Pixel Scroll 11/10/16 I Grow Old… I Grow Old… I Shall Wear The Bottoms Of My Pixels Scrolled


(1) PLAY ALONG AT HOME. The National Toy Hall of Fame has three additions:

Fisher-Price Little People, the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and the simple swing are now in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

The list of 12 finalists for this year’s honors had included bubble wrap, Care Bears, Clue, the coloring book, Nerf ball, pinball, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Transformers and Uno.

…When it emerged in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons was groundbreaking, says curator Nic Ricketts of The Strong. In addition to its own merits, the game created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson established a pattern for how similar role-playing games might work — both on table-tops and, eventually, on computers and other devices.

As Ricketts says, the game’s mechanics “lent themselves to computer applications, and it had a direct impact on hugely successful electronic games like World of Warcraft.”

(2) VISUALIZATION. Nancy Jane Moore tells “Why Fiction Matters” at Book View Café.

I’ve had several conversations with fiction writers lately on what we should be doing about climate change, the election, and other important concerns of the day. My immediate response was that now, more than ever, they should write.

They dismissed that advice. I got the feeling they thought of fiction as a luxury or even an irrelevance at the current time, even though they’re very fine fiction writers. But I wasn’t advising them to indulge themselves or escape into their work.

I really believe that fiction – telling stories – is one of the most important things we do as human beings. I believe that because reading fiction is one of the things that made me who I am today.

Stories matter. One of the most comforting items in my Facebook feed on Wednesday – and I saw it in more than one place – was a few lines from Lord of the Rings:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

That’s fantasy, the supposedly “escapist” literature.

Now I wasn’t telling my fellow writers to write to the exclusion of everything else that needs doing. Other things also matter. Politics matters, despite our habit in the U.S. of disparaging it. We need good people to run for office and work on campaigns, because it’s hard to get anything done when the people in power are stacked against you.

Activism matters. We need the people who mass in the streets because Black Lives Matter and those who block pipelines. We also need those who are creating new structures – those building the worker co-ops and social justice entrepreneur programs.

Most of all we need a vision, so that we can see where we’re going. And that brings me back to fiction, because stories can give us vision.

(3) SEFTON OBIT. Amelia (Amy) Sefton died November 9 from cancer and other medical problems.

She was familiar to some fans for going in costume as Madame Ovary.

This summer she was named designer in Tor’s the ad/promo department. (Corrected November 12).

She was formerly married to Connor Cochran. She was later married to writer James Kilius, who preceded her in death in 2008.

(4) REMEMBERING PAUL CALLE. Paul Calle (1928-2010), was a commercial artist renowned as a stamp designer. His most famous stamp, issued in 1969, commemorated the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Early in his career, Mr. Calle did cover artwork for science-fiction pulp magazines like Galaxy, Fantasy Fiction and Super Science Stories, as well as for general-interest publications like The Saturday Evening Post.

In 1962, he was among the inaugural group of artists chosen for the NASA Art Program, a documentary record of the space program that has produced thousands of works to date. Mr. Calle’s early art for the program includes a pair of 5-cent stamps, issued in 1967, depicting the Gemini capsule and the astronaut Ed White making the first American spacewalk in 1965.

On July 16, 1969, the day Apollo 11 was launched, Mr. Calle was the only artist allowed to observe the astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, as they readied themselves for the mission — eating breakfast, donning their spacesuits and the like. He captured their preparations in a series of intimate pen-and-ink sketches later exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum.

You can find Calle’s SF cover art here.


  • Born November 10, 1960 – Neil Gaiman

(6) MARRY A MARIONETTE. “Faren Miller reviews Keith Donohue” at Locus Online.

Keith Donahue’s The Motion of Puppets opens with a bold statement from the heroine’s perspective: ‘‘She fell in love with a puppet.’’ Kay Harper loves the ancient thing – body ‘‘hewn from a single piece of poplar,’’ simple limbs designed for lost connections, ‘‘pierced at the hands and feet’’ – not just for its beauty and rarity but ‘‘because he could not be hers.’’ Note those dueling pronouns: what would be it to most observers is he for both the woman and (less ardently) for the author of this novel where some objects are very much alive. Keith Donohue’s modern take on old myths and fairy tales brings sentient puppets closer than Kay could ever imagine, when she becomes one herself.

Though the metamorphosis was unintended, and doesn’t lead to Ovidian antics, it’s still a kind of betrayal, since she leaves a bewildered human husband, Theo.

(7) TAKE DOWN THE INTERNET. David Brin is already moving on to the next disaster — “Shining light on cyber-secrets”.

Okay then, here’s a worrisome note:  Someone is preparing a BIG attack on the Internet: “Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet,” according to a blog post by security expert Bruce Schneier:

“These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. It feels like a nation’s military cyber-command trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar.”  Who might do this? “The size and scale of these probes — and especially their persistence — point to state actors. … China or Russia would be my first guesses.” Among my list of Proposals for the new administration, that I’ll issue in January, is to tell all citizens that their computers and printers etc may serve as botnet hosts, and that every person will share in tort liability for any major Net Disaster, unless they have at least tried, twice a year, to download a reputable anti-malware program.

(8) CLIMATE CHANGE. Ashley R. Pollard reviews some movies screening in the UK in her post for Galactic Journey: “[November 10, 1961] Earth On Fire (UK Sci-Fi Report).

The Day the Earth Caught Fire stars Edward Judd, Leo McKern and Janet Munro and starts in a most striking manner with Judd’s character walking in sweltering heat through the deserted streets of London.  The story then flashes back to how it all began when both the Americans and Russian simultaneously exploded atomic bombs at the Earth’s poles.  This caused both the axial tilt to change and also shifted our planet in its orbit around the Sun.

(9) THE GOOD OLD DAYS. And if you ever wondered whether the good old days were actually any good, try these antique newzines  – Fanac.org is scanning and posting old issues of File 770 and Andrew Porter’s Science Fiction Chronicle.

(10) STFNAL TIME TRAVEL. In “Can We Escape From Time?” by John Lanchester, on the New York Review of Books website, Lanchester uses his review of James Gleick’s book on time travel to give an overview of how sf authors, including Wells and Heinlein, have examined the time-travel theme in their works.

James Gleick’s illuminating and entertaining Time Travel is about one of these once-new stories. We have grown very used to the idea of time travel, as explored and exploited in so many movies and TV series and so much fiction. Although it feels like it’s been around forever, it isn’t an ancient archetypal story but a newborn myth, created by H.G. Wells in his 1895 novel The Time Machine. To put it another way, time travel is two years older than Dracula, and eight years younger than Sherlock Holmes. The very term “time travel” is a back-formation from the unnamed principal character of the story, whom Wells calls “the Time Traveller.” The new idea caught on so quickly that it was appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary by 1914.

Wells is described by Gleick as “a thoroughly modern man, a believer in socialism, free love, and bicycles.” He was a serious thinker in his own way, forceful and coarse-grained, but the invention of the time machine wasn’t one of his deep philosophical conceptions. It was instead a narrative device for a story with two cruxes, one of them political-philosophical and the other imaginative. Its main argumentative point comes when Wells travels to the far future and finds that humanity has evolved into two different species, the brutish, underground-dwelling Morlocks and the etiolated, effete, surface-living Eloi. This, Wells implies, is what could happen if current trends toward inequality continue unchecked.

This was an argument worth making in 1895, and worth being reminded of today, but it’s not what most readers remember from The Time Machine. Instead, as Gleick points out, the abiding memory of the story comes from the Traveller’s journey to the final days of the earth, the dark and cold and silent stillness of the dying planet circling the dying sun. It is an atheist’s unforgettable vision of the absoluteness of death.

(11) BACK TO THE BANG. Christopher Lloyd will make a guest appearance on the Big Bang Theory episode airing December 1.

No specifics on the actor’s role were revealed, with the series producers only saying: “We’re so excited to be working with Christopher Lloyd, and think we’ve created a fun part that fans will really enjoy.”

In addition to The Big Bang Theory, Lloyd is set to make an appearance during Season 3 of the Syfy series 12 Monkeys.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Warner Bros. TV and CBS are currently at work on a spinoff/prequel of The Big Bang Theory. Jim Parsons is executive producing the series, which will center around a young Sheldon Cooper.

(12) SPACE BUSINESS. “Full Ariane 6 rocket funding is unlocked by ESA” reports the BBC.

The final tranche of R&D funding needed to introduce a new rocket for Europe was committed on Wednesday.

The European Space Agency has amended an August 2015 contract with Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), to unlock a further €1.7bn (£1.5bn; $1.9bn).

It tops up initial monies of €680m and means ASL can now complete development of the Ariane 6.

This new rocket will replace the Ariane 5 but, crucially, aims to cut current launch prices in half.

The move to a new vehicle is seen as vital if Europe is to maintain its competitive position.

The Ariane 5 is still the dominant player in the market for big commercial satellite launches, but this position is being challenged by a new wave of American offerings, in particular from the California SpaceX company

(13) HIT THE DECK. A piece on the Seattle Times website by Jayson Jenks called “Seahawks’ Cassius Marsh Has $26,000 in Magic: The Gathering Cards Stolen from His Car” says the Seahawks’ defensive end had someone break into his car and steal two backpacks with his iPad and $20,000 in Magic:  The Gathering cards, and if the thief returns them, he gets two tickets to the next Seahawks home game, no questions asked.

(14) DAVE KYLE ART FOR SALE. Dave Kyle original pulp magazine Illustration artwork is going under the hammer at Live Auctioneers. This example is the original artwork published April 1942 in Future Combined with Science Fiction.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Taral, Andrew Porter, and Martin Morse Wooster, for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cally.]

112 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/10/16 I Grow Old… I Grow Old… I Shall Wear The Bottoms Of My Pixels Scrolled

  1. In other news, on Wednesday to get some glimmer of hope I signed and sent off the contract to publish my first novel, in Italian. It’s coming out sometime in January, so if any of you read Italian…

  2. Kip W on November 11, 2016 at 5:02 am said:
    Don’t you mean the 20th, or am I missing something?

    Mike, I’m not surprised that rats can enjoy stuff – I’d just never thought to try tickling them. (A well-socialized rat – you may remember Masterson – is very much like a cat.)

  3. Hampus, all due respect, but you’ve apparently bought the voluntary refugee’s lies about their origins and their purposes. One has to go back to the roman era to find a “land” named Palestina, and Israel existed quite some time before the Romans came along.

    The settlements are Israel’s negotiating tool. If the so-called Palestinians continue to be unable to control their people and their politics, there is no negotiating partner and eventually their so-called “lands” will no longer be available. If they came to the table, dropped their insistence that Israel be wiped from the face of the Earth and accepted the actual history of the conflict, maybe the settlement building would only take place within defined, agreed upon borders.

    Until that happens, settlements will continue to be built (legal or “otherwise”) and the Palestinians will continue to suffer from their own bad decisions.

  4. If the so-called Palestinians

    Do you want me to lend you some oil to throw on those flames? Do we really need to have this conversation in these terms right here, right now?

  5. Iphinome: They didn’t until November 8’th when it turned out that they’re the more intelligent species. Now they find the whole thing very funny.

    Douglas Adams told us so, didn’t he.

  6. Attn Greg, my December Asimovs has appeared on my kindle today, so hopefully yours has as well?

  7. To lighten the mood a bit, I was flipping through channels last night and noticed the description on an episode of Andy Griffith: “Barney gets bent when the choral director gives Gomer the solo instead of him for an upcoming concert.” Now obviously there is an “out of shape” missing there, but if you take it as written, there is no interpretation that is not hilarious.

    (Also, I see that it isn’t my local station’s fault.)

  8. I’d be hesitant to call the rat’s reaction “giggling”–that seems to be hasty anthropomorphization. But if it is controlled by the same mechanism, there is a more profound meaning–if both humans and rats can giggle, then the last common ancestor of humans and rats was a giggler, as are all species descended from that last common ancestor. (Unless there is convergent evolution.)

    A well-socialized rat – you may remember Masterson – is very much like a cat.

    Okay, Rat Masterson? Did you also have Hopalong Cassowary and Billy the Kid?

  9. I regard zebras as evidence of a sense of humour in the universe. They’re so beautiful and *unlikely*. Zebra trivia: the skin is uniformly soot black beneath the stripes. If you shaved a zebra, you’d get a small, bald, indignant black horse. Also zebras are super flatulent. Worse than cows. Exquisite to look at but don’t light a match. I always think of this when reading Dark Lord of Derkholme. Maybe the elven Prince didn’t have a sense of smell?

  10. Steve Davidson:

    You can say whatever weird stuff and fantasies you want. What is interesting is that Israel occupies Palestine. According to Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, The Red Crescent, US, EU, UN and so on. That the International Court of Justice has concluded that the settlements are war crimes.

    And that’s it. You might have other opinions than these countries and organizations, but you have to excuse me when I don’t really think your opinions are interesting by comparison.

  11. As to rats, my pet Rat certainly enjoyed having his armpits tickled. He would lie back and lift his front paws in invitation.

  12. Except that the whole series and the world of Mayberry was about mentally challenged clodhoppers with voices I could never cease cringing from.

    To each his own. If I was forced to choose one fictional setting in which I was forced to live, Mayberry would be near the top. (I’m excluding SF locations because most of them involve war at some point. Which is fun to read about, but for real life, give me a slow night on a porch swing.)

  13. Doctor Men!

    “Two well-loved perennial British favourites, Doctor Who and the Mr Men, are coming together in an official mash-up inspired by online fan art.”

    Pre-orders at Amazon UK…

  14. Lis : these are people taking all of Trump’s “promises” at face value. There is (or was announced) a KKK victory rally in North Carolina. His Fraudulency is not bothering to nay say these kinds of developments.

  15. @Robert– Yes. He’s giving no support at all to those assuring us we have nothing to worry about, but the problem is apparently that Democrats aren’t tak8ng his secret good intentions on blind faith.

  16. @Kendell just finished the Tor collection 5(after I quite liked no 4). I didnt like the Remic either. I really enjoyed the Ballad of black Tom, but the last story was to fluffy for me. Perhaps it was my mood, but Im getting tired of Trekish Space opera unless its very tight or funny. And it was neither (not bad, but just, yeah, to fluffy)

  17. (1) I enjoyed all of those in my youth (that’s even the D&D book I first used). Swings are fun, and those Little People are indestructible. When the cockroaches inherit the earth (might be sooner than we thought), let’s hope they enjoy playing with them.

    @Anna: Congratulazioni! Complimenti! I’ll have to wait till the English version.

    @Anthony: cute!

    I enjoyed the new Penric story, but it’s not as good as “Shaman”. It kind of … rambles. Beware: on Kindle, it ends at 93% and the rest is about her other works. I turned the page and went “wait what, that was it?” and went back. The ending, it is stuck weakly. It shan’t make my nominations.

  18. @Anthony

    Oh excellent!

    I anticipate the next fannish argument will be “he’s not called Mr Tickle, he’s just The Mister”

  19. @Lis Carey:

    That is fucking despicable, which is pretty much what I expect from the Daily Stormer.

    I wish I could tell everyone on that list that they are valuable and worthwhile.

    (I saw your post last night about your fear and anger and sadness. I hear you and wanted to validate that. You are also valuable and worthwhile.)

  20. We’ve known about rats being ticklish (and enjoying being tickled) for quite a while. Here’s an article with video from 2010:

    Rats Laugh When You Tickle Them.

    It was extremely cute then, and it’s extremely cute now!

    Here’s another one, from Wired back in 2013, which suggests that the earliest research on tickling rats dates back to the late 1990s.

    Tickling Rats for Science.

    I’m not entirely sure why this is making the rounds again as if it were news, but the cuteness of the various videos certainly makes it worth recirculating! 🙂

  21. Darren Garrison on November 11, 2016 at 10:48 am said:

    If I was forced to choose one fictional setting in which I was forced to live,

    Me, I’d go for the world of John Crowley’s ENGINE SUMMER (per the majority of the book, not that of the framing bits, which we don’t really know enough about).

  22. As an antidote to all the badness of the week (year), I recommend SJW signifiers!

    First off, PBS’ Nature did a two-parter on “The Story of Cats”, which you can stream in the US or probably catch reruns of on your PBS station.


    (I did not know that cheetahs first evolved in North America!)

    Secondly, a live stream 24/7 of kittens.


    (Right now they’re having cable company problems, but they shall return with KITTENS. So bookmark.)

  23. steve davidson on November 11, 2016 at 9:11 am said:

    Hampus, all due respect, but you’ve apparently bought the voluntary refugee’s lies about their origins and their purposes. One has to go back to the roman era to find a “land” named Palestina, and Israel existed quite some time before the Romans came along.

    The settlements are Israel’s negotiating tool. If the so-called Palestinians continue to be unable to control their people and their politics, there is no negotiating partner and eventually their so-called “lands” will no longer be available.

    What nonsense.

    Seriously? You are going to trot out the natives-are-children-and-must-be-taught-harsh-lessons line?

    Here is a handy hint:
    Pick a historical colonial situation that you think was wrong. There is no shortage of them to choose from. Check to see if you are making the kind of arguments that apologists for the colonial power did at that time. If you are (and odds are you will be) then yes, you really are making the kind of appallingly racist argument that fosters genocide.

  24. @lurkertype
    The pronghorn antelope of the Western US evolved its own considerable speed and endurance to try and deal with the then-native cheetah population. Now that North American cheetahs are extinct, they are “over engineered” compared to the speed of any of the native predators (e.g. wolves) left.

    My late friend Scott and I used to joke that the antelope are just being wary and waiting, keeping their skills honed, just knowing that those darned cheetahs would be back someday, and they’d be ready.

  25. @ Darren: I’ve heard “get bent” used as a shortened version of “get bent out of shape” for decades. Apparently I’m not the only one. 🙂

  26. The latest issue of Mothership Zeta is both fun and funny, just like the previous issues were. They are now eligible as a semi pro, incidentally. It’s not as spectacular a debut year as Uncanny had, but it’s still been an excellent addition to my subs list. Unfortunately they have one more issue ready and then are going on hiatus while they figure out funding issues, which is disappointing news.

  27. As an historian I must point out that ‘Palestine’ as a pre-modern political entity existed until the Seljuks took control of the area from the Abbasids in the late 10th century.

    The rumor that Hadrian had selected the name, as a replacement for Judea, from an ancient Etruscan phrase meaning “oh no not this shit again” is highly disputed.

    More importantly, The Time Machine was published 7 years after Enrique Gaspar’s El Anacronópete … which is a much, much cooler name for an apparatus of chronological displacement methinks.

  28. Camestros Felapton: I guess when the word got out in the forest — “I ate a red squirrel, and now important parts are dropping off!” — a lot of predators took them off the menu.

  29. I knew Amy Sefton briefly in the ’70s when she and her then husband, Freff, lived in Arlington, Virginia for a short time. She was a fascinating woman who I wish I had had the chance to know better. It’s a real shame.

    I’d heard that she had married Jim Kilius, but I was totally unaware that he had passed away, as well, so this was a double blow. Jim was one of my earliest patrons. He commissioned three color pieces from me — the most anybody has ever commissioned. He was a great guy, too. Funny, odd and, obviously, had great taste in silly artwork. Bless them both. This week just gets bleaker every day.

  30. Hi, for a change from politics, I have a friend who was just asked to write a review for the New York Review of Science Fiction. Can anyone tell us anything about them? Are they reputable?

    They were offered $10 and 4 issues plus a print copy. Is this a normal payment for a review?

  31. Rose, I can’t speak about payment terms, but the NYRSF was David G. Hartwell’s baby, and has a reputation for excellence

  32. Rose Embolism: If you run a search for New York Review of Science Fiction here you’ll see it gets a lot of coverage. However, I don’t know what is market rate for a review.

  33. Meredith on November 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm said:

    Because red squirrels weren’t having a tough enough time already?

    Mike Glyer on November 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton: I guess when the word got out in the forest — “I ate a red squirrel, and now important parts are dropping off!” — a lot of predators took them off the menu.

    I had been under the impression that only humans and armadillos got leprosy. e.g. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2011/04/28/leave-the-armadillos-alone-theyre-the-only-animal-that-can-give-you-leprosy/#.WCZfLNxzSb8

    Armadillos are known to carry leprosy—in fact, they are the only wild animals other than humans upon which the picky M. leprae can stand to live—and scientists suspected that these anomalous cases were due to contact with the little armored tootsie rolls. But it was hard to prove as long as both humans and armadillos were carrying fairly generic, readily available strains of the bacteria—strains that could have come from anywhere

    Now I discover it was lies, terrible, terrible lies.

  34. @Camestros–I’m hoping you pass the warning on to Timothy. I don’t know if the cats in my neighborhood manage to catch any squirrels, but the squirrels don’t seem to be taking chances in that direction.

  35. Nancy Sauer on November 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm said:

    @Camestros–I’m hoping you pass the warning on to Timothy. I don’t know if the cats in my neighborhood manage to catch any squirrels, but the squirrels don’t seem to be taking chances in that direction.

    I suspect it was him who tipped off the BBC

  36. I just realised that when SF fandom was faced with a ludicrously racist and sexist threat, it came together and voted it down so hard there are still convention centers pinging with the thud.

    America, not so much (nor Britain and other parts of the mundane world I could name).

    I don’t know if this makes me very proud or very sad or both.

  37. @Paul (jvstin): Exactly the example they used, only starting with shots of pronghorn and asking “how come they run so fast when coyotes and wolves don’t?”

    @Anna: It is a proud and lonely thing to be a fan.

    Red squirrels: just furrier rats, minus the giggling, plus the leprosy.

  38. Whoops –

    @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

    Gratz! I don’t read Italian unfortunately, but let me know if it gets translated. 🙂

  39. @Mark: Thanks, and I’m glad it’s not just me. I started listening again, then realized I really hadn’t absorbed enough and just wasn’t interested. I feel guilty (not giving it enough of a chance), but I’m dropping it without prejudice; I’m willing to try something else of his.

    @Peer: I just started The Ballad of Black Tom by LaValle and I’m liking it quite nicely so far. I’m listening to the audiobook of “Season 2,” so I have 5 more stories after this. I’m not sure if the space opera you’re referring to is coming up – Underwood’s The Absconded Ambassador? If it’s that one, I have to say I haven’t thrilled with the first “Genrenauts” story.

    @Arifel & @DMS: Aha, for my print reading at the moment, I should switch to Becky Chambers. I’m reading Timothy S. Johnston’s The Void (well, when I can finally pick it up again this weekend), which started out very gruesome and I know will be dark. That’s fine, but maybe I could use something lighter. 🙂

    @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: Congratulations! I don’t read Italian, unfortunately, but I’m happy for you.

    @lurkertype: Cockroaches playing D&D – the mind boggles. 😀 Also: Thanks for the Kitten Academy link!

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