The Simpsons is the only Lego theme that has lost value, falling by 3.5 percent on average.

(12) DANISH CRIME FICTION AWARDS. The winners of the 2018 Danish Criminal Academy Awards for the best Danish crime fiction have been announced.

The Harald Mogensen Prisen for the best thriller went to Jesper Stein for his novel Solo.

The Danish Criminal Academy’s debut award was won by Søren Sveistrup for the thriller novel “Kastanjemanden” (The Chestnut Man).

 The Palle Rosenkrantz Award for this year’s best foreign thriller novel has been awarded to Michael Connelly for Two Kinds of Truth. The award recognizes the best crime fiction novel published in Danish. It is named in honour of Palle Rosenkrantz (1867-1941), who is considered the first Danish crime fiction author; his novel Mordet i Vestermarie (Murder in Vestermarie) was published in 1902.

(13) J FOR JANUARY AND JOY. Cora Buhlert’s guest post “Space Opera and Me” is part of the Month of Joy project of the Skiffy and Fanty Show:  

At the time, a friend asked me why I always watched Star Trek, even though I’d seen much of it before and it was all the same anyway. “You watch soap operas, don’t you?” I asked her. She nodded and said, “Yes, to relax.” – “Well, Star Trek is my soap opera,” I told her.

I was on to something there, because there are similarities between space operas and soap operas beyond the fact that both started out as derogatory terms including the word “opera”. Both soap operas and space operas (and actual operas for that matter) offer larger-than-life drama with a huge cast of characters. Both offer the grand spectrum of emotion, love and hate, birth and death, weddings and funerals. However, space opera has aliens, ray guns, starships and space battles to go with the melodrama.

Another thing that unites space operas and soap operas is that no matter how fascinating the settings, how shocking the twists, how grand the melodrama, what makes us come back for more are the characters. The best space and soap operas feature people (in the loosest sense of the term) we want to spend time with, whether it’s in the mundane surroundings of Coronation Street or Lindenstraße or on the deck of a starship or the surface of an alien planet.

(14) FLOCKS OF HUGO RECOMMENDATIONS. Nerds of a Feather makes its collective picks in several Hugo categories at each post. Examples are included below.   

“2019 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Longlist, Part 2: Visual Work Categories”

Graphic Story

  • Destroyer, Victor LaValle and Dietrich Smith
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Volume 7: Synthesis, by Tom Sidell
  • Lumberjanes, Volume 8: Stone Cold, by Shannon Waters and Kat Leyh
  • Monstress: Volume 3: Haven, by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
  • Saga: Volume 9, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • The Walking Dead, Volume 29: The Lines We Cross, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
  • White Sand: Volume 2, by Brandon Sanderon, Rik Hoskin, and Julius Gopez
  • X-Men: Grand Design, by Ed Piskor

“2019 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Longlist, Part 3: Individual Categories”

Fan Writer

“2019 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Longlist, Part 4: Institutional Categories”


(15) HOW WE GOT HERE. An article in this week’s Nature reminds me of the old t-shirt design pointing out “You are here” — “The Once and Future Milky Way” [PDF file].

Data from the Gaia spacecraft are radically transforming how we see the evolution of our Galaxy.

There was a a smashup between the young Galaxy and a colossal companion . That beast once circled the Milky Way like a planet around a star, but some 8 billion to 11 billion years ago, the two collided, massively altering the Galactic disk and scattering stars far and wide. It is the last-known major crash the Galaxy experienced before it assumed the familiar spiral shape seen today. Although the signal of that ancient crash had been hiding in plain sight for billions of years, it was only through the Gaia space probe’s data set that astronomers were finally able to detect it.

(16) CITY CHESS. Maybe nothing to do with Brunner’s The Squares of the City, but designers can plot their moves with this — “Virtual cities: Designing the metropolises of the future”.

Simulation software that can create accurate “digital twins” of entire cities is enabling planners, designers and engineers to improve their designs and measure the effect changes will have on the lives of citizens.

Cities are hugely complex and dynamic creations. They live and breathe.

Think about all the parts: millions of people, schools, offices, shops, parks, utilities, hospitals, homes and transport systems.

Changing one aspect affects many others. Which is why planning is such a hard job.

So imagine having a tool at your disposal that could answer questions such as “What will happen to pedestrian and traffic flow if we put the new metro station here?” or “How can we persuade more people to leave their cars at home when they go to work?”

This is where 3D simulation software is coming into its own.

Architects, engineers, construction companies and city planners have long used computer-aided design and building information modelling software to help them create, plan and construct their projects.

But with the addition of internet of things (IoT) sensors, big data and cloud computing, they can now create “digital twins” of entire cities and simulate how things will look and behave in a wide range of scenarios.

(17) YOUNGER THAN RINGTIME. BBC says “Saturn’s spectacular rings are ‘very young'” — thought likely for a while, but now it’s locked down.

We’re looking at Saturn at a very special time in the history of the Solar System, according to scientists.

They’ve confirmed the planet’s iconic rings are very young – no more than 100 million years old, when dinosaurs still walked the Earth.

The insight comes from the final measurements acquired by the American Cassini probe.

The satellite sent back its last data just before diving to destruction in the giant world’s atmosphere in 2017.

“Previous estimates of the age of Saturn’s rings required a lot of modelling and were far more uncertain. But we now have direct measurements that allows us to constrain the age very well,” Luciano Iess from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, told BBC News.

(18) BOX SCORE. The sff/horror drama Bird Box was very good for Netflix’s business:

Shows including Bird Box helped Netflix end 2018 with more than 139 million subscribers, adding 8.8 million members in the last three months of the year.

Bird Box was watched by 80 million households in its first four weeks after release

The firm reported quarterly revenue of $4.2bn (£3.2bn), up 27% from the same period in 2017.

(19) WALK THIS WAY. Cnet explains how “Scientists built a lizard-like robot based on a 280-million-year-old fossil”.

You can tell a lot about an animal from the way it moves, which is why scientists have been recreating the movements of an extinct crocodile-like creature called Orobates pabsti. Orobates lived well before the time of the dinosaurs and is what’s called a ‘stem amniote’ – an early offshoot of the lineage which led to birds, reptiles and mammals. Using 3D scans of an exquisitely preserved Orobates fossil – and an associated set of fossilised footprints – researchers were able to build a dynamic computer simulation of the creature’s movement. The simulation incorporates data from extant animals such as lizards and salamanders to create more realistic motion as it walks along. And the simulation didn’t just stay on a computer; the researchers tested the models in the real world using a Orobates robot, helping bring this ancient creature to life.

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]

62 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/18/19 Learn To Scroll The Pixelphone, I File Just What I Feel, Drink Straight Tully All Night Long, And Filk Behind The Wheel

  1. 18)
    I did like Bird Box. A lot of its chassis is awfully familiar, but it works it pretty well all the same.

    16) Now that would make for an interesting adaptation, especially if you decided to break the secret and just have a chessboard in the corrner of the screen, or maybe you could flash it whenever a move was made.

    3) Um, err…

  2. (9) I liked Once On A Time quite a bit. I also liked The Red House Mystery until I read Raymond Chandler’s minute dissection of the gaping holes in the plot and felt kind of embarrassed about it. Apparently, I can suspend huge quantities of disbelief.

    (11) I have a vintage Lego set. The most ‘advanced’ pieces are gears, wheels, roofs, and windows. And it was previously owned by a Hugo winner! (I sneer at your modern Lego sets with their one-off pieces made for a specific project. NYAAAAAH.)

    (15) One of the summers when I was maintaining the map library at Georgia Southern, I got permission to make a display in a hallway. In order, there were maps of:
    • The Solar System
    • The World
    • The Western Hemisphere
    • The USA
    • The region
    • Georgia
    • Statesboro (an old town map that was being discarded until I showed them that it was original and probably had some historic value)
    • The campus
    • The floor plan of the library, to which I had added “YOU ARE HERE” at the appropriate spot.

    The way the halls were, it could be approached from either end.

    My daddy was a pixel—I’m a son of a dot!

  3. Thanks for the title credit – it really brightened up an irksome evening I’d been having.

    (9) The other night I was taken by an odd mood and watched Excalibur and Zardoz back to back. Z. had the core ideas to be a decent movie, with better execution.

  4. Turns out Jack Klugman died in 2012 — can’t explain why his obit came up in my feed as if it just happened…. Replaced item with a “Video of the Day”.

  5. #19 isn’t from CNET, but from NATURE, but that seemed like four minutes of good palentology and I’m glad you posted it.

  6. 19
    I saw it at Science News. Watched the video there, and my reaction was “it walks a lot like a turtle”.

  7. @Patrick Morris Miller

    I saw Zardoz for the first time a year and eighteen days ago, and I found it a fascinating experience. On the one hand it was entertaining in a good bad-movie kind of way. On the other hand it was frustrating because I felt like there was a good movie in there, struggling to get out.


    JDA is barking if he thinks that sucking up to MRK is going to overcome all of his past harassment and abuse of SFWA’s president and members. My predicted timeline is:
    April 12: ballots are counted and MRK becomes SFWA President
    April 13: JDA contacts MRK and demands to be admitted as a SFWA member
    April 14: JDA posts screaming tantrums claiming that MRK only got elected because of his support, and how DARE she uphold the ban on his SFWA membership?!!
    I call dibs on April 14, 6pm PST for the Filer pool.

  9. @3: nobody deserves this kind of crap dumped on them, but doing it to someone fighting for real inclusion (as opposed to GHA’s hallucination(*) thereof) is just despicable. I wonder if she’ll find anything to say about this (e.g., to make clear in advance she won’t push for reconsideration), or just ignore him.
    (*) which goes along with his hallucination about being endangered (or even threatened) in San Jose

    @6: I’m fascinated by the love for …Hardcastle; it seemed to me to be a mix of political rant and pulled-out-of-the-author’s-ass happenings, with a closing justification that didn’t make sense in how it was applied. Oh well, everyone has the gout….

    @9: eight volumes of Liavek? ISFDB knows of only 5 in the main series, plus a sixth 25 years later (about which they have no contents data). I guess Dropbox hasn’t come to ISFDB’s awareness; who is in the recent three?

    @15: wow, right out of Doc Smith….

    @16: “city chess” also shows up in Katherine MacLean’s Missing Man, where it is played in simulation for much higher stakes — you get three failures to wipe out your opponent.

  10. @JJ
    Somehow I’ve never noticed that conservatives are an endangered type of SF writer. There are so many of them on the shelves, and yet they are so loud about their perceived disadvantages in the market (which may have more to do with the quality of their output and their desire to be published without benefit of editing).

  11. 6) Not actually genre, but my first real encounter with Mark Rylance was in the BBC miniseries Wolf Hall. And I spent pretty much the entire run wishing they’d just port the full cast over to an adaptation of Katherine Kurtz’ Camber of Culdi trilogy, with Rylance in the title role.

    (Having said which, Wolf Hall was extraordinary and is highly, highly recommended on its own merits.)

  12. This might have been posted here already and eluded me, but a very cursory search suggests otherwise.

    Writer Laurent Queyssi has teamed with artist Marco Marchesi to produce a graphic novel bio of Philip K. Dick, which I saw advertised on the web site for The Comics Journal, where I was enjoying a lengthy interview of Jules Feiffer conducted by Gary Groth back in 2013.

    Anyway, graphic novel. Phil Dick. I can say no more, not knowing more. Funny how that works.

    Well, whaddaya know? Ran out of pixels.

  13. (There’s also a preview several pages long. We’re well within the usual time limit, but it’s not letting me edit. The machine is keepin’ me down.)

  14. (1) The Author’s Guild survey was self-selected, which can affect how reliable or representative a survey is. That is, the population it represents is really “the people who were inclined to fill out this survey.”

    Novelists, Inc. (NINC, where I’ve been a member for 30 years and am a former BoD member) was invited to participate in the survey, and it was distributed to our members. It was in December, and I assume that a percentage of members were like me: so busy, they never even opened the link or looked at it. I also know that a number of members who looked at it, or even started filling it out, gave up and never finished.

    Some thought the survey question was too intrusive (the requested financial details of an author’s life were too personal), and some thought it was just way too time-consuming. The average NINC member has published 24 novels. Also a lot of NINC members have acquired rights to their old backlists and have republished those books themselves. So a typical NINC member has a lot of books currently in the market, earning income. The quantity of information the survey requested about each active title in an author’s financial life was time-consuming. My impression from what my colleagues said was that the survey really didn’t seem to be aimed at writers who have big, active lists. If you’ve got 4 books in active release, the survey was perhaps not hard to complete, but among the writers I know, with 15-20-40-or-more books… it was just too time-consuming to participate.

    So my guess is that one way he survey results are skewed is that they mostly reflect writers with fewer active titles.

  15. (3) I like MRK, and I think she’s likely to make an excellent president of SFWA. (My opinion about that is irrelevant, though, since I’m not a SFWA member.)

    However, when I saw her announcement, the thought that popped into my head is that she’s obviously a sucker for punishment.

    This post by that oh-so-tiresome troll surely proves my point. Poor MRK!

    (BTW, what happened with his “nobody wants meeeeeeeee!!!!” lawsuit against WorldCon?)

  16. Chip says eight volumes of Liavek? ISFDB knows of only 5 in the main series, plus a sixth 25 years later (about which they have no contents data). I guess Dropbox hasn’t come to ISFDB’s awareness; who is in the recent three?

    Will says there’s eight therefore there is eight. I’m only awake for a few minutes but I’ll see tomorrow morning if can pull the contents of each out and post them here.

  17. @Laura Resnick: The legal wheels move slowly.

    In Del Arroz’s case, the case management conference was duly held on Dec. 18th. There’s no information in Santa Clara County Superior Court’s sucky online system about outcomes except that the conference was ‘held’. In case management, a judge reviews the state of the case, estimates time required for trial, gives the parties a chance to use arbitration, etc. or settle, and makes sure both sides are complying with each other’s discovery requests.)

    Defence has a pending demurrer motion and a separate motion to strike (something) under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, both scheduled to be heard the morning of Feb. 21st. The court Web site shows no detail about what either of these concerns.

    A ‘demurrer’ motion is one objecting to a pleading by the opposite side, either claiming opposing counsel’s claimed facts weren’t sufficient to support a cause of action (the lawsuit’s basis) or on any of several more-limited grounds such as that the pleading was ‘uncertain’ (meaning ambiguous and unintelligible), that the opposite side lacked capacity to sue, the court lacks jurisdiction, and some others. Basically, a demurrer is an alternative to answering one or more count of a complaint (or other pleading) and instead saying ‘Judge, there’s something wrong with this stuff from a fundamental legal perspective.’

    Nothing else is yet scheduled.

  18. On the topic of Hugo recommendations: I have a post on works by Mervyn Peake, Lord Dunsany, C.S. Lewis, and Charles WIlliams eligible for the Retros this year. A couple good ones this time, I think.

  19. @ Rick Moen

    Thank you.

    Here’s hoping WorldCon can get this nuisance-suit out of their hair soon.

  20. Thanks for the links, Mike.

    3) He really has lapsed into self-parody by now, hasn’t he? I mean, even he cannot believe the crap he’s posting.

    As for conservatives in SFF being an endangered species, oh please! If they were, David Weber, Orson Scott Card and Dan Simmons would be out of print and Baen’s entire catalogue would consist of Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint and maybe a few others.

  21. @Laura Resnick: that does sound like a hole in the data; any idea how many writers there are with substantial backlists? I also did not find anything in the article about how many people were calling themselves writers compared to previous years, or whether the survey had a cutoff for low-yield self-publication; their website is not clear on whether they have any rate-of-sales qualifications like SFWA.

    A brief, belated report from Arisia: the first newsletter reported “registration” of 2635 as of 4pm; this is unlikely to be a count of checked-in bodies, as the line I was in appeared to be moving at only a few hundred per hour. (Someday they’ll have the courage to blow up that stupid system and go with something that takes less than 2-3 minutes/person/station to get people their badges.) (Yes, Reg officially opened at 11am — but a fellow attendee reported light usage until after 3pm.) It will be interesting to see whether they actually approach cap, which IIRC is well above the cap when they were last at this site. (There may be a little more accessible function space — I haven’t looked at everything — but the choke points still exist.) The Watch I saw were mostly keeping the Reg line orderly and had an IIRC new duty of keeping the underage out of the adult part of Dealers, but IMO the hard test of the convention will be not the visible bodies but how they (and HQ) respond to issues.

  22. Concerning the Liavek proliferation of volumes, I asked Will what happened and he said There were. We couldn’t reprint Pamela’s and Pat’s stories, so we made them into smaller volumes for ebooks.

    That they only could not reprint two is amazing. When Windling was interested in reprinting the Bordertown stories from the first three Ace paperbacks in a Subterranean hardcover edition, she quickly found rights were a nightmare.


    Each year, January, at SF2 Concatenation we have a bit of fun team recommendations of best books and films of previous years.

    The thing is almost invariable each year a few works go on to be shortlisted for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA etc and also there is the occasional win. Such, with the benefit of hindsight, is this overlap with SF Award voting communities that we have created a rolling archive page covering the past decade and which will be updated each year in January.

    The page is here

  24. 1) The Author Earnings report, being self-selected, is…maybe not the most reliable thing. I admire what they’re trying to do, but let’s face it, it’s also just such a weird business to try and quantify.

    3) The sad bit here is that JDA, not able to be liked, is now hoping he’s so toxic he can sink campaigns for awards/candidacy/whatever. But he’s not even good enough at being toxic for that. MRK is both gracious and ruthlessly competent and I’d back her candidacy for neatly anything.

  25. (3) From Policy and Procedure on Harassment in SFWA Venues

    Harassment proscribed by this Policy includes:

    1. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical, verbal or written conduct of a sexual nature.

    2. Creating an intimidating, hostile, or sexually offensive environment by severe or pervasive conduct. Written conduct includes postings or similar conduct in online or electronic venues. Sexual harassment may occur in hierarchical relationships or between peers, and between persons of the same sex or different sexes.

    If you break an organization’s rules again and again and again, you’re not going to allowed into that organization, no matter how much you whine about it.

  26. @Adam Rakunas: A. he’s got nowhere else to go: he tried hitching up to the alt-rt and they seemed to pretty much ignore him; he tried the comicsgate crowd and I’m gathering did not do well there either; he’s already tried running for public office and ended up paying himself back the some 90-odd percent of the campaign donations he made to himself, which probably suggests the voters didn’t want him; B: Dunning-Kreuger, the mere mention of which really ought to define this whole thing; C. he thinks a blog post read by six people makes him “relevant” to the discussion (and would most likely point to this discussion as proof that he is, except this discussion is about non-relevance) -and- SJW’s always lie….D. probably simply can’t help himself; E. somehow (Dunning-Kreuger?) believes the contradictory outcomes that his statement will either negatively affect MRK’s candidacy (double Ha!) and that if she gets in, she’ll ignore the past and immediately advance him to the board or something.

    It’s like an idiot’s version of heads I win, tails you loose, except he forgot to bring a coin to toss….

  27. In case anyone wants to know what I thought about the Netflix fantasy series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, here it is. Basically, there are some interesting elements but it’s not great.

    @Nancy Sauer: I agree, although when you say “good-bad movie” it mostly makes me think of things where the filmmakers just didn’t have the skill or the resources to pull off what they were trying to do, and Zardoz isn’t that. From a technical and directing standpoint it’s mostly a really well-done film, the story is interesting (at least to me) for at least the first half, and as far as I know it’s exactly what Boorman wanted to make (except the bouncing-head exposition prologue, which I believe was a studio note). It’s kind of in its own realm of “I’m not sure why they thought X, Y, and Z were good ideas.”

  28. (3) All I can say about Jon del Arroz is, having seen him in conversation with a very patient con organizer, I’m pretty sure he sincerely believes the stuff about how there are leftists threatening him and so on. That’s just my totally uninformed opinion based on his overall affect; I feel that someone who was aware that he was speaking bullshit would probably adopt a somewhat different persona, one that would be easier to take seriously. But who knows.

  29. Laura Resnick on January 18, 2019 at 9:07 pm said:

    (3) I like MRK, and I think she’s likely to make an excellent president of SFWA. (My opinion about that is irrelevant, though, since I’m not a SFWA member.)

    Same here on both counts. Back when she was Secretary of SFWA, I had the good fortune to be at a dinner outing where we happened to be sitting on opposite sides of the same table. She made a comment about the work SFWA was doing to convert itself from a 501c6 to a 501c3 organization. I was once the executive director of a (non-fandom-related) 501c6 professional organization and I was then and am now the secretary of a 501c3 charitable-educational non-profit corporation (SFSFC). We got into a very “inside baseball” discussion of all of the technicalities of the process, probably much to the boredom of everyone around us.

    (In case anyone cares, for the purposes of US taxes and all states of which I’m familiar, a 501c6 professional organization is exempt from corporate income tax but not charitable, so donations aren’t tax-deductible and there are fewer advantages under most jurisdictions. A 501c3 organization is considered charitable in nature, is tax-exempt, and donations to it are deductible from one’s income taxes. The latter also has a lot more rules hemming in what it can do. Oh, and besides being Secretary of SFSFC, I’m also President of another 501c3 California-based public benefit corporation — Worldcon Intellectual Property, the corporation set up under the control of the WSFS Mark Protection Corporation to hold title to the WSFS service marks. I’m neither a lawyer nor a tax professional, but I’ve been soaking in rules about this since the late 1980s.)

  30. @Adam Rakunas
    While I think he actually does want to be an SFWA member, his main motivation is selling his books. Being outrageous attracts attention, and just about all attention is good attention when it comes to sales.

  31. @Kevin Standlee:

    Wasn’t there an author who quit SFWA over this change in organization? I seem to recall something to that effect from several years back.

  32. Cora Buhlert: …Baen’s entire catalogue would consist of Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint and maybe a few others.

    In my timeline, Baen’s entire catalog consists of Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint, Susan R. Matthews and P. C. Hodgell.

  33. Tom Becker: In my timeline, Baen’s entire catalog consists of Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint, Susan R. Matthews and P. C. Hodgell.

    Surely also Catherine Asaro? 😀

  34. Tom Becker: In my timeline, Baen’s entire catalog consists of Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint, Susan R. Matthews and P. C. Hodgell.

    Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are also ones I follow.

  35. @ Chip Hitchcock:

    any idea how many writers there are with substantial backlists?

    If you mean in the survey, in he Authors Guild, or just in general, no, I have no idea.

    If you mean in NINC…. we have approx. 900 members. As far as I know, NINC is still running the internal m’ship survey the way I set it up in 2007 with a marketing survey professional, meaning it’s not self-selected, it is a statistical random sample survey, which is more reliable. Our most recent survey data comes from 2016. At the time, the average NINC member had been in publishing for 15 years and had published 24 novels. Unfortunately, the survey does not show any medians, just averages, so that info is skewed. Just among my own friends and acquaintances in NINC, I know people who’ve published 60 novels and people who’ve published 4. (You have to have published 2 novels to join NINC, so all members have definitely published at least that much.) Obviously 4 (or 2) is not a substantial publishing llist.

    So my best rough estimate is that 50%-75% of NINC members have a substantial list, if we define “substantial” as 20 books.

    NINC didn’t track how many NINC members participated in the AG survey, but my guess is that the number was very low, since we got it late (due to circumstances) and since, as I’ve described, a number of people who started it wound up leaving it incomplete.

    Apart from that, I have no idea who filled in the AG survey, how many people, how they were defining “writer,” etc. And, yes, without that information, it’s very unclear what the survey means, or if it means anything.

  36. Tom Becker: In my timeline, Baen’s entire catalog consists of Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint, Susan R. Matthews and P. C. Hodgell.

    Surely also Catherine Asaro? ?

    Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are also ones I follow.

    I wouldn’t mind living in a universe where the entire Baen catalogue consists of Lois McMaster Bujold, Catherine Asaro, Susan R. Matthews, P.C. Hodgell, Wen Spencer, Elizabeth Moon (though she seems to have jumped ship) and Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, cause those are the only Baen authors I read anyway.

    Eric Flint, too, though his books don’t do it for me at all – too many anachronisms. I mainly listed him as a prominent leftleaning Baen author and apparently good guy.

  37. @ Eli:

    I feel that someone who was aware that he was speaking bullshit would probably adopt a somewhat different persona, one that would be easier to take seriously.

    If I were a better person, your observation would make me to pity this tiresome, vindictive troll who, indeed, gets attention by noisily wailing that people should pity him.

    But I’m not a better person. And so I find that observation hilarious! 🙂

  38. Re: Baen’s list. Actually, there are a bunch of authors I really like who’ve been published by them in the past. But that last phrase is the operative one. I don’t know if it was only JB’s death that shifted their pub list or what, but most of the authors I like, I’m not sure how many are still with the house. I mean, neither Elizabeth Moon nor Martha Wells seem to publish with them anymore. John Lambshead’s books were actually quite entertaining; I’d include him in any list, but he seems to have stopped writing SFF. And there’s also Wen Spencer. She seems to still be with them.

  39. Cheesy and possibly drug-inspired costume choices aside, I don’t think Zardoz was “howlingly horrible.” It certainly wasn’t great, but it was kind of an entertaining failure which, in my opinion, falls somewhere in a murky area between good and bad. On-line opinions seem to be all across the board, with some people loudly defending it, and others who can’t see any redeeming value. I can’t side with either extreme, but I can understand both points of view. 🙂

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