Pixel Scroll 10/2/16 The Sorcerer’s Appertainment

(1) DISENCHANTED. Sharon Lee responded to the Best Series Hugo announcement in this “Sunday Morning Award Rant”.

There’s never been a Hugo for Best Series, which might strike some as odd, seeing as series is, and has always been, the backbone of science fiction and fantasy literature.  The thought, for many years, was that A Good Book Will Out, no matter if it was part of a series, or a standalone, and, indeed, many books which were parts of series have won the Novel Hugo (*).  In any case, the system kinda sorta worked most of the time, for most of the works involved.

Sort of like Ankh-Morpork under the Patrician’s rule, really.

However, the idea of a Series Hugo had been kicked around for a number of years, and the Collected Wisdom of the Business Meetings decided to go for it, despite the very real difficulties in administering — or even voting on — such an award.

What difficulties, you may ask?….

(2) ANIME CASHES IN. Makoto Shinkai’s latest movie is the highest-grossing film in Japan this year. The Guardian has the story.

Themes of body swapping, the search for love and a frantic quest to save a town from imminent destruction have combined to propel a Japanese animated film to box office gold, and prompted talk that the country has found its successor to the globally acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki.

Your Name, Makoto Shinkai’s fantasy about two teenagers drawn together by gender-swapping dreams, has been seen by more than 8 million people since its release in August, beating the hugely popular Godzilla Resurgence to become the highest-grossing film in Japan this year, and the ninth highest of all time.

It has earned more than 10bn yen (£77m) in box office receipts, an anime milestone previously achieved only by Miyazaki’s films.

(3) PUPPY CENSUS. Greg Hullender’s “Slate Voting Analysis Using EPH Data: 2014-2016” at Rocket Stack Rank confirmed that what I expected would happen actually did.

Look at Best Fanzine! Very few of the Rabid puppies were able to bring themselves to vote for File 770, even with Vox urging them on. I’m less clear on why almost half rejected “Penric’s Demon.”


(4) HANDICAPPING TAKEI. When the animated Star Trek series premiered on a Saturday morning in the fall of 1973, the episode seen in the rest of the country was barred from being aired in Los Angeles because of local election politics.

Tom Bradley had been elected mayor of Los Angeles, the city’s first African-American mayor, on 29 May 1973. He’d been the City Councilman for its Tenth District prior to becoming mayor. The city had a special election held on 18 September 1973 to fill Bradley’s vacated position. Bradley had endorsed political consultant David Cunningham, Jr. to fill his seat. A few other men and women also campaigned for it. One of them was George Takei.

Nineteen years after the special election, Cunningham was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “If you don’t exercise political muscle by voting, you are not part of anything but a nondescript group.” Apparently he knew something about the use of political muscle. Complaints were raised during the 1973 campaign for the Tenth District seat—possibly by Cunningham, possibly by a nondescript group: there was no published list of named complainers found at this point in time—regarding Takei’s recognition level within the voting population being higher than for other candidates because of his portrayal of Sulu on ST: TOS.  As a result of the Federal Communication Commission’s equal-time rule regarding political candidates on television, reruns of the original series were not broadcast in Los Angeles until the special election had ended.

Which brings us, once again, to 8 September 1973. The Los Angeles NBC affiliate KNBC didn’t broadcast “Beyond the Farthest Star” on that date like every other network affiliate in America; instead, it broadcast the episode scheduled to follow it, “Yesteryear”, because Takei-as-Sulu had no dialogue, nor was his character a part of the plotline, which his above-mentioned political opponents were convinced would be a factor in the election. The following week, KNBC broadcast “Yesteryear” again. “Beyond the Farthest Star” wasn’t shown in Los Angeles for the first time until 22 December 1973.


(5) LOOK UP. Here are the prime viewing dates for the Orionid Meteor Shower – and what luck, you don’t need premium cable for this.

In 2016, the Orionid meteor shower will be visible from October 2 to November 7. The shower is expected to peak on the night of October 20 and early morning of October 21.

When Can I See the Orionids?

Orionids tend to be active every year in the month of October, usually peaking around October 20. At its peak, up to 20 meteors are visible every hour.


  • October 2, 1950 — The “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz was published for the first time.
  • October 2, 1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents made its television debut.
  • October 2, 1959 The Twilight Zone, with host Rod Serling, premiered on U.S. television.

(7) TELL IT TO GROUCHO. And three years after Twilight Zone launched, Rod Serling was enough of a celebrity to receive a spot on Groucho Marx’ show.

(8) NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON’S GAME. “Expand your universe with Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s new video game” invites this Digital Trends article.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is entering the video game business. His new game, Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents: Space Odyssey, is an educational title developed to encourage players to explore space and science.

Although in early development, it’s being designed as a building game. Space Odyssey asks players to create their own galaxies. While there are elements of MineCraft and Civilization baked into the experience, Mark Murphy, co-creator and developer of the game from Whatnot Entertainment, said it’s something unique.

(9) AMAZING STORIES’ FICTION SCHEDULE. Starting October 5, Amazing Stories will begin posting the fiction comprising its Special Edition issue:

  • Jeremy Lichtman (“Bob the Hipster Knight”); October 5
  • Alex Shvartsman (“How Gaia and the Guardian Saved the World”); October 12
  • Vince Liberato (“Parental Guidance Recommended”); October 19
  • Stephen Power (“The Sounding Cataract”); October 26
  • Karen Skovmand (“The Mesmerist”); November 2
  • Trent Walters (“Awake the Snorting Citizens With the Bell”); November 9
  • James Gordon Harper (“A Clean Start”) ; November 16
  • Matt Downer (“The Size of the Fight”); November 22
  • Stuart Barton (“Lost Phoenixes”); November 23
  • Sean Monaghan (“Penny of Tharsis Montes”); November 24

We will be publishing two additional stories in addition to those Gernsback award winning stories:

  • Kermit Woodall (“We’re all Here in the Future”); November 30
  • David Gerrold (“The Great Milo”); December 7

The above will also be compiled into a special edition issue of the magazine and released in electronic and POD formats.

(10) KEEP ON CASTING. In “Fishing for Contracts”, Brad Torgersen tells Mad Genius Club readers the similarities between a writing career and sport fishing.

I think it’s much the same with the new world of indie publishing, too. In this case, you’re not selling to an editor, as much as you’re selling to the world at large. You’re still casting — each book or individual product is equivalent to throwing out a line. Whether or not your item(s) reel back the customers, is a calculated gamble. Having more item(s) on the market is much more likely to get you action, than having few, or one. More casting with more lures is upping your chances of getting strikes. If you happen to hit the right thing at the right time for the market, you may have the fish practically jumping out of the water at you. But you can’t have a moment like that, unless you can produce first. And production comes down to having a plan, sticking to that plan, and not letting the “skunked” days — when the fish aren’t biting — throw you off your game.

Also, don’t be fooled into thinking accouterment is a replacement for either craft, or effort. I have known some writers who devote far, far more time to attending writing workshops and using the latest software, or creating the perfect home office for themselves, than they do actually putting words down on the blank page. I think they mistake the trappings of the writerly life, for actual writing. An all-too-easy mindset to fall into, I know from experience! Believe me.

But then, all I have to do is look at my little, abused, green-plastic Flambeau box — with its attendant bargain-shopper no-name pole and reel — to be reminded of the fact that you don’t need a $2,000 laptop with the latest genius manuscript program, to haul in a lunker. My first award-winner for Analog was written on a hand-me-down POS computer from work — during nights I hunched at my daughter’s vinyl-padded play table in the unfinished basement. Because it was the only quiet spot I could find, when the family was fast asleep.

(11) NATHAN FILLION AT MOSCOW COMIC CON. This is news to me – a comic con in Russia.

Actor Nathan Fillion has been cracking us up since his role on the TV show Castle — and we couldn’t be more excited for him to keep us laughing in his new role on Modern Family as a weatherman named — wait for it — Rainer Shine.

But lately, his Instagram is where the jokes are at. Nathan is currently in Moscow attending Russia Comic Con 2016, and following along has been a feast of comedic delights. See for yourself:

(12) FRAUD AT BAT POLLS? Me TV ranked all 37 villains from the Sixties Batman TV series. I can’t believe The Riddler is Number One! I was always partial to Burgess Meredith squawking it up as The Penguin.

1. The Riddler

(No. 1)  Frank Gorshin

Gorshin appeared in nine episodes, far fewer than Meredith; however, he did earn an Emmy nomination for his work. As the only actor singled out for such an honor, he deserves a place at the top.

[Thanks to Dawn Incognito, Steve Davidson, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

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60 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/2/16 The Sorcerer’s Appertainment

  1. @JJ

    In fairness to Asher I think Dark Intelligence is possibly one of the worst ones to pick up as an introductory read in the Polity ‘verse. It depends on knowing about characters and events in several sub-series.

    A much better one would be Hilldiggers which stands much more alone.

  2. Pingback: Not Murray but Danny the K | File 770

  3. From what I remember, Prador Moon was a sci-fi horror novel, basically. I agree it’s probably a good intro to the series.

    I don’t agree. I think that the Prador Moon prequel is pretty thin reading if you are not already familiar with the Prador from the other Polity books. It is like watching The Phantom Menace as your first Star Wars movie and being expected to know why you should care about the story arc of the whiny little blonde kid or the short green guy who talks funny. If you want to start with the Polity books, go in publication order and start with Gridlinked.

    Though a bit more graphically violent, I think that the quality of the world building and alien species of the Polity books is right up there with Banks’ Culture. The culture and mentality of the Prador is perfectly realistic for a species of giant r-type arthropods. As with Banks, war drones are some of the most developed and interesting characters. The Jain are a sufficiently scary species of Dead Elder Race That Left Behind Lethal Godlike Technology (which James S. A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes was a very pale shadow of–I abandoned the second book in that series within about 20 pages when I saw that it was going to be more of the same.) And the Gabbleducks are one of my all-time favorite alien species.

  4. @Catfish.

    Hmmm. Let me count the reasons why I acquired the Amazing Stories name and “why it has taken so long”.

    1. the name itself was in danger of becoming a title for a series of travel books; I took a chance that my application could prevail; after 5 years, it did.
    2. I had good prospects for investment, and then the economy tanked
    2A. this meant bootstrapping because: my old business failed to sell as a whole and, piecemeal, did not bring in enough to do more than keep my wife and I in food and rent
    2B. bootstrapping also meant, no ready source of cash to pay people
    3. I was and am committed to see Amazing return on a VIABLE and SUSTAINABLE basis – not something short term, not something that has to beg for money on an annual basis
    4. I do not feel qualified to edit the fiction of a modern science fiction magazine. (The editing I have done for professionals in the field has been well received so far, but: “modern” science fiction is just not my cup of tea. I can appreciate craft, I can appreciate new viewpoints, I can recognize good “literary” writing, but most of it does nothing for me. In order to do a good to excellent job of editing, one must be passionate about it. My love of the field is, apparently, rooted in the period from the late 1800s to about 1985 or thereabouts…with some excellent exceptions.)
    Therefore, I have to hire an editor. More dollars we do not have right now.
    5. During the money raising phase, my father died and I became care giver for my mother. This robs time and energy – and dollars.
    6. I do not like receiving “charity”, which makes it difficult to nearly impossible for me to do thinks like “patreon” (wouldn’t bring in enough anyway), or to lean too heavily on the contributors who have been donating time and creativity. They’ve already done enough. Volunteers must necessarily be handled differently than paid employees.
    7. The plan was always to receive a goodly portion of revenue from licensing. This initially developed well – including the deal with NBC/Universal. Most of the (small to begin with) revenue from existing licenses has turned into a trickle. I can’t talk about NBC/Universal, other than to say – have you heard anything about it since the deal was signed? No, you haven’t.
    8. I could spend all day fightiing the infringers whose “work” has greatly and negatively impacted sales of things likes posters and our anthologies. Rather than gaining revenue from these efforts, the dollars are being spent on attorneys trying to wrestle this issue into submission.
    9. At the VERY MOMENT that I was about to tell the printer to go ahead and start printing our first print issue, my wife was found to have stage IV breast cancer. A short while after that, she also suffered multiple strokes. I am now a care giver for my wife, who was our primary source of income. We now face the very real prospect that her SS Disability checks will NOT cover both mortgage AND health care – let alone food, gasoline or anything else.
    10. the print issue, which was to have initially been distributed, gratis, to each and every member of this past Worldcon, was to have been used as a teaser and as a come-on to potential advertisers; I have a distribution tactic that can work, but folks need to see it in operation in order to be able to get behind it. That plan only works for North America. NASFiC does not draw enough heavy hitters and obviously Finland doesn’t work, so I now have to wait a couple of years to even begin to start doing that all over again.

    What was your question again?

  5. @ Greg H. There are 12 original stories in the special edition. There was to be one reprint in the print version and an excerpt from a forth coming book as well. The reprnt has already been published on Amazing (Clemon’s Tool Dresser’s Law – good short from the 80s and Jack has been a stalwart supporter from the beginning).

  6. Thanks Mike and Laura. No one came to the rescue.

    It’s a big holiday here in China, so the office manager, translators, and computer technicians are gone for a week.

    I can still create documents, so I have continued submitting material, but the ransomware virus attacks the new documents soon after I create them.

    Ransomware hackers usually target corporations that have a lot of money and a lot of files and that can’t operate for any length of time without access to those files. I myself have never read an article about ransomware. I knew about it because it was part of a plot in an episode of a legal drama I watched. So I doubt the campus computer technicians are familiar with ransomware.

    I might have to resort to installing a new operating system to kill the virus and reformat the USB to salvage it. But that means grunt work to reupdate files.

    Meanwhile, after reading that review of Luke Cage, I tried to binge watch the first season, but the ransomware is affecting the stream. So I can’t keep up with speculative screen.

  7. @steve davidson

    Greg H. There are 12 original stories in the special edition.

    Thank you.

    @Carl Slaughter

    Thanks Mike and Laura. No one came to the rescue.

    There really isn’t much that can be done without a serious budget–generally a lot more than just paying the ransom. You should reformat the disk, reinstall everything, and be more careful in the future. Wish I could give you better news.

  8. Some of the encryption keys have been cracked. Intel, Kaspersky and Europol have a database of those keys and tooling here: https://www.nomoreransom.org/

    You can upload an encrypted file and the text of the demand to see if they have the tools for decryption.

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