Pixel Scroll 11/25/22 As Ghu Is My Witness, I Thought Pixels Could Scroll

(1) SFF WORKSHOP IN PAKISTAN. The first Salam Award Writers Workshop will be held March 6-10, 2023 in Lahore, Pakistan. Elizabeth Hand and Mary Anne Mohanraj are the lead instructors. Apply at the link – the deadline is December 31, 2022.

…Since 2017, The Salam Award has honored the best Pakistani and Pakistani-diaspora writing in the SFF genre. This workshop will exclusively focus on enhancing and furthering speculative fiction writing and authors.
Over the four days, participants will receive intensive instruction from award-winning writers and editors, participate in critique workshops of an existing manuscript, and craft exercises.

Applications are competitive as the seats are limited. If accepted, conference fees are PKR 40,000 and cover three meals, accommodation at LUMS, instruction costs, and all materials. Limited scholarships are available!

Highlights of the event include:  

  1. Clarion/Milford style workshop focused on Speculative Fiction genre writing
  2. SFF craft lectures and talks
  3. Participants will arrive on March 5th and depart on March 11th

(2) AN EXPERT EYE. Charlie Jane Anders’ picks for “The 9 best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2022” appeared last week in the Washington Post.

This was the year our dreams grew teeth. The best science fiction and fantasy books of 2022 managed to combine mournfulness and rage. In them, we’re seeing the first indication of how the pandemic and our recent political turmoil might change our stories, in the form of work that’s sharper, funnier and weirder….

The list includes –

‘How High We Go in the Dark,’ by Sequoia Nagamatsu

At first, “How High We Go” — a novel in interconnected stories about the devastation from a strange disease that comes from ancient corpses unfrozen in Antarctica — seems like a simple plague tale. But Nagamatsu’s ambitions reach higher and deeper, taking the story in some truly weird directions. Each of its narratives explores human grief in new ways, and each captures something about how technology and corporate interests can distort it. But throughout, human connection provides a saving grace.

(3) A TALE OF TWO TURKEYS. Walter Jon Williams shared his “best Thanksgiving story” yesterday on Facebook. Whew!

(4) CALLING FOR HELP. Chessiecon, held in Maryland, is a Thanksgiving weekend convention with a 45-year history that continues the tradition of DarkoverCon, emphasizing the work of women creators in sff literature and art.

It is having problems this year, in particular they expect to be hit with a contractual financial penalty for failing to fill their hotel room block. A GoFundMe — “Friends of ChessieCon Unite” — has been started to raise $11,000.

After several years of shutdown and a year of staff and volunteers battling health concerns, this intimate, esoteric fan convention has found itself seriously impacted. Though they have strived to power on, attrition caused by these health issues and a diminished volunteer base has left this year’s convention and its organizers falling short of meeting the convention’s needs and obligations. Most hard-hitting is the fact that this year they have not filled their contractually obligated hotel block. There is a stiff financial penalty levied against the convention by the hotel.

We very much would like to see Chessie and her crew survive these trying years to come back strong in 2023, but to do that, we must meet our obligations for this year. Can you help us?

(5) MAKE YOUR CORNER OF THE INTERNET A GARDEN. In “How to Weave the Artisan Web”, John Scalzi, inspired by a Pablo Defendini tweet, encourages people in sff to resume blogging. Includes lots of suggestions about what to do, but first he answers the question “Why?”

Everyone should start blogging again. Own your own site. Visit all your friends’ sites. Bring back the artisan, hand-crafted Web. Sure, it’s a little more work, but it’s worth it. You don’t even need to stop using social media! It’s a “yes, and” situation, not a “no, but” one.

… Now, why should we bring back that artisan, hand-crafted Web? Oh, I don’t know. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a site that’s not run by an amoral billionaire chaos engine, or algorithmically designed to keep you doomscrolling in a state of fear and anger, or is essentially spyware for governments and/or corporations? Wouldn’t it be nice not to have ads shoved in your face every time you open an app to see what your friends are up to? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when your friends post something, you’ll actually see it without a social media platform deciding whether to shove it down your feed and pump that feed full of stuff you didn’t ask for?…

(6) SHINY. Witness History’s episode “How cat’s eyes were invented” is available at BBC Sounds.

In 1934, the late Percy Shaw almost crashed while driving home from the pub on a foggy night in West Yorkshire, in England. 

He was saved when his headlights were reflected in the eyes of a cat and it gave him a brilliant idea. 

He invented reflective studs for the road and called them cat’s eyes. 

And wasn’t this invention behind Will Jenkins’ (aka Murray Leinster) subsequent invention of front-screen projection? Or is that just a trick of my memory? He wrote about it in an Analog science article a loonnng time ago. I see this much on the Murray Leinster official website:

Will F. Jenkins was an active inventor and most notably on December 20, 1955, patented the “Front Projection” filming method, and he sold the patent to Sherman Fairchild of Fairchild Cameras, who widely produced the method, and “Front Projection” was first used in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”

(7) MEMORY LANE.

1970 [By Cat Eldridge.] Star Trek’s “Amok Time”

“Jim, when I requested to Spock that it was time for his routine check-up, your logical, unemotional first officer turned to me and said: ‘You will cease to pry into my personal matters, Doctor, or I will certainly break your neck!’.”

“Spock said that?” – McCoy and Kirk, about Spock

And now for a true classic episode of the first Trek series. Fifty-two years ago on this date “Amok Time” premiered across the pond in the United Kingdom (having first aired in the U.S. in 1967).

It followed what I thought was a good awful episode, “Operation — Annihilate!”, and was written by Theodore Sturgeon whose other Trek script was the stellar “Shore Leave”. I mean seriously, what a wonderful episode that was!

It had a number of things that made it unique. It is the only episode of Trek, and when I say Trek I always mean the original series, to show scenes on Vulcan.  It was the first episode to show Ensign Pavel Chekov as the navigator, and it was the first episode to list DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy in the opening credits.

I’m going to assume that each and everyone here has seen it, right? Ok. You’re fans. So let’s not deal with the story at all. 

It has two firsts that cannot be overlooked — Leonard Nimoy first used his signature Vulcan salute and “Long live prosper” in this episode. Ok, Sturgeon was a brilliant writer, wasn’t he? 

Memory Alpha says “In Theodore Sturgeon’s original script, Kirk did not have to depend on T’Pau’s influence to justify the departure to Vulcan. He knew the officials on the other planet, and asked them to delay the ceremonies until he got Spock back from Vulcan. This planet (Altair VI in the episode itself) was named Fontana IV in the original script, as a tribute to writer and then-story editor D.C. Fontana.” 

Finally a cat version of “Amok Time” was featured in Jenny Parks’ 2017 book Star Trek Cats. Really she did. She did the same for Picard and his crew as well.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 25, 1920 Ricardo Montalbán. Khan Noonien Singh and the first Mr. Rourke. Armando and Grandpa Valentin Avellan as well. I’m picking those as four most memorable roles he’s played and they just happen to all be genre in nature. Oh, and is Khan Noonien Singh one of the few occurrences of a non-crew character carrying over from the original series into the films? I suspect not but I can’t think of who else who did. If there is, I’m sure one of you will tell me who else did. (Died 2009.)
  • Born November 25, 1926 Poul Anderson. My favorite ones by him? Orion Shall Rise for the mix of a personal scale story with his usual grand political stories, and all of the Flandry and van Rijn stories. I also enjoy his Time Patrol stories as well, and the two Operation Luna tales are quite fun. Not to forget the ever so entertaining The Unicorn Trade that he wrote with his wife Karen. He was quite honored with seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards. I am told by reliable sources that Lis will reviewing all of the Flandry and van Rijn stories for us.  (Died 2001.)
  • Born November 25, 1926 Jeffrey Hunter. Best known for his role as the first Captain Christopher Pike in the original pilot episode of Star Trek and the later use of that material in “The Menagerie” episode which won a Hugo at NyCon 3.  Other genre work included Dimension 5A Witch Without A Broom, Strange Portrait (never released, no print is known to exist), Alfred Hitchcock HourJourney into Fear and The Green Hornet. Hunter suffered an intracranial hemorrhage while walking down a three-stair set of steps at his home in Van Nuys, California. He died in-hospital despite brain surgery. (Died 1969.)
  • Born November 25, 1941 Sandra Miesel, 81. She has described herself as “the world’s greatest expert” on Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson. She’s written such works as Against Time’s Arrow: The High Crusade of Poul Anderson on Borgo Books and she’s written the front and back matter for many of their books. Oh, and she was recognized early as a serious fan being nominated thrice for Hugos for her writing in zines such as Yandro and Granfalloon. She co-authored The Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children’s Fantasy with Catholic journalist and canon lawyer Pete Wer. 
  • Born November 25, 1950 Alexis Wright, 72. A Waanyi (Aboriginal Australian) writer known for winning the Miles Franklin Award for her novel Carpentaria which might well be genre. She has one definitely genre novel, The Swan Game.
  • Born November 25, 1951 Charlaine Harris, 71. She is best known for the Southern Vampire series starring Sookie Stackhouse which was adapted as True Blood. I know I’ve read several of this series and enjoyed them. She has two other series, nether genre or genre adjacent, the Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard series. 
  • Born November 25, 1953 Michael “Orange Mike” Lowrey, 69. A fan, free citizen of the ImagiNation, husband, daddy, union leader, Esperantist, wearer of orange garments, Quaker, feminist, Irishman, Mac user, Wobbly, Hordesman, Wikipedian. He’s been active in fanzines (Vojo de Vivo) and apas, the N3F, mailing lists, Usenet, social media. The 2020 TAFF delegate. Frequent Filer! 
  • Born November 25, 1974 Sarah Monette, 48. Under the pen name of Katherine Addison, she published The Goblin Emperor which garnered the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and was nominated for the NebulaHugo and World Fantasy Awards. She won the Spectrum Award in 2003 for her short story “Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland”.  Her first two novels Mélusine and The Virtu are quite wonderful and I highly recommend her Iskryne series that she co-wrote with Elizabeth Bear. 

(9) SOMETIMES THEY DO GROW WEARY. [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Shouldn’t the writer of this article realize there’s a simple solution to this so-called fatigue? Don’t watch all these series. Certainly no one is forcing anyone to do so. “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Is Answer to Marvel Fatigue” in The Hollywood Reporter.

… As the MCU continues its rapid growth, both on the big-screen and on Disney+, keeping track of back-to-back movies and weekly series has become cumbersome for some audiences. While the notion of franchise fatigue when it comes to superhero movies is as much of a non-issue as it was a decade ago, with the films consistently accounting for the most ticket sales and highest box office each year, even amidst the pandemic, the number of releases leaves little breathing room to catch up before the next thing….

(10) ANTICIPATION. A famed genre filmmaker says Avatar 2 is something we should be looking forward to: “Guillermo del Toro Reviews ‘Avatar 2’ — Raves James Cameron Is a ‘Master at the Peak of His Powers’” at Yahoo!

Critics won’t weigh-in on James Cameron’s highly anticipated “Avatar” sequel for few more weeks. But if Guillermo del Toro is to be believed, then the boundary-pushing water adventure will surely dazzle audiences and the box office come December 16.

“A staggering achievement,” del Toro tweeted on Thursday. “[‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is chockfull] of majestic Vistas and emotions at an epic, epic scale.  A master at the peak of his powers…”

That’s big praise for the director behind “Titanic,” “Aliens,” and “The Terminator,” made even more meaningful by del Toro’s own cinematic chops. The Mexican filmmaker’s most recent project — a stop-motion “Pinocchio” for Netflix — is a frontrunner for Best Animated Feature at the 95th Academy Awards. Cameron and “Avatar 2” are similarly positioned in the Oscar race for Best Visual Effects….

(11) MUST COME DOWN. “Scientists Glimpse Incoming Asteroid Just Hours Before It Makes Impact” reports MSN.com.

For just the sixth time in recorded history, astronomers managed to catch a glimpse of an asteroid before it slammed into Earth.

On 19 November 2022, nearly four hours before impact, the Catalina Sky Survey discovered an asteroid named 2022 WJ1 on an inbound trajectory. A network of telescopes and scientists sprang into action, accurately calculating exactly when and where on the globe the asteroid would fall.

This is excellent news. 2022 WJ1 was too small to do any serious damage, but its detection shows that the world’s asteroid monitoring techniques are improving, giving us a better chance of protecting ourselves from falling space rocks – the big ones that might actually do some damage….

(12) BOGUSAURUS? “Christie’s Pulls T. Rex From Auction, Citing Need for ‘Further Study’” reports the New York Times. The exact problem seems to be that it is a too much of a model specimen.

…The T. rex, which the auction house called Shen, had been billed as the first skeleton of its species to appear at auction in Asia. A Christie’s news release touted the specimen as “museum standard” and “a world-class specimen.”

But questions about the fossil were raised in recent weeks, when a lawyer for the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, a fossil company in South Dakota, reached out to Christie’s about similarities between Shen and another T. rex skeleton, named Stan, which Christie’s had sold in 2020 for a record $31.8 million.

Although Stan was auctioned off, the Black Hills Institute retained intellectual property rights on the specimen, allowing it to continue selling painted polyurethane casts of the skeleton, which are currently priced at $120,000 each.

Peter Larson, the company’s president, said in an interview that when he first saw a photo of Shen, the skeleton Christie’s was preparing to auction in Hong Kong, he noticed that the skull looked similar to Stan’s skull, including holes in the lower left jaw that Mr. Larson said were unique to Stan. Mr. Larson and his colleagues at Black Hills had examined the particularities of Stan’s bones over three decades after excavating the specimen starting in 1992.

Mr. Larson said that it appeared to him that the owner of Shen — who was not identified by Christie’s — had bought a cast of Stan from Black Hills to supplement the original bones….

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dan’l Danehy-Oakes.]

29 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/25/22 As Ghu Is My Witness, I Thought Pixels Could Scroll

  1. First!

    Happy birthday Orange Mike!

    5) Can we “turn back time” to re-create a blogosphere?
    A very good question. It may be worth the experiment

  2. Happy birthday to Orange Mike (and to both Poul Anderson and the greatest Anderson expert)

  3. Number nine — May I note that we are interacting in a most excellent blog right here?

    Now reading: Keith Laumer’s Bolo: The Annals of the Dinochrome Brigade

  4. So, I got an ad for a HopePunk Storybundle in my inbox the other day, and I must admit that I’ve never read anything by any of the authors. Can anyone here weigh in on whether or not they think this is a worthwhile purchase? I’d appreciate it.

    https://storybundle.com/hope?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=hopepunk

    In the meantime, I’m going to start reading Oor Wombat’s latest oeuvre, Illuminations, which I’m QUITE sure will be worth every penny…

  5. Lis Carey says As it happens, I do have a blog, Lis Carey’s Library, where you can not only read more of my reviews than are published here, but comment as well!

    Do check it out. As you’ve seen from her reviews here, she’s a stellar reviewer.

  6. (5) Some of us have never stopped blogging.

    Mine is here.

    (I mean, I get why people turned to Twitter and Facebook, because it’s so easy to toss off a pithy 280 words, but it’s so much better to have your own site and not be dependent on the whims of a narcissistic man-child.)

  7. Happy, I hope, birthday, Orange Mike (or should I saw Fellow Woker?)

    Amok Time – Altair VI? And, as we all know, Altair IV is Forbidden Planet.

    Blogs. I have never had, or wanted, a twitter account, being as a) I write in sentences, and even paragraphs, and b) the hostile environmen that I keep reading about. The only “social media” I`m on, faceplant, is unwillingly, and I have an author page that I post links to my website I upgraded to a blog. There, you can find posts, as opposed to FB, which every other month is broken, and when I look at it in the evening, on a real computer, I get back 4-6 hours, then it randomly scrolls with no control.

    Poul Anderson. When my editor first read my first (to be publshed) novel, 11,000 Years, he said it reminded him of Poul`s 1971 Hugo-nominated Tou Zero, and my jaw hit the floor. (Temporarily out of print, about to be picked up….)

  8. Oh I should also say that I’ve read a lot of Poul Anderson, managed to talk SFF Audio into doing a couple of novels and stories by him.

    My first Poul Anderson was THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS, thanks to, yes,. Appendix N.

  9. Paul Weimer: Once I began reading SF voraciously, Poul Anderson became my favorite writer. I read all his books in the library, and moved on to their back issues of pulps. I haunted used bookstores for out-of-print paperbacks (which often were compilations of various short series from his Fifties short fiction). I read and enjoyed the Winston P. Sanders stories, too, even before discovering that was his pseudonym. There was something in the literary DNA, to be sure.

  10. I have a special fondness for Brainwave, though I wouldn’t claim it’s his best. A lot of the Flandry series is really excellent. Three Hearts and Three Lions is a lot of fun…

    I could go on, but I’ll stop now.

  11. 8) I’m not saying it’s his best, but I really enjoyed Swordsmen from the Stars, the DMR Books collection of Poul Anderson’s early sword & planet stories.

  12. Let’s not forget that gem of a book that he and Karen did, The Unicorn Trade which starts off with her most excellent poem called “The Unicorn Trade”. It available from the usual suspects

  13. Good ol’ Poul: one of my favorite writers and a good friend too. When I was an Air Force weather officer at Cape Canaveral in the mid ’70s, I was able to arrange for him to launch a meteorological rocket from the Cape, which he enjoyed greatly. (I did the same for Gordy Dickson and Bob Tucker, among others, but alas! Arthur Clarke’s schedule when he visited the Cape didn’t allow me to arrange a launch for him.)

    And good ol’ Sandra Miesel too: a delightful person, an excellent writer (IIRC she tuckerized me once), a true fan, and a perceptive critic. Happy Birthday to her!

  14. RE #5, I agree wholeheartedly. Not only do you have complete creative control over a site you craft yourself, but you have the ability to show it either openly on the web, or by word of mouth to those you want to be able to see it (and block it on web browsers, and prevent photo theft by way of Google Images).

    Here’s one of mine:
    thepacificoceanspeaksforitself.com

    Google can’t search the string, and entering “the pacific ocean speaks for itself” won’t pull the site up or list it in search results.

  15. 10) Obviously, Guillermo and James have something very “watery” going on and I think everyone should just back off and let them be.

    5) Amazing Stories online is a multi-author blog

    I might just go and resurrect The Crotchety Old Fan blog, Ghu knows there’s more than enough to complain about.

  16. 12) claiming intellectual property rights on a skeleton is a fun idea to explore. Like, does the meat popsicle surrounding the skeleton need to be deceased? Can you claim IP rights on anyone’s skeleton, or only those left unclaimed? Etc…

  17. @John Winkleman–You seem to be missing the point that their model of Stan is being used to make the the T. Rex being auctioned appear far more complete than it is, including the skull which is verifiably Stan’s from their model.

    Whatever you think of the intellectual property claim, this is fraud.

  18. —–Firstly indeed M H returns to Orange Mike! We had him recently in Europe in 2022 at both Luxcon/Eurocon (April) and one week later at UK Eastercon/Reclamation/Heathrow. —–Secondly it IS nice to now see some SF&F activity in Pakistan! We already have an annual event in next door India: my long-term idea of an “Asiacon” (akin to the long running –from 1972– Eurocons) may yet emerge. Remember we already have SF activity in Japan, Korea (S), Taiwan and of course in China (PR). At present only the Eurocon exists an established, down-one-level (ie regional), event-from the annual Worldcons (and in a way Eurocon is Worldcon’s “little brother”). It would nice to see such a (2nd) regional SF event finally establish itself -tho Asia is a much larger and much more diverse area than Europe. (I’m a past Chair of ESFS-the Eurocon governing body.)

  19. (7) My favorite part of that episode is when T’Pring explains her logic (Warning, potential spoilers):

    SPOCK: T’Pring. Explain.
    T’PRING: Specify.
    SPOCK: Why the challenge, and why you chose my captain as your champion.
    T’PRING: Stonn wanted me, I wanted him.
    SPOCK: I see no logic in preferring Stonn over me.
    T’PRING: You have become much known among our people, Spock. Almost a legend. And as the years went by, I came to know that I did not want to be the consort of a legend. But by the laws of our people, I could only divorce you by the kal-if-fee. There was also Stonn, who wanted very much to be my consort, and I wanted him. If your Captain were victor, he would not want me, and so I would have Stonn. If you were victor you would free me because I had dared to challenge, and again I would have Stonn. But if you did not free me, it would be the same. For you would be gone, and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be there.
    SPOCK: Logical. Flawlessly logical.
    T’PRING: I am honoured.
    SPOCK: Stonn. She is yours. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.

  20. I killed most of the posts on my blog because I was going through identity revision while wrestling with my personal branding, which is now skewed toward “gloomy and mysterious” as opposed to “let’s see if oversharing gets clicks.” I was putting my NaNoWriMo there until it got too unwieldy (nearly 30k by now, fistpump). I’ve always liked the idea of keeping one’s scribblings on one’s own platform, now that I’m seeing so much Twitter archiving going on. I’m still nominally there but only with respect to a couple of fandoms where we’re clutching each other and sharing IG/Tumblr tags before the Titanic sticks her tail in the air.

  21. “Fare thee well, Titanic, fare thee well…” (Lyric from an old favorite on Doctor Demento.)

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