Pixel Scroll 10/14/16 The Pixels, My Friend, Are Scrollin’ In The Wind

(1) BEYOND ELDRITCH. Jason Sanford revisits a controversial writer, distinguishing between Lovecraft’s his ideas and personal beliefs: “Disturbed by Lovecraft, whose racism and hate weren’t merely a product of his times”.

Some Lovecraft fans complain about such re-examinations of Lovecraft’s racism, believing it is an attempt to remove Lovecraft from his place in the genre he helped build. But this view is nonsense. Lovecraft’s influence on dark fantasy and horror isn’t going to disappear merely because people are aware of the troubling aspects of his life and writing.

No, Lovecraft’s legacy is secure because of all the authors and creators who took his ideas and ran with them. Most people are able to appreciate Lovecraft’s influence on horror and dark fantasy while also acknowledging the negative aspects of his life and work.

(2) EATING THE FANTASTIC. All aboard for another of Scott Edelman’s Eating the Fantastic podcasts — “Adam-Troy Castro is NOT faster than a speeding locomotive”.

When it came time for dinner at Fiorella’s Jack Stack, we were given the choice of a table either in the main dining room or out on the patio, and because I was afraid the loud music combined with the conversation of other customers would create an ambient noise you’d find distracting, I decided we should eat al fresco … not realizing there were railroad tracks nearby, which meant an occasional locomotive would pass. But don’t worry—I think you’ll find the result more amusing than annoying, especially when (as you’ll hear) one overly loud engine caused my guest and me to break into song.

My guest this episode is Hugo, Nebula, and Stoker Award nominated writer Adam-Troy Castro. Adam has published more than 100 short stories, some of which I was privileged to buy back when I edited Science Fiction Age magazine, plus a story someone else had the honor of purchasing—my all-time favorite zombie story.

We talked about the epiphany caused by his first viewing of Night of the Living Dead, how he handled a heckler during his early days doing stand-up comedy, the history behind the novel he almost wrote spinning off from the classic TV show The Prisoner, and much more. We even, for reasons you will learn, had cause to sing a few bars of the Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues.”


(3) OUR NEXT NOBEL LAUREATE? Gabrielle Bellot tells “Why Calvin and Hobbes Is Great Literature”.

Calvin and Hobbes feels so inventive because it is: the strips take us to new planets, to parodies of film noir, to the Cretaceous period, to encounters with aliens in American suburbs and bicycles coming to life and reality itself being revised into Cubist art. Calvin and Hobbes ponder whether or not life and art have any meaning—often while careening off the edge of a cliff on a wagon or sled. At times, the strip simply abandons panels or dialogue altogether, using black and white space and wordless narrative in fascinating ways. Like Alice, Calvin shrinks in one sequence, becoming tiny enough to transport himself on a passing house fly; in another, he grows larger than the planet itself. In “Nauseous Nocturne,” a poem in The Essential Calvin and Hobbes that reads faintly like a parody of Poe, Watterson treats us to lovely art and to absurd yet brilliant lines like “Oh, blood-red eyes and tentacles! / Throbbing, pulsing ventricles! Mucus-oozing pores and frightful claws! / Worse, in terms of outright scariness, / Are the suckers multifarious / That grab and force you in its mighty jaws”; the “disgusting aberration” “demonstrates defenestration” at the sight of Hobbes. In one gloriously profane strip, Calvin even becomes an ancient, vengeful god who attempts to sacrifice humanity. Nothing, except perhaps the beauty of imagination, is sacred here. Watterson dissolves the boundaries of highbrow and lowbrow art. The comic’s freedom is confined—it’s not totally random—yet the depths it can go to feel fathomless all the same. Few other strips allow themselves such vastness.


  • October 14, 1926 — A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” was published.
  • October 14, 1947 — 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

(5) POTUS PICKS SCI-FI. WIRED Magazine published President Obama’s list of essential sci-fi TV and films.

Beyond telling a story, science fiction should make you think deeply. To that end, WIRED guest editor President Obama offers this list of essential films and TV shows that will expand your mind. His selections include groundbreaking classics and contemporary hits, each taking you to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and the depths of the human psyche.

(6) AN UNGRATEFUL MEDIA REACTS. io9 wasted no time in declaring the list lame:

People may disagree on Barack Obama’s accomplishments or the legacy he will leave when he exits the Oval Office, but there’s one way he has truly earned the nickname “Obummer”—and that’s in his list of what he considers essential scifi viewing.

It’s not that Obama’s list of seven scifi films and TV series—which he revealed as part of that special Wired issue he guest-edited—is wrong. Far from it! It’s just so… boring.

(7) SCARY CLOWN NEWS. The Hollywood Reporter has a story called “Man Dressed as Batman is Chasing Off Frightening Clowns in North England”, which is about some British guys telling kids not to be terrified of random clowns walking in the neighbo(u)rhood.

There is an issue with people dressing up and frightening people in England, but they pissed off the wrong person: Batman.

Someone in Cumbria, in North West England, has been chasing off those dressed as clowns in the hopes of making children feel safe, The Telegraph reported.

A photo of Batman in action and a video surfaced of the British Caped Crusader telling kids it’s safe.

A group calling itself Cumbria Superheroes is behind the effort. According to The Telegraph, the group didn’t form to act as vigilantes so much as to reassure children there is nothing to be scared of concerning the clowns.

“As for you clowns, if you want to scare someone, why don’t you try and scare me,” the man dressed as Batman says in a video posted to Facebook.

(8) GENERIC WIZARD. What John King Tarpinian likes to call the “Barry Spotter Costume” coincidentally looks a little like a copyrighted character, but presumably costs a lot less.


(9) PROOF OF LOVECRAFT’S CONTINUING INFLUENCE. I don’t know if this is enough to satisfy S. T. Joshi that Lovecraft’s ideas still permeate the culture, but you can’t beat the price. The Inflatable Cthulhu Arm is only $8.99 from Archie McPhee.

  • One vinyl inflatable tentacle
  • Tentacle is 3′ long & 7″ diameter when inflated
  • Better than a normal arm
  • Makes your arm unspeakably horrible

(10) BIG BANG THEORY LEGO. From Lego Idea to product in a year – the Big Bang Theory Lego set costs $59.99.

Indulge your inner genius and build this LEGO® version of Leonard and Sheldon’s living room as seen in the hit American sitcom The Big Bang Theory! This set was created by two LEGO fan designers—Ellen Kooijman from Sweden and Glen Bricker from the USA—and selected by LEGO Ideas members. Featuring loads of authentic details to satisfy all The Big Bang Theory devotees and including minifigures of all seven main characters from the show, it’s ideal for display or role-play fun. Includes 7 minifigures with assorted accessory elements: Leonard, Sheldon, Penny, Howard, Raj, Amy and Bernadette.


(11) SAILOR MOON REANIMATED. Crunchyroll tells how the “Sailor Moon” Fan Project Returns to Remake Full Episode with Over 300 Animators.

It’s been a little over two years since the first Moon Animate Make-Up Sailor Moon fan project debuted, but now a sequel is here with even more fan participation. The second crowd-sourced group animation project has over 300 animators coming together to re-animate season 2, episode 68 of the classic Sailor Moon anime, “Protect Chibi-Usa: Clash of the Ten Warriors!”

Contributors cracked away at their respective shots from October 2015 to July 2016, and you can see the wide variety of styles on display in the finished episode below.


[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Steven H Silver, JJ, Bill, John King Tarpinian, Dawn Incognito, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob.]

70 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/14/16 The Pixels, My Friend, Are Scrollin’ In The Wind

  1. Well, I’m sure that any problems with President Obama ‘ s list are due to DVDs left behind in the Oval Office by the previous Administration.

  2. How does it feel?
    With all your pixels goin’
    Without a friend or clone,
    No ticky boxes shown
    Like a scrolling stone.

  3. 3) Calvin and Hobbes is nothing short of magnificent!

    It and Non-Sequitur are still must-reads on a daily basis (C & H is still available at Go Comics).

  4. #3: Fascinating. From Bellot’s description of the effects in her time, I wonder what fandom would be like now if Watterson had been published in the 1960’s. (He probably couldn’t have gotten the circulation he got when he wrote.) I remember back when the net was small enough that somebody could poll all the computers on it (already in 5-6 figures); “hobbes” was consistently at or near the top name when I saw monthly lists (~1987);

    #6: io9 is forgetting the line between snarky and snotty. (Or maybe just being dim?) Some of these are merely good for their time (and I still think CE3K enshrines stupidity), but that doesn’t make them non-essential, just as (to go way over the top) Shakespeare is not made inessential by the fact that so many writers have recycled his ideas that chronologically confused readers think he’s a plagiarist.

    Lee Childs discusses John D. MacDonald and writing for a living, with a shout-out to early Silverberg. The complete program (audio only) has interesting alternate takes on a number of the writing as craft/art/profession that have been linked here.

  5. Day one of Nerdcon: Stories is over and the Superfight session with Mary Robinette Kowal and John Scalzi was something that if it gets put online is worth seeking out.

    Shame to hear rumors that as a con it’s having trouble, it’s been a great experience so far.

  6. I have not seen it mentioned here but a new short anime, each episode is three and a half minutes long, named Miss Bernard said about a group of book loving students has been throwing around science fiction books and authors like they are going out of style. Last episode had Greg Egan , Tiptree, Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, and Stapledon mentioned.

  7. (5) Looks like a fine list to me. Certainly you can elaborate, but those are the building blocks to start off with, very influential. You can always go all snooty hipster later on.

    (7) Not technically much different, is it?

  8. Matt Y: The flood of fanart that kept making its way to the stage was a delight.

    I do hope this con is able to keep going. I’d particularly like it if it could do so without having to move to a coast, but if needs must…

  9. TooManyJens – that was great, I loved when they said it didn’t really look flacid enough but then they realized they could just turn it upside down and it worked.

    They gotta advertise better though, I knew about it through this website. And it’s competition is Crypticon and Zombie Pub Crawl, not the best weekend

  10. A couple days ago, the Pixel Scroll linked to a blog post from John C. Wright where he’s asking for help with his bills.

    (Yes, it’s terrible that we live in a world where ANYBODY gets forced into such a corner – but maybe if we lived in timeline that had fewer crazy conservatives, maybe there’d be more safety nets for failed artists….)

    But did anybody else notice that “…a skilled author, one of the finest writing today” committed subject/verb disagreement?


    This month, we at the Wright Household does not have enough to cover both groceries and mortgage…

    Well, good luck to him.

  11. I was going to reply to ‘As You Know Bob,’ but it looks like either he or Mike deleted it.

    Which is just as well. It was extremely unkind.

  12. (5) Looks a pretty nice list to me. If there is one criticism I’d make is that it feels impersonal, I’m not sure I get Obama’s personal taste out of it. But if he’s choosing “essentials” there is always a push away from more personal stuff.

    (6) And io9 can’t even count. Obamas’s list contains eight elements, not seven.

  13. Happy weekend, all – how about an ebook sale, a.k.a. a “Meredith Moment”? 🙂

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Signal to Noise is 99 cents from Solaris (uses DRM) at the U.S. at various e-bookstores. I’ve heard good things about both of her books; this one is a literary contemporary fantasy (magical realism, some say) about a girl who discovers she can turn music into magic. I get the impression it flips back and forth between her 15-year-old and 35-year-old selves. I like the more colorful 80s-looking cover, but it looks like the ebook’s changed covers.

    Hmm, I forgot I already had this sample on my iPad – with the older cover, heh. Time for a short break from Remanence to check it out.

  14. lauowolf on October 14, 2016 at 10:36 pm said:

    When it said Big Bang Lego set, I had something else entirely in mind.

    One incredibly dense lego block singularity which then rapidly expands creating firstly the most fundamental lego blocks then ever more complex ones?

  15. Cory Doctrow reports the death of MK Wren.

  16. We’ve got an SF loving president who isn’t afraid to admit it publicly

    and we’ve got IO9 (should be They O O an apology).

    I’d much rather have 4 more years of Obama than four more days of IO9.

    What a lame excuse for a lame website.

  17. nickpheas on October 15, 2016 at 12:28 am said: Cory Doctrow reports the death of MK Wren. boingboing.net/2016/10/14/rip-science-fiction-author-mk.html

    If only Cory Doctorow read Ansible he could have reported this on 3 October.

  18. Pingback: AMAZING PEOPLE: Dave Creek Wins Imadjinn Award (plus one more) - Amazing Stories

  19. In a couple decades from now, assuming I’m still here, I’m sure I’ll have fonder memories of President Obama than of sneering hipsters.

    My ears are still ringing from a Ween concert last night, where I was surrounded by happy dancing hipsters.

    Probably other people have covered it better and at great length, but I always felt Lovecraft’s racism was part of the construction. Lovecraft understands exactly how racists think and he uses that knowledge to terrify us with visions of aliens that are racist against humans.

  20. Signal to Noise needs maybe another chapter or two in the sample to grab me, I suspect, even at only 99 cents; it didn’t quite get interesting. Anyone here read it and love it? Just curious.

  21. So, clearly, as per the previous thread, and this latest post, yep, I am wrong. Obama is just a geek, not closeted or anything else. 🙂

    Lovecraft’s pre-Mickey Mouse Copyright existence has helped ensured his immortality as a font of ideas for people to use and borrow and engage with, subtract, and respond to the more questionable aspects of his worlds and characters.

    I also think that in uncertain times, mining his work is even more of an obvious move, and so we get Matt Ruff, and Kij Johnson, and Charles Stross, and many more to come.

  22. @Kendall
    I read and loved Signal to Noise. It’s somewhat of a coming-of-age story, well-written, and (to me) more magical realism than urban fantasy, though I think it is considered urban fantasy. I thought the music/magic aspect of the book was well done and not over-done. I have recommended Signal to Noise to several friends, although one of them did not really care for the book.

    (Forgive me if I reply twice–my tablet froze on my previous attempt to post)

  23. “Incidentally, it looks like the Wrights have their bills covered now.”

    People rounding up to help always gives me a fuzzy feeling, regardless of recipient.

  24. Hampus Eckerman on October 15, 2016 at 11:17 am said:
    “Incidentally, it looks like the Wrights have their bills covered now.”
    People rounding up to help always gives me a fuzzy feeling, regardless of recipient.

    I was also glad to see this.
    Part of my grumpiness earlier was simply from not having the resources to do more than my mite.
    Sort-of-broke earlier in the month than usual.
    Would want everyone’s kids to be utterly food-secure, as a right, sigh.

  25. Although I find a lot of io9’s articles annoying (especially their very badly researched science reporting), I don’t think pieces like this are a sign of excess “hipsterism” or whatever. I think they’re just the kind of thing you’re bound to get when you give a very small writing staff these mandates: 1. write like other Gawker-derived entertainment sites with some clickbaity angle, 2. bring in a slightly deeper knowledge of SF than other entertainment sites, 3. produce new posts quickly to maximize ad revenue. The combination of #1 and #3 ensures that they’ll almost always be reacting to some recent news item or press release, not pursuing their own interests, so they had to come up with something based on the Obama list. And the combination of #1 and #2 means that “Obama’s list of familiar things is fine, end of story” wouldn’t be an acceptable approach.

  26. Hampus Eckerman on October 15, 2016 at 11:17 am said:

    “Incidentally, it looks like the Wrights have their bills covered now.”

    People rounding up to help always gives me a fuzzy feeling, regardless of recipient.

    Any evidence for the continuing existence of human empathy is welcome this year.

  27. If enough Hugo nominators consider “Hidden Figures” to be science fiction, then it’s science fiction for the purposes of the Hugo Award. One could also make a case that it can belong in Best Related Work – lots of biographical and auto-biographical stuff has been nominated, as well as popular science.

  28. @Lee: “Hidden Figures” actually has an advantage over “Apollo 13” in terms of eligibility. At the time “Apollo 13” was nominated, Best Dramatic Presentation was defined in terms of “dramatized science fiction or fantasy.” However, the current WSFS constitution defines the BDP categories in terms of “dramatized science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects.”

  29. IanP on October 15, 2016 at 12:51 pm said:

    Dinnie ken about human empathy, how about some funny animals instead?

    I don’t know – any pictures of elephants currently look like attempts to create visual metaphors of the state of one US political party.

  30. @ Joshua: Good point. Also, this looks like it’s going to be a whole movie along the lines of every nerd’s favorite scene from Apollo 13. 🙂

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