Pixel Scroll 11/24/17 It’s Only 37 Pixel Scrolls To Christmas

(1) NYT NOTABLES. Here are some of the New York Times’ picks for the “100 Notable Books of 2017”.

THE BOOK OF JOAN. By Lidia Yuknavitch. (Harper/HarperCollins, $26.99.) In this brilliant novel, Earth, circa 2049, has been devastated by global warming and war.

THE CHANGELING. By Victor LaValle. (Spiegel & Grau, $28.) LaValle’s novel, about Apollo Kagwa, a used-book dealer, blends social criticism with horror, while remaining steadfastly literary.

THE ESSEX SERPENT. By Sarah Perry. (Custom House/Morrow, $26.99.) This novel’s densely woven plot involves an independent-minded widow and the possible haunting presence of a giant serpent.

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO. By George Saunders. (Random House, $28.) In this Man Booker Prize-winning first novel by a master of the short story, Abraham Lincoln visits the grave of his son Willie in 1862, and is surrounded by ghosts in purgatory.

THE POWER. By Naomi Alderman. (Little, Brown, $26.) In this fierce and unsettling novel, the ability to generate a dangerous electrical force from their bodies lets women take control, resulting in a vast, systemic upheaval of gender dynamics across the globe.

THE STONE SKY: The Broken Earth: Book Three. By N.K. Jemisin. (Orbit, paper, $16.99.) Jemisin won a Hugo Award for each of the first two novels in her Broken Earth trilogy. In the extraordinary conclusion, a mother and daughter do geologic battle for the fate of the earth.

(2) BLACK FRIDAY BONUS. Scott Edelman says, “This completely unpredicted, absolutely unanticipated, and totally unexpected new episode—with horror writers Brian Keene, Lesley Conner, Mary SanGiovanni, Damien Angelica Walters, J.P. Sloan, and Eric Hendrixson—is one I had no idea I was going to record until I was about to record it.”

Listen in to Eating the Fantastic where “Six horror writers reveal publishing realities (and more)”:

(L-R) Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Damien Angelica Walters, Lesley Conner, J.P. Sloane, Scott Edelman.

But luckily, since the group had planned to grab a bite to eat after their  panel before they hit the road, we did get to chat while breaking bread together. I was able to sit with them at a large round table in the Frederick Community College cafeteria, and as we inhaled salads and stromboli, I pushed them to share some of the brutal truths of horror publishing, the ones they didn’t reveal on the panel for fear of crushing the hopes and dreams of young, innocent, beginning writers. Which I hope you’ll feel is a good enough excuse to justify sharing the panel itself as part of the episode before that meal.

Scott adds, “The previously announced next episode with comics legend Marv Wolfman will still be uploaded December 1 as planned. I guess this one is a Black Friday bonus! Hope you had a good turkey day!”

(3) WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS. Did you finish your novel? Pam Uphoff tells you how to spend the rest of the month in “No Mo NaNo”, a rerun at Mad Genius Club.

Welcome to the last week of NaNoWriMo, where we all despair! Let me throw out some ideas that might help you get going again.

Finished? Ha! Go back a make a searchable mark (I use ///) everyplace where you told us about something instead of showing us, instead of pulling us into the situation.

Then go back to the start and search those out. Rewrite them. Use lots of dialog. Don’t be stiff and terse. Have some fun. Have your hero call something pink. Have your heroine disagree. “Don’t be silly! It’s obviously a soft dusty salmon.” “It’s a fish?” Or flip the genders on it. He’s an artist, he sees these colors. Make the reader laugh. Or cry. Or get mad.

(4) HOW INFLUENCERS PROFIT. The Guardian follows the money: “George Takei saga sheds light on the murky world of pay-to-promote news”.

News that several online media companies including Mic, Slate and Refinery29 have severed commercial ties with Star Trek actor George Takei following allegations of sexual assault has shone a light on the little-understood practice of online news sites paying celebrities to post links to their content.

Millennial-focused website Mic reported that it and five other media sites had “ended paid promotion partnerships that once had their articles and videos shared on Takei’s social media platforms” in the wake of an accusation that Takei sexually assaulted a young actor in 1981. Takei denies the claim.

Slate, Refinery29, viral site Upworthy, media brand Good and Futurism all confirmed to Mic that they had cut Takei out of their “social media influencer” networks of paid celebrities and other high-profile social media users who often have millions of followers.

…Top influencers can make $75,000 for a product post on Instagram and a staggering $185,000-plus for a plug on YouTube, according to a report in the New York Times.


  • November 24, 1916 – Forrest J Ackerman

(6) KEEP THOSE TURKEYS COMING. A.V. Club wields the drumstick: “Netflix celebrates Turkey Day by renewing Mystery Science Theater 3000”.

For MSTies, Thanksgiving is about Mitchell and Manos: The Hands Of Fate as much as it is about turkey and cranberry sauce. Yes, the traditional Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon just wrapped up its 11th edition on Shout Factory TV, and with it comes an exciting bit of news: MST3K: The Return has been renewed for a second season on Netflix! (That’s the 12th season overall, for those of you who are keeping count—which is presumably everyone reading MST3K news late at night on Thanksgiving.)

(7) OKAY. Tor.com’s Molly Templeton insists “You’ll Never Sink My Love of Battleship”.

But few movies are as simultaneously wonderful and dumb as Battleship, which is, in a very slight big dumb action movie way, a little bit subversive. Yes, it has a very pretty, hardheaded, relatively attractively frowny white guy as its lead, but it introduces him via a misguided quest for a chicken burrito and then spends the rest of the movie illustrating the many ways in which we are all doomed if he cannot take a breath and listen to other people. And fast. Battleship is two hours of exploding boats and alien frog-ship-things and some solid infrastructure damage for good measure, but it’s also two hours of international cooperation and heroics—from people who are not often the big damn heroes.

(8) EVOLUTION OF CLICKBAIT. Darwin would be proud: “Galapagos finches caught in act of becoming new species”.

This new finch population is sufficiently different in form and habits to the native birds, as to be marked out as a new species, and individuals from the different populations don’t interbreed.

Prof Butlin told the BBC that people working on speciation credit the Grant professors with altering our understanding of rapid evolutionary change in the field.

In the past, it was thought that two different species must be unable to produce fertile offspring in order to be defined as such. But in more recent years, it has been established that many birds and other animals that we consider to be unique species are in fact able to interbreed with others to produce fertile young.

“We tend not to argue about what defines a species anymore, because that doesn’t get you anywhere,” said Prof Butlin. What he says is more interesting is understanding the role that hybridisation can have in the process of creating new species, which is why this observation of Galapagos finches is so important.

(9) HEROIC UNCHASTITY. John C. Wright deconstructs Glory Road in “Fooled by Heinlein for Fourty Years”.

What if Oscar the hero had fathered a child during his one-night stand? Does a father have no moral obligations running to a child, to love, to cherish, to protect, to see to its upbringing? The mother of Moses sent her babe off in a basket down the river because the soldiers of Pharaoh were coming to kill it; but Oscar here apparently is sending his child down the river because he wishes to enjoy a momentary sexual pleasure with an unnamed woman, and because he does not wish to offend ugly customs of outlandish people.

I look at the perfect face of my own cherubic child, and I wonder, what kind of man would let his child be raised as a bastard by strangers? If the child is a daughter, will she be sent to whore around with other wondering heroes?

If the customs of the land had demanded our hero sacrifice a captive to Tezcatlipoca, would his bitchy girlfriend have brow-beaten him into doing that, too?

The bitchy girlfriend turns out to be an Empress, and she marries the hero. I must laugh. What kind of girl would marry a man (or even give him the time of day) after he has sported with harlots? How did Clytemnestra react when her husband lord Agamemnon come back from the wars, having slept with many a golden slave-girl from Illium? She killed him with an axe in the bath. Compare Heinlein with Aeschylus. Who do you think knows more about how women really act?


(11) A WRITER’S CAREER PATH. This new theory tries to account for what we’ve been seeing.

(12) THERE WERE NEVER SUCH DEVOTED SISTERS. And this was news to me.

(13) WEIR INTERVIEW. I think I’ve had enough of Andy Weir for awhile, but maybe you haven’t: from Reason.com, The Martian‘s Andy Weir Talks Economics (and Sex) on the Moon in Artemis: Podcast”.

“One thing we’ve learned from The Phantom Menace is don’t start a story with a dissertation of economics,” says Andy Weir, author of The Martian. Last week he released a new novel, Artemis, about a settlement on the Moon. Where The Martian, which was turned into a blockbuster starring Matt Damon, is powered by plot-driving engineering mishaps and triumphs, Artemis gave Weir a chance to unleash his inner “economics dork.” The political economy of the moon is a fascinating part of the new book, featuring guilds, crony capitalism, reputation mechanisms, a non-state quasi-currency, sex tourism, smuggling, and more.

(14) THESE AREN’T THE DRUNKS I’M LOOKING FOR. The Washington Post’s Fritz Hahn, “A Stormtrooper checks your ID at this new Star Wars-themed pop-up bar”, describes the opening of The Dark Side Bar, a pop-up bar that has opened in Washington, Manhattan, and the Chinese Theatre in LA. The idea, says creator Zach Neil, is “that you’re in a bar inside the Death Star, or a bar where a Stormtrooper would go after work and complain about how mean the Emperor was that day.”  Entertainment includes trivia nights, “alien speed dating,” and burlesque with “sexy aliens.”  But don’t expect any Skywalker cocktails or t-shirts for sale because this bar is NOT authorized by Lucasfilm.

Once you’re in, the house cocktails are not the cocktails you are looking for. The Red Force and Blue Force are college-party sugar bombs — the latter is Hendricks Gin, blue curacao and a sugar rim — with glow-in-your-glass ice cubes. The Imperial sounds promising, with spiced rum, maple syrup, lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper, but it was as balanced as the Force at the end of “Revenge of the Sith.” You’re better off ordering a regular cocktail or a can of DC Brau.

(15) ERADICATOR OF ERROR. Wonder Woman drops some knowledge in Galsplaining with Gal Gadot.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, Steve Davidson, Cat Eldridge, Bill, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/24/17 It’s Only 37 Pixel Scrolls To Christmas

  1. 9 me thinks JCWrongs version of Christianity needs a good editor. Actually so does his version of reality. And storytelling.

    12 clearly identical twins

  2. 9) Hunh. Didn’t see Heinlein Disillusionment coming.

    7) Well, there are plenty of not-smart movies that I love that are objectively not good, so stones I will not throw…

  3. I’m not sure it was ever used. I only found one match when I searched. Of course, if a word was different, we may never know.

  4. 9) Wright is not playing fair with Heinlein. First he has Oscar sleep with the women under the rules of Glory Road’s world and then fathers the children under Wright’s version of Christianity. Would the Glory Road world treat the child as a “bastard” or in a way that fits Heinlein’s description (as a hero’s child)? I think the latter.

  5. The book explicitly spells out that the get of a hero is cherished and valued in that society. From a genetic standpoint, an isolated society is genetically benefitted by those random genes from the wandering heros.
    Yeah, JC does get this messed up.
    And, yeah, Star does screw up by not explaining the rules to Oscar. She brushes it off with, “I thought you’d act like a Frenchman”, which indicates that not all HUMAN earthly societies are identical in their sexual mores, which a guy who is as well read and educated as JCW should know.
    Unless I’m badly mistaken, sexual mores and practices vary widely in 21st century USA, much less across the globe and all the centuries past.

  6. @9: Compare Heinlein with Aeschylus. Who do you think knows more about how women really act? Considering that Aeschylus lived in a society in which almost all women were expected to hide whatever light they had under a bushel, where Heinlein met his last wife (and probably many other competent women) during WWII, I’d pick Heinlein. And I’m not willing to give Wrong a click (I’d have to sterilize my notebook afterward), but I’m puzzled at the spelling (replicated in the link) “fourty”; is it an astigmatic affectation of UK spelling, or is he also trying to flout Shaw, or …? And is he just now getting disillusioned? Has he never heard of the shenanigans in Time Enough to Screw Around?

  7. (9) I couldn’t decide if Wright was being amazingly dense; deliberately mis-understanding it; trolling for outrage or just didn’t get it.
    Then I went with my first thought which was basically “Just fuck off already”.

  8. 9) Hunh. Didn’t see Heinlein Disillusionment coming.

    It’s part of the whole “new pulp revolution” thing. Campbell, Heinlein, and the rest of the Golden Age science fiction writers are now horrible interlopers who perverted the genre and diverted it away from its true pulp vector.

    There are a lot of problematic things about Heinlein’s writing, but leave it to Wright to zero in on a couple of things that really aren’t and misinterpret the text entirely. Even when he could be right, he manages to find a way to screw it up and get it wrong.

    And finally, no, fourty is not a correct spelling. Wright simply doesn’t know how to correctly spell the word forty.

  9. I note that while it’s true Agamemnon was murdered on his return from Troy, all the other Greek heroes (who were pretty much equally unchaste) who made it back got heroes’ welcomes. Odysseus shacked up with a demigoddess for seven years, and we are told in so many words that when she had to let him go they had a farewell screw; and when he proved to Penelope that he was who he said he was, Penelope took him straight into her bed. (Something that we are, again, told in so many words.)

  10. In the scrolling, the mighty scrolling,
    The pixel scrolls tonight,
    In the scrolling, the noisy scrolling,
    The pixel scrolls tonight,


  11. (9) Clytemnestra plotted Agamemnon’s killing with her new lover, Aegisthus. Clytemnestra was pissed at Agamemnon because he had earlier sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia for favorable winds, so the Greek expeditionary force could sail for Troy.

    There are some variations to the story — the Greeks seem to have loved to tinker with their myths — but JCW’s interpretation is outside anything I have run across.

    Disclaimer: not a classicist.

  12. Reading: M John Harrison’s new story collection You Should Come With Me Now, which I liked overall. Sometimes his irritation with genre burns through the irony and he just sounds grumpy, but I quite enjoyed that. You can read one of the stories (The Crisis) over at the TLS.

    Various simple beliefs surrounded the invasion. Some people associated the iGhetti with Dark Matter; some with the banking crisis of the late Noughties. Others believed that they “came out of the internet”. (Indeed, this was the favoured theory of the internet itself: the medium still firmly – if a little desperately – casting itself as the message.) While none of these theories could be described as true, they did, perhaps, mirror the type and scale of the anxieties that led the iGhetti to us.

  13. I see a bad scroll a-rising
    I hear the sound of puppy bray
    I read the hatred and despising
    I wish, I wish they’d go away

    Don’t read John C Wright
    Don’t spend time on shite
    There’s a bad scroll on the rise

  14. @Hampus. Well done! I now have an earworm for Saturday.

    On RAH disillusionment: shouldn’t be too much longer before they announce a new genre – Why Fy or some such….

  15. Scouting Report: interestingly, JCW gets some pushback in his own comments, and (not surprisingly) goes off the rails defending his argument, and must later recant his insult.

    Then, predictably, everyone gies on to support the argument, most demonstrating unfamiliarity with the novel in question, or at least confessing to having not read it for a while.

    Special Note: JCW may have revealed a favorite homosexual rape fantasy elsewhere in the text. (I think its hard to get visually specific without, you know, thinking about it. A lot.)

  16. In addition to unfamiliarity with the classics, that quoted argument (I too cannot bring myself to look at JCW’s page) sees no meaningful difference between consensual non-marital sex and repeatedly raping slaves: one is “sported with harlots” and the other is “slept with many a golden slave-girl.”

    My 2017 ethics would be on Clytemnestra’s side, while suspecting that serial rapist Agamemnon didn’t treat the slaves in his own palace much better than the ones he raped in Ilium. But if Wright is judging possibly fictional people from 3000 years ago by his own ethics, I will judge by mine.

    As for “what kind of man?”: plenty of men who are treated as behaving decently, even pre-defined as the good guys, by our own culture. For example, the fathers of the Amerasian children born in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The law that gave the Amerasians US citizenship was based on the evidence that their fathers were American citizens, with no way of knowing which of the many thousands of soldiers had “let their child be raised as a bastard by strangers.” Oscar’s child, if any, would be raised as a hero’s child, welcomed by his mother and her parents.

  17. What kind of pixel would marry a scroll (or even give it the time of day) after it has sported with godstalks?

  18. @Aaron: I’m quite aware that “fourty” is wrong; I was wondering whether it was a simple error (which would horrify Wrong) deliberate.

  19. 9) HEROIC UNCHASTITY. John C. Wright deconstructs Glory Road in “Fooled by Heinlein for Fourty Years”.

    I just skimmed his post as it’s far to long to read fully. The comments are interesting as JCW seems determined that Heinlein is wrong because he’s not keeping with proper Chtistain behavior which no more exists in the setting of that story than it did in Ancient Greek Times. JCW is a shitty student of history and is ingnoring the reality that Chtistainity isn’t the moral monoculture he thinks it is.

    The comments attempt to point out he’s ignoring, errrrr, reality but he’ll have none of that as he very obviously thinks that sex outside of marriage makes a woman a permanently tainted whore. What a nasty piece of work he is.

  20. As to the question of whether Aeschylus or Heinlein understood women better….

    …we could START by pointing out women are not a monolith and never were.

  21. I think this hasnt been mentioned before: The 2018 Tournament of books long list is out. There are some genre books on it (including some I havewnt heard of). Its leaning more twoards the “literary side” of Genre, if you believe in this kind of distinction, so we can get a glimps of what the shadowclarke jury will be reviewing next year 😉

    A good enough pixel to scroll

  22. I was wondering whether it was a simple error (which would horrify Wrong) deliberate.

    Given his proclivity for archaic words, I suspect that he thinks it is an older spelling of the word and that using it makes him seem more erudite. The reality is that is makes him look like even more of a buffoon than he normally does.

  23. “Given his proclivity for archaic words, I suspect that he thinks it is an older spelling of the word and that using it makes him seem more erudite.”

    It was a spelling some authors (Chaucer, for example) used; it coexisted with forty and a number of other spellings until the beginning of the 18th century. Despite that, however, this is still true:

    “The reality is that is makes him look like even more of a buffoon than he normally does.”

  24. While I am, of course, thrilled that Wright is coming to understand the necessity of widely available birth control to the heroic journey…

    …no, I have no idea how to end that sentence.

  25. Just finished listening to Artemis while completing my latest brace of infusions. Rosario Dawson does a great job reading the book. The book itself is fair to middling, but the audio version is a treat.

  26. 9) And thinking of Aeschylus’ knowledge of women, here’s a bit from The Frogs by Aristophanes:

    AESCHYLUS: I’m proud to say I never wrote about any amorous woman.

    EURIPEDES: You’d never met one.

  27. Wait, Rosario Dawson reads audiobooks? I really have to question my Life choices, i.e. why I never bothered with them!

  28. @Lenora Rose: …we could START by pointing out women are not a monolith and never were.

    *standing ovation!*

    I am astonished to find that Wright’s comments (even just the ones excerpted here because, yeah, not reading) make me want to defend Heinlein……Glory Road was one of my favorites decades ago along with Moon and Podkayne and Citizen of the Galaxy.

  29. Drive-by recommendation: Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series (two books published so far, but clearly oh yes clearly there will be MOAR!): series website here. They were my Thanksgiving break indulgence (and reward for grading!).

    Not sf genre (unless I can stretch the boundaries and call it sort of alternate history in which Charlotte Holmes ‘creates’ Sherlock–although her sister Olivia is getting ready to write the actual stories), but brilliant transformative work that weaves in allusions to canonical stories but is told completely from the perspective of women and features a range of fascinating women characters, including, heh, a Mrs. Watson.

    In addition, V ernq Puneybggr nf ba gur uvtu-shapgvbavat raq bs gur nhgvfz fcrpgehz (naq ure byqre fvfgre Oreanqvar vf qrfpevorq va jnlf gung ner glcvpny bs gur ybj-shapgvbavat raq bs gur fcrpgehz). V’ir frra fbzr fcrphyngvba gung gur pnabavpny Fureybpx unf Nfcretre’f, v.r. uvtu-shapgvbavat nhgvfz, naq Gubznf’ cbegenlny bs gur gjb fvfgref vf snfpvangvat. Rot13.

  30. 9) Wright needs a proofreader: forty has no u’s and while Oscar does wonder what’s going on, he’s a wandering hero, not a wondering one. And I’d call Star a lot of things, but never a “girl”. Isn’t she somebody’s grandma?

    I love Sherry Thomas’ Charlotte Holme series, too! Can’t wait for the next.

  31. (9) There is no doubt it is a blatant male sexual fantasy scene. Wright actually was on to something when he brought it up. Unfortunately for Wright, he immediately wrecks his analysis by presuming that he knows all the answers. To everything.

    I hope that when I get to the point where I am intellectually incapable of seeing the flaws in my beliefs, I don’t take it as proof my beliefs are flawless.

  32. 9)I find it hard to get upset about as poor a writer as Wright misunderstanding Heinlein. I don’t care for most of what Hoyt says about Heinlein, enough to upset me, but that’s because she’s better than Wright, not worse. You have to engage with her to disagree with her. But this piece of tripe? It makes me think of a Randy Newman song:

    I have a family to support,
    But surely that is no excuse.
    I’ve nothing further to report.
    Time you spend with me is time you lose.

    @Tom Becker: “There is no doubt it is a blatant male sexual fantasy scene.”

    Mostly. Except for the part about screwing up and nearly getting himself and those with him killed.

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