Pixel Scroll 10/13/16 A Simple Pixeltory Scrollipic

(1) FREE CLIMATE CHANGE SF ANTHOLOGY. Twelve stories from the Climate Fiction Short Story Contest are collected in Everything Change, a new fiction anthology from Arizona State University’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative (ICF). Kim Stanley Robinson wrote the foreword, and there is also an interview with Pablo Bacigalupi.

In the midst of Earth’s hottest year on record, the effects of climate change are more apparent than ever. But how do we come to grips with the consequences on the ground, for actual people in specific places? New York Times bestselling science fiction author Paolo Bacigalupi believes the answer lies in fiction: “Fiction has this superpower of creating empathy in people for alien experiences. You can live inside of the skin of a person who is utterly unlike you.”

The anthology includes the grand prize winner of the Climate Fiction Short Story Contest, “Sunshine State,” a quasi-utopian disaster story set in the Florida Everglades. The story’s authors, Adam Flynn and Andrew Dana Hudson of Oakland, CA, will receive a $1000 prize, and four other prizewinners will receive book bundles signed by Bacigalupi. The contest received 743 submissions from 67 different countries and from more than half of the states in the U.S.

The title Everything Change is drawn from a quote by Margaret Atwood, the first Imagination and Climate Futures lecturer in 2014.

The book is free to download, read, and share in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats at the Imagination and Climate Futures website, and at the Apple iBooks store and the Kobo store.

Table of Contents:

  • Kim Stanley Robinson, Foreword
  • Manjana Milkoreit, Meredith Martinez, and Joey Eschrich, Editors’ Introduction
  • Adam Flynn and Andrew Dana Hudson, “Sunshine State”
  • Kelly Cowley, “Shrinking Sinking Land”
  • Matthew S. Henry, “Victor and the Fish”
  • Ashley Bevilacqua Anglin, “Acqua Alta”
  • Daniel Thron, “The Grandchild Paradox”
  • Kathryn Blume, “Wonder of the World”
  • Stirling Davenport, “Masks”
  • Diana Rose Harper, “Thirteenth Year”
  • Henrietta Hartl, “LOSD and Fount”
  • Shauna O’Meara, “On Darwin Tides”
  • Lindsay Redifer, “Standing Still”
  • Yakos Spiliotopoulos, “Into the Storm”
  • Ed Finn, “Praying for Rain: An Interview with Paolo Bacigalupi”

(2) THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’. The New York Times reports on another history-making moment in the career of this musician: “Bob Dylan Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature”.

Half a century ago, Bob Dylan shocked the music world by plugging in an electric guitar and alienating folk purists. For decades he continued to confound expectations, selling millions of records with dense, enigmatic songwriting.

Now, Mr. Dylan, the poet laureate of the rock era, has been rewarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature, an honor that elevates him into the company of T. S. Eliot, Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison and Samuel Beckett.

Mr. Dylan, 75, is the first musician to win the award, and his selection on Thursday is perhaps the most radical choice in a history stretching back to 1901. In choosing a popular musician for the literary world’s highest honor, the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, dramatically redefined the boundaries of literature, setting off a debate about whether song lyrics have the same artistic value as poetry or novels.

(3) CALIFORNIA COLLECTIBLES LAW UPDATE. The American Booksellers Association says: “California Collectibles Bill Clarification Expected”.

At press time, Bookselling This Week learned that California Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang plans to submit a letter to the state legislature stipulating that a new law covering the sales of collectibles does not apply to either general bookstores or author signing events. Chang was the sponsor of the bill. The law requires sellers of signed books and artwork to provide the buyer with a certificate of authenticity (COA) for any item sold for $5 or more.

“While ABA’s reading of the bill matched that of Assemblywoman Chang’s intent in drafting the law — that the law was meant specifically for the collectibles industry to stave off fraud — we are grateful for how responsive Assemblywoman Chang and her staff were to the concerns of booksellers,” said David Grogan, senior public policy analyst for ABA. “It also clearly shows how much of an impact booksellers can have when they voice their concerns to their legislators. We are happy that a clarification is expected to be entered into the record.”

The clarification comes as a direct response to a blog post and subsequent letters from independent bookstores in California. Concerned that some might assume the law applied to general bookstores, Eureka Books in Eureka, Book Passage in Corte Madera, and others opposed the new law, fearing that it would have a negative financial impact on their businesses.

(4) VENUS IF YOU WILL. Here’s a clickbait-worthy headline: “Why Obama may have picked the wrong planet”.  And as a bonus, the article quotes SF writer and NASA scientists Geoffrey Landis.

On Tuesday, Obama published an op-ed at CNN laying out his vision (once again) for visiting Mars.

“We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time,” he wrote.

The Obama administration has been pursuing a visit to Mars for years. But Obama may be overlooking an easier target, if the arguments of one NASA researcher (and numerous supporters) are to be believed. While Mars may seem to be an attractive destination, we should consider sending people to Venus instead, these people argue….

You see, Mars is a challenging destination. It’s far away, the gravity is a fraction of Earth’s — posing additional health hazards beyond the lack of atmospheric radiation shielding — and you have to be suited up just to breathe outside.

By contrast, Venus is a lot closer to Earth than Mars is. At their closest points, Venus is only 25 million miles away, compared with Mars’s 34 million miles. The shorter distance means you’d need less time and fuel to get there, reducing the cost. And although Venus’s surface temperature is hot enough to melt metal, and the crushing pressure will squish you like a bug, the upper atmosphere is actually rather habitable.

“At about 50 kilometers above the surface the atmosphere of Venus is the most earthlike environment (other than Earth itself) in the solar system,” wrote Geoffrey Landis, a NASA scientist, in a 2003 paper. Landis has spent much of his career dreaming up ways to make a human trip to Mars actually feasible, so he knows what he’s talking about.

At high altitude, Venusian temperatures are hot but not unbearable, and the barometric pressure drops to the equivalent of one Earth atmosphere. You’d have droplets of sulfuric acid to worry about, but only if your skin is directly exposed.

It helps that NASA has already taken steps to research a manned mission to Venus.

(5) RON MILLER ON SPACESHIPS. Smithsonian.com plugs artist Ron Miller’s new opus from Smithsonian Books in “How Artists, Mad Scientists and Speculative Fiction Writers Made Spaceflight Possible”.

The realization of human spaceflight has long stood as a testament to the power of human temerity, a triumph of will and intellect alike. Pioneers such as Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride have been immortalized in the annals of history. Their impact on terrestrial society is as indelible as the footprints left by the Apollo astronauts on the windless surface of the Moon.

Perhaps yet more wondrous than the Cold War-era achievement of extraterrestrial travel, however, is the long and meandering trail that we as a species blazed to arrive at that result. Such is the argument of author-illustrator Ron Miller, an inveterate spaceship junkie and one-time planetarium art director at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Miller’s just-published book, Spaceships: An Illustrated History of the Real and the Imagined from Smithsonian Books, is a paean to the exploratory yearning of humankind across the centuries. The profusely illustrated volume tracks technological watersheds with diligence, but its principal focus is those starry-eyed visionaries, the dreamers….

(6) TOO TANGLED FOR TINGLE? I was wondering what the chances were of Chuck Tingle setting up his own SadPuppies.com site when it’s Hugo season again. But Huge Domains already has that registered and is asking $1,895 for the rights.

Well then, what about SadPuppies5.com? Nope, that’s registered, too, by a proxy that contains a reference to the real Sad Puppies site, SadPuppies.org – have they been thinking ahead?

Of course, if Tingle wanted  to make a File 770 reference, he could always start up SadPuppiesSecond5th – and that would be fine by me.

(7) VULICH OBIT. Special effects make-up artist John Vulich died October 13. Dread Central recalls:

Vulich worked on some of the horror genre’s most classic films and TV shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, The Dark Half, Castle Freak, From Beyond, Ghoulies, Dolls, TerrorVision, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, The Lost Boys, Two Evil Eyes, “The X-Files,” “Angel,” and “Werewolf: The Series” and was one of the founders of Optic Nerve Studios.


  • Born October 13, 1957 — Chris Carter, creator of “The X-Files.”

(9) FIFTH NEWS IS BEASTLY. We’re always on the lookout for news items featuring the number five. I may run only about 10% of them, but Tor.com broke through with “J.K. Rowling Confirms There Will Be Five Fantastic Beasts Films”.

At Warner Bros’ global fan event for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them today, the studio made a big announcement: There will be five Fantastic Beasts films total, instead of the trilogy, as originally thought.

(10) SHOCKED, I TELL YOU. In “thoughts on the processing of words” at Text Patterns, a blog on The New Atlantis website, Baylor University English professor Alan Jacobs gives a long review of Matthew Kirschenbaum’s Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing, including the revelation that the first author to write a book on a word processor was not Gerrold, Pournelle, or Crichton, but historical novelist Gay Courter.

In any case, the who-was-first questions are not as interesting or as valuable as Kirschenbaum’s meticulous record of how various writers — Anne Rice, Stephen King, John Updike, David Foster Wallace — made, or did not quite make, the transition from handwritten or typewritten drafts to a full reliance on the personal computer as the site for literary writing. Wallace, for instance, always wrote in longhand and transcribed his drafts to the computer at some relatively late stage in the process. Also, when he had significantly altered a passage, he deleted earlier versions from his hard drive so he would not be tempted to revert to them.

(11) LACKING THAT CERTAIN SOMETHING. IGN’s’ video interview with the actor reveals “Why George Takei Doesn’t Like the New Star Trek Movies and the Old Animated Series”.

Mr. Sulu explains why he doesn’t like the Star Trek cartoon and reveals the magic ingredient he believes the new films are missing. The Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Blu-ray Boxset is out now.

(12) WELLS MEETS SOLOMON. Richard Chwedyk’s “Teaching Stuff: Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic” at the SFWA Blog tells about a fascinating exercise:

Here’s an assignment I give my students:

They receive a copy of the first chapter of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

It is roughly 2,250 words.

I tell the students that Mr. Wells has just received a note from his editor. “Great stuff, Herbie, but you go on too long here. Cut this first chapter in half.”

How to make 2,250 words into 1,125 words?

Mr. Wells, alas, has passed on. Fortunately for us, so has the novel’s copyright.

…Ask students to do this to their own stories and their faces turn ashen. Their babies? By half? What madness is this?

So by practicing at first on Wells, they can see what the process entails before going on to apply the knife to their own deathless prose. The exercise not only requires careful editorial skills, but an equally careful reading of the text. What’s important in the telling? What’s icing on the cake?

(13) DEEP READING. Connie Willis, in an article for Unbound Worlds, discusses her new book Crosstalk“Connie Willis Wants You to Think Twice About Telepathy”.

What led me to write Crosstalk?  Oh, lots of things.  For one, like everybody else, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of telepathy and have often thought how nice it would be to be able to tell what other people were thinking, to know if they were lying and how they really felt about you.  For another, I live in Colorado, home of the infamous Bridey Murphy, who started the whole channeling-past-lives thing back in the fifties by claiming she’d had a previous life in nineteenth-century Ireland.  Which turned out not to be true and which left me with a healthy skepticism of all things paranormal, from psychics to Dr. Rhine’s ESP experiments.

(14) WHAT’S WRONG WITH THINKING OUT LOUD. She also did an interview with The Verge“Novelist Connie Willis explains why telepathy is a terrible superpower”.

You’ve said many of your stories are about working through arguments with yourself, and working through different aspects of the idea you obsess over. Are you working through an argument in Crosstalk?

Well, looking at the society we’re living in right now, we’re bombarded with information. We have all these new ways of communicating. We can talk face-to-face to somebody in Asia, you can have a best friend who lives across the world. But our relationships don’t seem to be improving radically as a result of all this extra communication.

We’re always looking to technology, thinking it can solve our human problems. Usually it does, but with big side effects we hadn’t counted on. It’s an argument I don’t know how to solve. I’m not suggesting we go be Luddites. But occasionally I’m on panels with all these really gung-ho tech people, and they’re like, “Oh this new development will solve all our problems.” And I think “Anything that solves all our problems will create a whole mess of new problems that would have never occurred to us.” We need to start thinking more in terms of cost-benefit analysis. Maybe that would be more productive.

But mostly with Crosstalk, I just wanted to have fun with the idea of whether communication is a good idea, generally. Not tech communication, communication between people. Most people would say, “We all need more communication in our relationships.” But really, most relationships benefit from all the things we don’t say, all the things we keep to ourselves.

(15) MEMORIES. In a Rue Morgue interview, the actress looks back: “35 years of pleasant screams: an interview with Cassandra Peterson, aka ELVIRA”.

When it comes to the horror genre, there are many icons in the business but none more so than a woman who created a character that has permeated pop culture; her name is Cassandra Peterson and her wonderful, wicked, and hilarious alter ego is Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark. For 35 years, the sexy, dark, and comedic valley girl/gothic goddess has appeared on television, film, pinball machines, comic book covers, record albums, and any other product you could imagine. She is one of the most beloved incarnations in history, and is still surging in popularity to this very day. Peterson herself is now in her mid-sixties but looks like she has discovered the fountain of youth, or made a deal with the devil, she is absolutely beautiful and timeless. Her comedic timing is unmatched, quick fire and quite daunting considering the jokes come straight from her mind like bullets, one of the funniest women alive, hands down. She is also one of the hardest working women in the business, an actress who became her own boss and made her own rules (and still does); truly an inspiration in regard to drive, conviction, and perseverance.

Rue Morgue spoke to Peterson about her 35th Anniversary and her new photo book, entitled ELVIRA MISTRESS OF THE DARK, which is a love letter to her fans, and a testament to her many years as a reigning queen in horror comedy….

(16) ACES AND BAIT. In addition to the news I missed while I was in the hospital, I also fell behind reading Adventures With Kuma. From August “Dodge City Bear”.

Bears wents to lots of places todays. Boys will writes abouts bigs holes in the grounds laters. Bears gots to plays a games in Dodges Citys withs a nices Doctors nameds Hollidays.

Bears saids, “Bears has fives fishes. Whats yous gots?”


Kuma Meets Doc Holliday

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Joseph Eschrich, Bartimaeus, Sean R. Kirk, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing edtor of the day Cath.]

68 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/13/16 A Simple Pixeltory Scrollipic

  1. 2) I don’t think it’s all that great a stretch to consider song lyrics to be poetry. Poems have been set to music quite frequently. Congratulations to Bob Dylan.

  2. …If you say “Dylan,”
    He thinks you’re talkin’ about Dylan Thomas
    (Whoever he was)
    The man ain’t got no culture!

    “A Simple Desultory Philippic” —Paul Simon

    @Robert Reynolds
    Composer John Corigliano set a bunch of Dylan lyrics to entirely dissimilar music (“Mr. Tambourine Man”). Interesting, if not something I will listen to over and over. Corigliano also says he never heard the original songs; just thought they were good poetry. Well, all righty, then.

  3. @Kip W.: It took me a minute to remember. I haven’t heard it in years. Seeing it on screen didn’t do it. I had to say the words in the title. By the way:

    Obviously Fifth Comment

    Fifteen items
    Fifteen items
    Five comments
    Five comments
    All writ by fen
    Tell yo’ mama not to worry because
    They’re friends of friends.

  4. #3: You’d have droplets of sulfuric acid to worry about, but only if your skin is directly exposed. Is everything in a typical space vehicle acid resistant? The materials have to be resistant to so many other conditions (severe heat and cold, vacuum, high gravity) that I wouldn’t assume they’re also safe vs dilute sulfuric.s

  5. Kip W on October 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm said:

    …If you say “Dylan,”
    He thinks you’re talkin’ about Dylan Thomas

    The first tweet I saw about this just said “Dylan” and my first thought was “Wait, he’s dead. What?” Then I saw it was Bob Dylan and that made much more sense.


  6. (4) – How are they going to stay at that altitude? (I’m getting bits of every dangerous-rescue/deadly environment story I’ve read.)

  7. Dylan’s award prompted Michael Chabon to repost an article he wrote for the NY Review of Books about the complicated relationship between literature, poetry, and music, called “Let It Rock.” It does indeed seem very relevant, despite having been written in 2013.

  8. @Ultragotha

    …If you say “Dylan,”
    He thinks you’re talkin’ about Dylan Thomas

    The first tweet I saw about this just said “Dylan” and my first thought was “Wait, he’s dead. What?” Then I saw it was Bob Dylan and that made much more sense.


    I happened to be with my Mom, when the announcement was made. With my mouth hanging open, I must have looked a lot more appalled than I actually was. So my Mom said, “Don’t make that face, I don’t even know who that writer is.”

    “Of course you know Bob Dylan”, I said, “The singer.”

    My Mom promptly mirrored my open mouthed look. “That Bob Dylan. But he isn’t a writer.”

    “He writes his own lyrics and that makes him a poet.”

    In other news, today the mailman brought me Omens and Visions by Kelley Armstrong as well as the Penguin Modern Classics edition of New Maps of Hell by Kingsley Amis, since I recently wanted to look up something therein and realised that I didn’t actually own a copy.

  9. FYI, there’s a visitor’s guide to our very own Kurt Busiek’s Astro City over at Barnes & Noble’s SFF blog. 🙂 This reminds me that “The Nearness of You” really is, as they say, “one of the finest single issues of any comic book.”

    (3) CALIFORNIA COLLECTIBLES LAW UPDATE. Cool, that seems like a good start.

    (9) FIFTH NEWS IS BEASTLY. Five of the films? Good freaking grief.

  10. “when its Hugo season again”


    The only good thing I can say about Rowling’s US wizard worldbuilding is that it would’ve taken me longer to discover Jemisin without her take on US wizardry. Five movies? Sigh.

  11. To be boring, Dylan is the second songwriter to win the Nobel. The Indian polymath Tagore won in 1910 or thereabouts and wrote over 2200 songs revolutionising Bengali music in the process. OK, they probably had his poetry more in mind when they awarded it.

  12. @NickPheas

    There are actually recordings of Tagore singing, but I’m pretty sure that the 1910 committee didn’t have access to those! I’ve taught both Tagore and Dylan, and their lyrics (and those of many other songwriters–Homer, anyone?) are accessible to audiences across time and distance. I once had the opportunity to team-teach with Seamus Heaney, and (among other things) he told our students that poetry is meant to be spoken–that you can’t really know a poem unless you have heard it or at least read it aloud yourself.

  13. Now that they’ve broken the boundaries of the academy by giving it to Dylan, maybe LeGuin next year?

  14. Alas, I think LeGuin fundamentally unlikely. At least next year. The only time the prize has ever been awarded to two constitutive winners from the same country was ’48, ’49, and ever then the matter is blurred because T.S. Eliot did most (if not all) of his significant work while resident in the UK.

  15. Is everything in a typical space vehicle acid resistant? The materials have to be resistant to so many other conditions (severe heat and cold, vacuum, high gravity) that I wouldn’t assume they’re also safe vs dilute sulfuric.

    Think about seals, gaskets, air lines, and anything else that would tend to need to be squeezable, flexible, or stretchy. Things that need to be made from some sort or rubber or plastic. I doubt that a constant exposure to mists of sulfuric acid would contribute positively to the long-term reliability of those parts.

    Here is a good article on the subject of colonizing Venus.

    (4) – How are they going to stay at that altitude? (I’m getting bits of every dangerous-rescue/deadly environment story I’ve read.)

    Neutral buoyancy. As mentioned in the above-linked article, an Earth-normal mix of nitrogen and oxygen would float in the carbon dioxide atmosphere of Venus much like helium balloons float on Earth. So your floating gas and your breathing air can be the same thing.

  16. I got a different angle on Dylan’s writing when I listened to an interview with an associate of his (and this is where my post goes into the realm of complete hearsay because I don’t remember who the interviewer or interviewee was and when I heard it or anything) that touched on deep interpretations on the many obscure references and fanciful imagery in Dylan’s lyrics. Said (unremembered) interviewee claimed that he’d once heard Dylan admit the a lot of it was nonsensical free association and that the deep meanings were all coming out of the listeners’ interpretations.

    Hmm, there’s vague reference to something similar in this discussion at The Straight Dope which suggests I might be remembering Dylan himself in The Essential Interviews.

  17. Thanks, Obama

    (I’ll agree that it is a verrrrrrry boring list)

    Let’s see:

    2001: A Space Odyssey–I tried to like this one several times, never managed.

    Blade Runner–One of my all-time favorite movies. Even the voice-over version.

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind–One of my all-time favorite movies. Every time I watch it I see some new layer of detail that I’ve never noticed before, or have forgotten.

    Star Wars: A New Hope–Yeah, it belongs. I know it is more iconic, but it still comes in behind Blade Runner and CE3K for me, and my interest is largely nostalgic.

    Star Trek:TOS–I gotta say (and this may be blasphemy here) I think I’m over Star Trek. Yes, I grew up watching reruns of TOS and first runs of everything else. I don’t regret that I watched them. I’ll continue to remain memories of far too many trivial details of the shows. But aside from running across the occasional rerun of an episode of TOS or TNG, I haven’t rewatched any of the Trek series in quite a few years–and I’m okay with the prospect of never seeing them again. What I’ve seen has been stomped on by the Suck Fairy anyway.

    The Martian–I’ve still never gotten around to reading the book or seeing the movie, so can’t pass judgement there.

    The Matrix–It was okay. I’ll admit that I was hyped by the original Superb Owl ad. And I liked the movie okay. But it has blanded away with time, especially with the terrible sequels (I didn’t even bother to watch the third) and with the then state-of-the-art FX being utterly mainstream today.

    Cosmos: A Personal Voyage–Probably very influential on me as a child (even more than any science fiction movies.) I was around 8 when this came out, and remember watching reruns of it on PBS over (along with reruns of Nova and shows like 3-2-1 Contact and The Electric Company.) As dated as the FX (and some of the science) is and as cheesy as Carl Sagan could be, I have no problem with recommending Cosmos: A Personal Voyage instead of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

  18. Said (unremembered) interviewee claimed that he’d once heard Dylan admit the a lot of it was nonsensical free association and that the deep meanings were all coming out of the listeners’ interpretations.

    Yeah, I think finding deep meanings where the writer never intended them describes basically every literary analysis ever of every writer ever.

  19. Obama’s list is a list of essential sci-fi movies and TV. Not the best: the essential. Obviously a list of essential works, works you should see if you see anything, will not be exciting to those with a deeper knowledge of the field.

  20. @ Andrew M

    Which makes me wonder if the President is a bigger fan than he lets on….

  21. @Darren Garrison: (This paragraph is a humorless and ponderous explanation. Skip to the next one for an ordinary human response. Also, I’ve been away from pro-level semiotics for 30 years, so this is all home-grown and hand-rolled.) “Literary analysis” occurs within the nervous system of the analyst, responding to external inputs (the target text plus whatever the external semiotic environment supplies) and to the configuration and contents of the analyst’s own semiotic environment. The text is generated by another nervous system with its own network of internal complexities, and while the author (who does exist) can exercise a degree of control over the text, the more complex it becomes, the more likely there will be elements and features that are unintended or unrecognized by the author. The fact that every receiving nervous system is different means there will necessarily be a range of responses that “make sense” (individually) even if these responses were not foreseen or even wanted by the author. Anyone who has had to explain to a student why a word choice or phrasing doesn’t work the way they think it does has seen this mechanism in action at a basic-communication level.

    Which is not to say that literary analysis can’t be ham-handed, tin-eared, or half-assed. Much of what makes early Dylan in particular interesting is the dream logic of his free-association, linguistically opportunistic compositions. I don’t think as highly of them as I do of the more tightly controlled verse of, say, Frost or Yeats or Auden, but there’s a roller-coaster, Fleischer-cartoon playfulness that makes a kind of sense that doesn’t necessarily yield to linear logic. (And that said, I lost interest at Blonde on Blonde, so what do I know.)

  22. I think there was a science fiction short story that was a satire on Dylan. From what I recall, a pop singer-songwriter begins to question his manager’s dictates and ends up having an accident (which may have been sabotage). As a result, the singer ends up spewing nonsense. The manager and his cohort realize that there is an opportunity here,,,,

    Does anyone recall the title and the author?

  23. “While trying to find that story again, I came across one from 2013 arguing that Dylan shouldn’t get the prize, responding to buzz at the time, with further links to stories from 2011 when Ladbrookes had Dylan as the favorite to win. So as weird as it sounds, this clearly didn’t come out of nowhere.”

    On swedish twitter, there’s a newspaper clip from 1969 passed around about how Dylan should get the Nobel prize, so yes, not from nowhere. And it is true, there really is a great swedish love for american counterculture. But there is a big divide if Dylan was a good choice. A film clip from one of the newspapers staff show people bursting out in astonished laughter at the announcement.

  24. Most critics in Sweden think it was the wrong choice because Dylan already won the Polar Prize which is like the Nobel Prize for musicians.

  25. RE: (7) VULICH OBIT.

    It’s not noted in the article but Vulich also worked on Babylon 5, which had a lot of excellent makeup designs fo rthe various alien races

  26. (3) CALIFORNIA COLLECTIBLES LAW UPDATE. This doesn’t really solve the problem, it only means that some folks won’t be affected by it (and that, only if the relevant law enforcement pay attention to legislative intent. The law itself will still stand as written and passed).

    It will still apply to sales of signed artist sketchs, for examples. And will a huckster who only sells a couple times a year at conventions count as a “general bookstore”?

  27. # 5 (of course):
    The realization of human spaceflight has long stood as a testament to the power of human temerity …

    Do they mean “tenacity” here? “Temerity” is “Foolish or reckless disregard of danger.” Well, you could make a case for that, I guess.

  28. @Rob @andrew
    The President a closet SF fan? This would not surprise me.

    I guess it will be sometime before we have a President confident enough in their geekery to have a Doctor Who Funko on the Oval Office desk, though.

  29. Bill: And will a huckster who only sells a couple times a year at conventions count as a “general bookstore”?

    Self-evidently not. Where’s his bookstore? A table full of books is not a bookstore.

  30. (3) A much longer version of the story as a column in the LA Times:

    Chang’s statement will need to be approved by the speaker of the Assembly, so it may not materialize until after the law goes into effect. Meanwhile, the law stands as written, applying to anyone “principally in the business of selling or offering for sale collectibles” or holding themselves out as “having knowledge or skill peculiar to collectibles.”

    What’s really necessary to address these issues is a wholesale revision of the law. That won’t happen this year, because the legislature is effectively out of session until January. Chang’s office says she might be willing to introduce a clean-up measure “if a need exists.”

  31. Self-evidently not. Where’s his bookstore? A table full of books is not a bookstore.

    He could call himself General Bookstore. Come up with a uniform.

  32. 2) Song lyrics are poetry, always have been. Epic, lyric and other poetry was sung or chanted, often to musical accompaniment – at least in the early traditions of the Greeks, the Celts and the Scandinavians. Just reading it, on the page, is a relatively modern innovation. (Why do you think it was called lyric poetry in the first place? Because lyres were involved!)

    So I’ve got no problems considering Bob Dylan a poet. None at all. Nobel Prize worthy? – well, they’ve got a committee to decide that, and the committee’s said “yes”, so I’m not arguing.

    (I do think Ursula Le Guin would be a sound candidate, too, though.)

  33. Heather Rose Jones: I wasn’t aware that Obama’s SF geekery had every been anywhere near a closet!

    Yeah, I thought he campaigned as “First Trekkie” last time.

  34. Here’s just one thing I found in a Scroll — an interview of Obama in Popular Science:

    PS: Do you consider yourself a nerd and, if so, what’s your nerdiest pastime?
    BO: Well, my administration did write a pretty detailed response to a petition, explaining why we wouldn’t build a real-life Death Star, so I’d like to think I have at least a little nerd credibility built up.
    What’s remarkable is the way “nerd” is such a badge of honor now. Growing up, I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who read Spider-Man comics and learned how to do the Vulcan salute, but it wasn’t like it is today. I get the sense that today’s young people are proud to be smart and curious, to design new things, and tackle big problems in unexpected ways. I think America’s a nerdier country than it was when I was a kid—and that’s a good thing!

  35. It’s no doubt an indication of the gaping holes in my knowledge, but I had never heard of the Polar Awards. This makes it harder for me to regard them as equivalent to the Nobels.

    But really, I’m feeling the aftereffects of Dylan having been up for a different literary award some years ago, and the negative commentary on that having to a great extent been complaining tsongas that either his lyrics weren’t poetry, or if it was poetry, it was that lesser, American kind, not like good, British poetry.

    The fair-minded will note that this has nothing to do with the Nobels, the Polars, or Sweden. Just grumpy, protective feelings I have about Dylan.

    Of course Obama is an SF geek.

    Your friendly, local book blogger seeks proofreading work if you have any to offer. Paid work needed.

    For those who think it may be useful or interesting to them, my resume is available.

    Alternatively, donations via PayPal will also keep my blog, and my little dogs, and me, going.

    Thank you for your patience with this.

  36. Sixty-nine years ago today, Chuck Yeager flew the friendly skies at Mach 1. He landed, and on the way home got some AC-Delco auto parts for a weekend project on Glennis’s chevy.

  37. Paul (@princejvstin) on October 14, 2016 at 11:06 am said:

    The President a closet SF fan? This would not surprise me.

    He was cracking Kwisatz Haderach jokes early in his first term. Not closeted!

  38. Today’s Read — Hag-Seed, by Margaret Atwood

    Not SFF; an ousted theatrical director plans his revenge with the aid of a prison theater troupe.

    I picked this one up by going to hear Margaret Atwood to talk, which was a delight; she was witty, interesting, profound, and ably showed why she is one of the best writers of this era. So, how was the book?

    … Not one of her best. While the set-up is excellent and riveting, the climax, when it comes, is kind of a let-down. There’s some reason to think this was intentional, but even if it was, it didn’t work. Oh, well.

    This book, which is based on The Tempest, is the third direct Shakespeare adaptation I’ve read this year — one Romeo and Juliet, one The Winter’s Tale, and this one. And I’ve got two more already on the TBR pile, a Taming of the Shrew adaptation and a MacBeth adaptation.

  39. Bill, Mike, et al: I still think that any competent lawyer could get an exception for artists, occasional dealers, etc. on the grounds that said people are neither “principally in the business of selling or offering for sale collectibles” nor holding themselves out as “having knowledge or skill peculiar to collectibles.” (Quotes copied from Petrea’s post.) Even Gonzales or the Hendersons (to name the couple that I know from conventions I go to) might be able to get a pass (if they thought trucking all the way to CA was worthwhile) since they aren’t selling signed copies.

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