Pixel Scroll 10/1 The Other Blog of Phileas Fogg

(1) Sir Terry Pratchett’s estate has announced the endowment of the Sir Terry Pratchett Memorial Scholarship at the University of South Australia.

The $100,000 scholarship recipient will also have the opportunity to conduct their research both at University of South Australia. and at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland for up to a full year in the course of their two-year’s study.

The collaborative scholarship builds on a growing relationship between two very different universities in two hemispheres, who share links both through research and their strong associations with Sir Terry Pratchett and is underpinned by an MOU between Trinity College Dublin’s Trinity Long Room Hub and University of South Australia’s Hawke Research Institute.

Pratchett was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of South Australia in 2014.

(2) Pat Cadigan celebrates the return of her hair in “And Then, Suddenly: The Silver Fox! Or OMG! I Have Hair!” Complete with photo gallery.

About a month and a half after my last round of chemo, my hair began to grow back. Not slowly, but at a natural rate, as if I had deliberately shaved it off. By August, when I was preparing to go to the world science fiction convention in Spokane, Washington, I had what could have been a pixie-cut that was just slightly too short. Ellen Datlow told me she thought it looked cute and I could probably get away without any head-coverings. I will always love her for that, truly.

There’s nothing more reassuring to someone recovering from chemo than to be told she looks cute with her short hair. I mean, really. It goes a long way toward recovery–not just a physical recovery but the psychological recovering of yourself from cancer patient to Who You Are. (Yeah, you may be both but it’s important to be Who You Are first, cancer patient second.)

Still, I left the head scarves on. I wasn’t quite ready to expose my itty-bitty head with its itty-bitty hair.

A month later, however, my hair was an inch longer and it was a different story.

(3) Larry Correia came back with great stories from Salt Lake Comic Con.

I had a Green Beret’s wife come by to pick up signed copies of everything. Her husband is a huge fan, and was currently deployed to an undisclosed location doing badass stuff to bad people. He recorded a video for her to play for me, and gave me a unit hat. That was neat, but even cooler, while I was signing her stack of books, somebody else standing in line had heard her story, and paid for all of her books while she wasn’t looking. Just to say thanks for her husband’s service, and then he walked away, anonymous. I didn’t even know until I got done signing, and Steve Diamond leaned over and said, yep, these are all already taken care of. She teared up. Because fans are awesome people like that.

No matter how busy I was, if I am ever in danger of pride, all I had to do was look at Butcher or Brooks’ signing lines, that literally stretched across ten aisles, to be put in my place. Holy crap. I’m a pretty successful author, but Jim does what I do, with another zero on the end of everything.

Speaking of Jim, several of us writers put together a game night. We played Fiasco, which is a perfect, silly, stand-alone RPG for one-off events. Think of it like a Cohen brothers movie, where everything is odd and goes sideways. Ours was like the movie Fargo. Poor Jim ended up as the only decent human being in the cast (a Mexican Catholic priest and champion of SOCIAL JUSTICE I kid you not, thank you so much Fiasco’s random complication tables). But don’t worry, after Jim was horribly injured when Steve and Allen blew up the meth supplies hidden in the basement of his church, Peter and I burned down the local Walmart to avenge him. Yes. It was that sort of game.

(4) Everything Wrong With Interstellar, Featuring Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson —

(5) RedWombat’s verse, which some have dubbed The Jellicle Troll, started life as a comment on File 770.

The Naming of Trolls is a difficult matter,

It isn’t just some sort of blog-a-day game;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a troll may have MORE THAN ONE NAME.
First of all, there’s the name that employers use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them everyday real wallet names.
But I tell you, a troll needs a name that’s not famous,
A handle peculiar, but easily shed,
Else how can he keep his trolling anonymous,
Or threaten his critics or wish them all dead?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a couple, too,
Such as Drizzt69, Quaxo, or Nazi-lol,
Such as Edgelord150, or HatesSJW-
Names that sometimes belong to more than one troll.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweet,
And IP muddlers and sock-puppets galore:
That the troll may continue to whargle and bleat–
Without any pause in his trollicksome chore.
But above and beyond there’s still one thing left over,
And that is the thing that you probably have guessed;
The thing human research has long since discovered–
(IF THE TROLL HIMSELF KNOWS, he will never confess.)
When you notice a troll in profound verbiation,
I’ll tell you his reason for courting suspension:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of attention:
Paid to his tedious
Shallow uninteresting
singular Self.

(6) Lo and behold! David J. Peterson’s book about conlangery, mentioned here yesterday, is today’s Big Idea at Whatever.

With The Art of Language Invention, my purpose was twofold. The first was to give the uninitiated a window into the world of conlanging: to see what it’s all about, to see the work that goes into creating a language, and, maybe, to see if it’s for them. The second, though, was to build a bridge between the original conlanging community and the conlangers to come.

(7) The minutes of the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting [PDF file], a 134-page epic by secretary Linda Deneroff, has been posted on the Sasquan website.

(8) Kate Paulk has a goal.

Inept message fiction makes puppies sad. Sad Puppies 4 wants to make puppies happy by returning the Hugo to its roots as a readers choice award – all readers, not just the small cadre who favor style over substance. Those who wouldn’t know substance if it bit them on the butt are of course in opposition to this goal.

(9) GUFF voting is closed. Now the administrators say they are doing a vote count before announcing a winner. Who should be Jukka Halme, as he is running unopposed.

(10) The story of “The Little Blue Man Hoax” at The Museum of Hoaxes.

The police began to search for what, or who, was causing these sightings. Their search ended when three young men — Jerry Sprague, Don Weiss, and LeRoy Schultz — came forward and confessed. The young men explained how all the reports of flying saucers in the news had given them an idea for a prank. They created a costume consisting of long underwear, gloves, combat boots, a sheet with holes cut out for the eyes, and a football helmet to which they attached blinking lights. They then spray-painted the costume glow-in-the-dark blue (inspired by a song popular on the radio at the time, “Little Blue Man” by Betty Johnson). Sprague wore the costume, noting that “it was my underwear and I was the only one it would fit.”

The trio staked out rural roads at night. Sprague would hide in a ditch, and when a motorist approached, he would leap out and run along the road to attract their attention before making a quick getaway by jumping into the trunk of the car driven by Weiss and Schultz. They did this on at least eight or ten nights, over a period of weeks.

The police let the pranksters off with a warning not to do it again.

(11) John Simm told the Guardian he can’t wait to move on from Doctor Who.

The actor John Simm has admitted that he is fed up with the attention he gets from Doctor Who fans.

The star of The Village and Life On Mars played the Master in five episodes of the BBC1 sci-fi programme.

He told the Radio Times: “I do get a lot of Doctor Who. God almighty, I’ll be so happy when that’s gone from my life. They’re lovely, I’m sure, but I won’t miss it.”

He added: “It’s great to be into something, but for goodness’ sake, really? I’m not the Master, I’m not that evil Time Lord who rules the galaxy, I’m just in Tesco with my kids. Leave me alone!”

(12) The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book (A Song of Ice and Fire)

In a world where weddings are red, fire is green, and debts are paid in gold, countless images leap off the page thanks to the eye-popping intricacy of the vivid settings and details. Now, for the first time, fans of this blockbuster saga can fill in the blanks and marvel as this meticulously imagined universe comes to life, one sword, sigil, and castle at a time. With dozens of stunning original black-and-white illustrations from world-renowned illustrators Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomi?, Adam Stower, and Levi Pinfold, this unique collector’s item expands the reach of an international phenomenon with flying colors.


Official game of thrones coloring book cover COMP

(13) I scientifically lifted this news from the October issue of Ansible.

With an eye on the coming film, the Royal Mail will issue no fewer than eighteen Star Wars stamps on 20 October. (BBC, 12 September)

(14) Camestros Felapton has weaponized one of File 770’s running gags…

[Thanks to JJ, Kevin Standlee, David Doering, Camestros Felapton, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z .]

375 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/1 The Other Blog of Phileas Fogg

  1. @TechGrrl1972:
    That means EVERYONE ON EARTH is an immigrant, except the people who remained in east Africa.

    Except they didn’t. Everybody who lives there now came in from elsewhere at some point.

    And also, elsewhere in the thread: a lot of the Native Americans-maybe most? came in boats too. They followed the shallow water along the old coastline.

    Gosh, it’s hard to post when you’re trying to ice an incision site and the overly enthusiastic puppy (real puppy, not Sad Puppy) keeps jumping on you. She’s all “I gave you a few days, now play with me! Walk me!”

  2. Tasha Turner on October 2, 2015 at 10:47 pm said:
    It isn’t as if anyone would want to eat the results of pigeon shooting, after all…

    Pigeon soup isn’t bad. Although I’m not sure much of the pigeon is left after it’s been shot for no good reason. I’ve only had it once mind you and it was a combo pigeon/sparrow

    The pigeons you see today cooing and shitting on monuments in London are all descended from domesticated pigeons brought by the Romans – as food.

  3. Adam and Eve got kicked out of the garden — a race of emigrants from the start, if not immigrants.

  4. RE 2001. I hated that movie when I first tried to watch it (caveat: I was very young). The monkey scene* was also my favorite. Everything else was slow-moving and boring and made absolutely no sense. Finally read the book in my late 20s and loved it, and loved the movie when I made another attempt to watch it again shortly thereafter.

    * I know, they weren’t actually monkeys, but monkey is more fun to say. Please nobody tell The Librarian.

  5. We once had a pigeon show up at my apartment building that had an actual leg band – I don’t know where it belonged, but it wasn’t the usual pigeon. (Wouldn’t bet on its survival though – we have hawks around here that like pigeons. For breakfast.)

  6. Never trust a one-legged pigeon. Some of them know how to fake it for sympathy and conveniently placed breadcrumbs.

    As far as I recall the pigeons haven’t changed very much in the last twenty years. They still don’t resemble the healthy-looking pigeons from the countryside (even allowing for the difference in plumage; London pigeons are mongrels and the patterns tend to be quite random).


    Please…for the love of God…not so loud…urg.

    Anathem, Neal Stephenson
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein

    Because of truly alien-world worldbuilding.

    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    Feel-good space opera for the win!

    Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    OK, if I die from this hangover, I can at least be content that I did my duty.

  8. As areas are gentrified or cleaned up, do you get a better class of pigeons? Is the Time Square pigeon of today more appetizing than the Time Square pigeon of the 70s? What about areas where pigeon feeding is an activity? Are the pigeons of Trafalgar Square plumper and juicier than the pigeons of the rest of London?

  9. @Jack Lint

    Are the pigeons of Trafalgar Square plumper and juicier than the pigeons of the rest of London?

    Yes, but only because tourists are really bad at obeying the ‘don’t feed the pigeons’ signs all over Trafalgar Square (the people in charge of cleaning up the Square threw a giant hissy fit over pigeon poop a few years ago and got the signs put up).

  10. Meredith on October 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm said:
    @Jack Lint

    Are the pigeons of Trafalgar Square plumper and juicier than the pigeons of the rest of London?

    Yes, but only because tourists are really bad at obeying the ‘don’t feed the pigeons’ signs all over Trafalgar Square (the people in charge of cleaning up the Square threw a giant hissy fit over pigeon poop a few years ago and got the signs put up).

    Trafalgar Square also has its own falcon, to keep the pigeon menace at bay

  11. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

    Full-time, or on a rotation like the train station ones? (Hmm… Definitely been too long since I was there.)

  12. @Meredith, to be honest I don’t know. I met one of their handlers but I think he said they are only there for a few hours a day. I can find outraged headlines about the cost of the operation and the fact that the hawks killed the occasional pigeon, but nothing recent.

  13. I was curious, so I googled Trafalgar Square hawk. One of the results I got was:

    The £60,000 kiiller loose in Trafalgar Squar*

    Guesses? Why, yes, it was the Daily Mail.

    *Yes, it said “kiiller” and “Squar.”


    The only out-of-bracket votes this time around were for (of course) Best of All Possible Worlds, and Rainbows End.

    In our first round, we lost all our YA SF at once (although admittedly Hunger Games was unexpectedly brought back to fight in the Arena another time.) In the second round, all the lit SF fell by the wayside together. This round proves to be a similarly tragic one for fantasy tropes adapted to science fiction …

    WINNER: Anathem, Neal Stephenson – 17 votes
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein – 12 votes
    A fairly close match, but Anathem goes on, and demons are no longer in the science fiction bracket.

    WINNER: Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie – 27 votes
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler – 8 votes
    Ancillary Justice once again wins a decisive victory, and vampires vanish into the night.

    WINNER: Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold – 17 votes
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey – 10 votes
    The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey – 5 votes
    And with a first round victory by Bujold, both remaining zombie novels are vanquished.

    Coming up soon … the final match-up …

  15. This round proves to be a similarly tragic one for fantasy tropes adapted to science fiction …

    But Ancillary Justice has snow in it!

    And more seriously, some people have felt that Anathem has fantasy elements – if we stayed within the concents throughout it would seem quite fantasy-ish, I think, even though the avout are scientists.

  16. @JJ:

    Having read Lord of Light a couple of months ago, I am mystified that anyone ever thought a movie of it would be a winner (never mind a theme park).

    Clearly, I just don’t “get” what is so wonderful about that book

    o thank gods i’m not the only one

    @Steve Wright:

    If it doesn’t contain a recipe for Starry-Gazey Pie, then it is but a hollow mockery.

    starry-gazey pie
    pilchard heads all silver-gray
    look up on a summer’s day
    through crust that’s turned a crispy golden hue
    have a slice or two…

    (sorry not sorry)

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