Pixel Scroll 10/15/16 Go Hang A Pixel, I’m A Lasagna Scroll.

(1) SPACE REMAINS THE FINAL FRONTIER. Howard Tayler is right – pass along the dream.

(2) A CENTURY OF CARL SLAUGHTER. Adding together all the interviews, book features, series features, author profiles, essays, and news items he’s written for File 770, today I published Carl’s 99th and 100th submissions. I’m grateful he’s been so generous with his talent here.

(3) AGENT SECRETS. Liana Brooks tells aspiring writers when is “The Best Time To Query”.

These are just the tidbits that everyone in the industry takes for granted and assumes everyone knows.

1 – Literary agents close for several months of the year so always check their websites to see if they are open to queries right now.

2 – Summer is con season and, on Fridays, the agents and editors leave work early. If your deadline falls on a Friday, make sure the manuscript gets in early.

3 – Between Thanksgiving (American) and Groundhog’s Day, publishing is slow and full of NO. Everyone wants to clear their desk for the new year and empty their inboxes so agents (and editors) are quicker to say no this time of year.

That means February is one of the best times to query. Everyone is back from their holidays. Everyone is over their “no booze” New Year’s Resolution. Everyone is excited about the coming spring and in the mood to say YES!

(4) ATWOOD DISAPPROVES DYLAN WIN. Margaret Atwood, in England to receive the PEN Pinter Prize, had this exchange with her Guardian interviewer:

On Thursday, just as I am saying goodbye to Margaret Atwood at the end of our interview, I get a text message. “Oh,” I say. “Bob Dylan’s won the Nobel prize.” She is about to have her photograph taken, and is arranging a rakish grey felt hat atop her steely curls. She looks at me, opens her mouth very slightly, and widens her eyes. They are the faintly unrealistic blue of a Patagonian glacier.

“For what?” she says, aspirating the word “what” with devastating effect.

If Atwood herself occasionally checks her phone for missed calls from Stockholm on such mornings, she does not admit to it; in any case, fellow Canadian Alice Munro’s victory in 2013, commemorated with a generous tribute by Atwood in this paper, will have queered that particular pitch for some years to come.

(5) BUT HOW DID THIS NOT PREVENT DYLAN FROM WINNING THE NOBEL PRIZE? Though it may be the reason it took so long.

(6) BOB WEINBERG MEMORIAL. Steven H Silver sent this report about the celebration of the late Robert Weinberg, who passed away September 25.

A memorial party was held for Bob Weinberg today at the Orland Park (IL) Civic Center from 12:00-4:30. There were about 70 people attending. Doug Ellis and others spoke about their relationship with Bob. Attached is a picture showing Phyllis and Alex Eisenstein, Tina Jens, Randy Broecker, and Richard Chwedyk. Images of Bob and his art collection were shown on a screen and some of Bob’s jigsaw puzzles were available for people to work on or take home.


(7) AVOIDING ANTISOCIAL MEDIA. Kevin Hearne is taking a break from Twitter and Facebook, however, he still recommends Instagram and imzy.

I am currently hiding from the icky people of the world. Many of them are on Twitter, so I’ve taken a Twitter break until after the election. Quite a few are also on Facebook so I’ve stopped hanging around there too: It’s like people are just waiting for you to show up so they can poot in your face. I’ve noticed that if I spend any time on either platform my mood turns sour like milk from four months ago, and I’d rather not let that negativity poison my days.

I am, however, still posting happy pictures on Instagram, if you’d like to follow me there: I’m @kevin_hearne. And I’m on imzy as well. If you’d like to follow me there & become part of that community, click on this link, ask for an invitation, and I’ll approve it quick as I can.

Both Instagram and imzy, I have found, are poot-free.

(8) ADD THESE TO MOUNT TBR. Open Culture has a list of five for us: “A Clockwork Orange Author Anthony Burgess Lists His Five Favorite Dystopian Novels: Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Island & More”.

Before John Stuart Mill coined the word “dystopia” in 1868, pessimistic post-Enlightenment thinker Jeremy Bentham created an earlier, perhaps even scarier, word, “cacotopia,” the “imagined seat of the worst government.” This was the term favored by Anthony Burgess, author of one of the most unsettling dystopian novels of the last century, A Clockwork Orange. Depicting a chaotic future England filled with extreme criminal violence and an unnerving government solution, the novel can be read as either, writes Ted Gioia, “a look into the morality of an individual, or as an inquiry into the morality of the State.” It seems to me that this dual focus marks a central feature of much successful dystopian fiction: despite its thoroughly grim and pessimistic nature, the best representatives of the genre present us with human characters who have some agency, however limited, and who can choose to revolt from the oppressive conditions (and usually fail in the attempt) or to fully acquiesce and remain complicit.

(9) STEAMING ALONG. Gail Carriger includes lots of photos with “Con Report ~ Fun at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego”.

I really wish this con were closer to me, I would go every year if I could. It was like meeting old friends for the first time (shout out to Madame Askew and The Grand Arbiter). Tea Dueling is my new favorite sport of all time and everyone should do it everywhere forever.

(10) RINGS. From NPR: “Spin To Survive: How ‘Saturn On Steroids’ Keeps From Self-Destructing”. The accompanying astronomical art is by Ron Miller.

In 2007, data showed that a young star about 400 light years away from our solar system was blinking. It was being covered, uncovered and covered again in what astronomers call a “series of complex eclipses.”

The eclipses told astronomers that something was orbiting the young star, and that the something was very large….

…In 2012, [Eric Mamajek] and colleagues published a paper announcing what they thought was causing what he calls “the weird eclipse.”

It was an enormous ring system swirling around a planet.

“This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s rings are today,” Mamajek said at the time….

(11) FRANCE IN 2023. The fans behind the Worldcon in France bid are holding an awareness meeting at Utopiales on October 29.

(12) THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE. Terry Bisson’s classic “Bears Discover Fire” is available as a free read at Lightspeed Magazine.

“What’s this I hear about bears discovering fire?” she said on Tuesday. “It’s true,” I told her as I combed her long white hair with the shell comb Wallace had brought her from Florida. Monday there had been a story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Tuesday one on NBC or CBS Nightly News. People were seeing bears all over the state, and in Virginia as well. They had quit hibernating, and were apparently planning to spend the winter in the medians of the interstates. There have always been bears in the mountains of Virginia, but not here in western Kentucky, not for almost a hundred years. The last one was killed when Mother was a girl. The theory in the Courier-Journal was that they were following 1-65 down from the forests of Michigan and Canada, but one old man from Allen County (interviewed on nationwide TV) said that there had always been a few bears left back in the hills, and they had come out to join the others now that they had discovered fire.

“They don’t hibernate anymore,” I said. “They make a fire and keep it going all winter.”

“I declare,” Mother said. “What’ll they think of next!”

The nurse came to take her tobacco away, which is the signal for bedtime.

(13) PRE-ARRIVAL RAVES. Comedian Patton Oswalt (who is also a geek supreme) did a tweet storm that raved about the upcoming movie Arrival, based on Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life.”

Arrival comes to theaters on November 11.

(14) STOP THE PRESSES. While I was finishing the Scroll (or so I thought) Tom Becker posted this instant classic Dylanesque filk lyrics.

Scroll along the pixel tower
Filers kept the view
While all the SMOFs came and went
Techno-peasants, too
Outside, in the distance
An angry troll did growl
Two puppies were approaching
The wind began to howl

[Thanks to Rob Thornton. John King Tarpinian, Petréa Mitchell, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Josh Jasper. Hate to disillusion anyone, but I don’t know what this one means myself…]

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34 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/15/16 Go Hang A Pixel, I’m A Lasagna Scroll.

  1. 11)

    Okay, I’m sold. I was really dubious you could make a Ted Chiang story into a movie, but I trust Oswalt’s judgement.

  2. 2) That’s great. I always enjoy Carl Slaughter’s posts and interviews.

    4) That’s actually a very good interview/feature of Margaret Atwood, even if she does not approve of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win.

  3. Speaking of What Went Wrong with the Space Program, I stumbled across this outrageous bit of risk aversion today:

    He caught his breath and went on, “Take safety for instance. Do you know why I let LeCroix take that ship out instead of taking it myself? Do you think I was afraid? No! I wanted it to come back-safely. I didn’t want space travel getting another set-back. Do you know why we have to have a monopoly, for a few years at least? Because every so-and-so and his brother is going to want to build a Moon ship, now that they know it can be done. Remember the first days of ocean flying? After Lindbergh did it, every so-called pilot who could lay hands on a crate took off for some over-water point. Some of them even took their kids along. And most of them landed in the drink. Airplanes get a reputation for being dangerous. A few years after that the airlines got so hungry for quick money in a highly competitive field that you couldn’t pick up a paper without seeing headlines about another airliner crash.

    “That’s not going to happen to space travel! I’m not going to let it happen.

    Space ships are too big and too expensive; if they get a reputation for being unsafe as well, we might as well have stayed in bed. I run things.”

    (waves cane angrily) Everyone knows a casual disregard for safety is key to progress!

  4. The clicky of the ticky
    Brings a posting from those hosting,
    And the parcel with the pixel
    Holds the scroll that is droll.

  5. (12) I like that every time I read it.

    (13) I wouldn’t have thought that story could be a movie, either, since so much of it is internal monologue, but I guess they managed.

  6. I trust Patton Oswalt’s judgement on if they got Ted Chiang right. Neato.

    Current reading: VanderMeer’s Acceptance. Liking the PoV. Looking forward to starting the second part of the book tonight.

    Recent reading: “Indigo Blue” by Rachael K. Jones. Where our protagonist has to make a choice between living and having something to live for.

  7. Kip W: I’m trying to remember the name of that movie. It was so great. Was it The God Stalker? With Danny Kaye as Jame and a young Bruce Pelz as King Roderick?

  8. Today’s scroll title is an adaptation of a palindrome: “Go hang a salami! I’m a lasagna hog.”

  9. @David Goldfarb: Aha! I see how it fits, after we’ve all enjoyed Weird Al’s entirely palindromic parody of Nobel Prize Winner Dylan this week.

    Taco cat. Both a palindrome and something that happens here sometimes. Not to be confused with purrito.

    Carried over from yesterday’s scroll — @lauowolf, that was a fun little text game.

  10. Dear World and Especially Catty Writers:

    Awards are bullshit. They have always been bullshit and will always be bullshit. Just write your crap and hope someone reads it on your way to inevitable death. You can grab your mass-produced participation trophy on the way out.

  11. @Paul_A – I’m not sure what you are reacting to, but I disagree. There are so many awards, so many different things they are given for and so many different ways winners are selected that your blanket statement is really too generalized.

    I, for one, don’t think many genre awards are “Bullshit” for the simple reason that I agree that many of the winners are deserving of the additional recognition.

  12. Tom Becker
    I still haven’t actually seen that movie, but I’ve always dug the single by classic 50s rapper Dan E.K.

  13. As someone who uses Bob Dylan as a way to get rid of ear worms (to get rid of an ear worm, sing the song like Dylan would), when I heard that Dylan had won a Nobel Prize, my reaction was exactly the same as Margaret Atwood- why? I asked my wife this morning if she’d heard that he won, it turns out she had thought he’d written some piece that had impressed. When I told her that he’d won the literature prize for his songwriting, she asked what appears to be the question of the moment- why?

  14. David S., I think you answered your own question about why you’re puzzled about Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature – Dylan’s singing voice is at best adequate. As an amateur musician myself, I commend the prize going to an art form that has historical roots deeper than the novel’s and as deep as poetry’s.

  15. The only thing more sad than the coming soon bits of the Space & Rocket Center is the Women Astronauts exhibit, which has actually managed to get worse over the last 20 years. The first time I went there, in 1996, there were giant posters along the wall above the ground level exhibits. At some point, they “updated” this to be a CRT monitor in a sort of arcade cabinet looking thing hidden behind where kids line up for a not great ride, and also behind another, larger exhibit. Howard may have missed it all together as it’s so hard to find, which is okay, really, since last time I was there it didn’t actually work – was just stuck on the menu screen.

    And yet I still have a membership because it’s such a cool place.

  16. Today’s read — vN, by Madeline Ashby

    SF; a sentient robot goes on the run after devouring her grandmother. Although the premises are in some ways similar and in some ways very different, this book reminded me a *lot* of Charles Stross’s “Saturn’s Children” — in both its good points and its bad points. The world-building is excellent and thought-provoking, and the plot … exists. The number of hairs-breadth escapes started to get implausible, including one almost literal deus-ex-machina. But the characters were interesting to follow, in fact a bit more so than in “Saturn’s Children”, so in spite of my reservations I’m going to say it was, in the end, worth the read.

  17. @Dawn Incognito: Continuing to look forward to your reactions to Southern Reach when it’s done.

    One of my friends got me the best birthday present: Arthur Machen stories annotated by S.T. Joshi and Jill Galvan’s The Sympathetic Medium: Feminine Channeling, The Occult, And Communication Technologies, 1859-1919, which is looking pretty awesome so far.

  18. #3: so who is Liana Brooks, and what cons does she think she’s talking about? ALA is in late June — but that’s \one/ con, and ABA is now in January. Do agents go to Worldcon or Dragoncon (or SD Comiccon?) in droves?

  19. Talking Vox Day Paranoid Blues

    Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
    I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do
    Them Ess Jay Dubs they was comin’ around
    They was on the web
    They was in the cloud
    They wouldn’t gimme no peace

    So I run down most hurriedly
    And joined up with the Rabid Puppy Society
    I got me a secret membership card
    And started off a-loading a reddit board
    Yee-hoo, I’m a real Rabid Puppy now
    Look out you SJWs

    Now we all agree with Breivik’s writs
    Although he killed seventy kids
    It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist
    At least you can’t say he was a Communist
    That’s to say like if you turn feminist you take a splash of acid

    Well, I was lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
    I got out my iPad to read about Breq
    Found me a tavern covered in snow
    Where did my nutty nugget science fiction go?
    Can’t find any

    Now Jemisin, she’s a Russian spy
    Scalzi, Okorafor and that Nielsen-Hayden guy
    There’s just one man who deserves my dollars
    For writing fiction for us blue collars: John C. Wright
    I know for a fact he hates SJWs because he wanted to punch Terry Pratchett

    Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
    When I run outta things to hate
    Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
    So now I’m posting on my blog hatin’ myself
    Hope I don’t make myself do anything rash, hm, great God

  20. In fact, the inspiration for today’s scroll title is the very last line in Weird Al’s song, at about 2:07.

    Slacktivist has had issues with a couple of trolls who like to post garbage using the names of regular posters who don’t have registered accounts. I’m wondering if that’s what’s going on with the peculiar comment attributed to Paul_A.

  21. Lee on October 16, 2016 at 5:17 pm said:
    There’s an ID hiding in the gravatar that has a name (first and last) attached in searches.

  22. Paul_A: Awards are bullshit. They have always been bullshit and will always be bullshit. Just write your crap and hope someone reads it on your way to inevitable death. You can grab your mass-produced participation trophy on the way out.

    I’m sorry that you have such a cynical, nihilistic view of books and writing. It must be very sad and hard to feel that way.

    I personally think that awards are something created by people who love something, when they don’t feel that existing awards do a good job of recognizing that particular thing. There’s nothing wrong with that — in fact, I think it’s awesome.

    Love of books and writing is not a zero-sum game. I, and most readers, have plenty of room in our hearts and minds for many kinds of writing, whether short or novel-length, whether SFF or other genre or “literary” or poetry or non-fiction.

    Should writers consider awards the be-all and end-all of their writing existence? Absolutely not — and an author should not feel like a failure if they don’t win an award. An award is simply a bit of gravy a writer may get on top of the meat-and-potatoes of doing something they love (and hopefully being able to make a decent living from it).

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