Pixel Scroll 1/11/16 Pixels For Nothin’ And Your Scrolls For Free

(1) GALLO WINS ART DIRECTOR AWARD. The Society of Illustrators has named Irene Gallo the recipient of the 2016 Richard Gangel Art Director Award. The linked site includes a wide range of examples.

Society of Illustrators

Society of Illustrators

The Richard Gangel Art Director award was established in 2005 to honor art directors currently working in the field who have supported and advanced the art of illustration…

Irene Gallo is the Associate Publisher at Tor.com and the Creative Director at Tor Books.  She has art directed countless illustrators and her work has received numerous awards, including this year’s Gold Medal winning image by Sam Weber for The Language of Knives.

Gallo’s shared her reaction in a four-part tweet.

(2) WIBBLY-WOBBLY MUSIC. Open Culture tells “The Fascinating Story of How Delia Derbyshire Created the Original Doctor Who Theme”.

What we learn from them is fascinating, considering that compositions like this are now created in powerful computer systems with dozens of separate tracks and digital effects. The Doctor Who theme, on the other hand, recorded in 1963, was made even before basic analog synthesizers came into use. “There are no musicians,” says Mills, “there are no synthesizers, and in those days, we didn’t even have a 2-track or a stereo machine, it was always mono.” (Despite popular misconceptions, the theme does not feature a Theremin.) Derbyshire confirms; each and every part of the song “was constructed on quarter-inch mono tape,” she says, “inch by inch by inch,” using such recording techniques as “filtered white noise” and something called a “wobbulator.” How were all of these painstakingly constructed individual parts combined without multi track technology? “We created three separate tapes,” Derbyshire explains, “put them onto three machines and stood next to them and said “Ready, steady, go!” and pushed all the ‘start’ buttons at once. It seemed to work.”

(3) SPACESHIP SALESMAN. Interviewer Lauren Samer learned “John Scalzi Thinks Nerd Gatekeeping Is Complete Nonsense”, posted at Inverse.

[John Scalzi] Science fiction and fantasy is becoming more diverse in who writes it and what is represented — and I, for the life of me, cannot see what the problem is. I mean, come on. I write meat-and-potatoes classic science fiction. I’ve got spaceships, I’ve got lasers, I’ve got aliens. To suggest that there’s not a market for that type of science fiction is absolutely ridiculous. I’m doing great!

It just also happens that there’s lots of other cool stuff out there that is not like the sort of stuff that I write, and I think that’s great. Not everybody is going to be interested in the stuff I write — and not everybody should be. There should be science fiction and fantasy of all genres. It should be as inclusive as possible about the possibilities of the future and the possibility of alternate worlds and alternate setups. Otherwise, it’s fundamentally missing the point of what science fiction and fantasy can achieve.

(4) PACIFIC RIM 2 IS FEELING BETTER. No sooner did I relay the news that there would be no Pacific Rim sequel than its director, Guillermo del Toro, took to Twitter with this reassurance —

(5) PAY IT FORWARD. Kevin Standlee asks for help finding European references to the Hugo.

The WSFS Mark Protection Committee is assembling citations of usage of The Hugo Award in Europe (including the UK) in support of our application for registering it as a service mark in the EU. Things that could be useful include mentions of a being a Hugo Award winner (or nominee) on the cover of a work published within the EU and references to the Hugo Awards in EU-based publications, including fanzines. Mentions in non-EU publications aren’t as useful, because we’re working on backing the claim that The Hugo Award has been used in Europe for a long time. British references are just fine; the UK is part of the EU.

If you have material you think might be useful for this, write to Linda Deneroff ([email protected]), Secretary of the WSFS MPC. She’ll let you know how to get the material to her for our compilation.

(6) CLASSIC SF RERUNS. In the middle of 2015 the Comet TV network came into existence. It specializes in showing old sf TV episodes, and selected movies. Among its offerings is my childhood favorite – Men Into Space, which was on the air for one season in 1959.

According to Wikipedia, Comet has affiliation agreements with television stations in 78 media markets encompassing 33 states and the District of Columbia. The nearest station to me airing this content is KDOC in Orange County.


(7) BOWIE TRIBUTE 1. Molly Lewis and Marian Call (both singers of nerdy songs and frequent performers at Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage and Paul and Storm’s W00tstock variety show) cover “Space Oddity,” but only using the thousand most common words in the style of Randall Munroe’s Up Goer 5 and Thing Explainer:

(8) BOWIE TRIBUTE 2. Laurel and Hardy dance to “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie.

(9) CLOTHING THE IMAGINATION. Ferrett Steinmetz does not miss George Lucas’ input to the franchise, for reasons explained in “A Brief Discussion of Star Wars Costumes”.

So I was thinking about the lack of imagination in the prequels versus the Force Awakens.  And some of that’s evident in the costumes.

Because I just saw a picture of Obi-Wan… and he’s wearing basically the same outfit in the prequels that he wears in A New Hope.  Which implies that Obi-Wan basically has dressed the same for, well, his entire fucking life.  He retreated to Tatooine as part of a secret mission, wearing what are clearly fucking Jedi robes in retrospect, and Lucas didn’t care because, well, the characters weren’t what he cared about.

How ridiculous is it that someone would wear the same outfit for seventy years if he wasn’t some sort of bizarre cartoon character or performer?  Especially if he went into hiding?

(10) KICKER PUPPY. Joe Vasicek’s headline says “George R.R. Martin may not be your bitch, but I am”, however, this is not exactly an exercise in humility.

This discussion is not new, even with regard to Mr. Martin. Way back in 2009, Neil Gaiman addressed this issue in a blog post where he stated quite memorably that “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch”:

People are not machines. Writers and artists aren’t machines.

You’re complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him: that you would pay over your ten dollars, and George for his part would spend every waking hour until the series was done, writing the rest of the books for you.

No such contract existed. You were paying your ten dollars for the book you were reading, and I assume that you enjoyed it because you want to know what happens next.

So that’s one end of the spectrum: that writing is an art, that it can’t be forced, that trying to force it is wrong, and that writers have no obligation to their readers to force anything. …

So George R.R. Martin may not be your bitch, but I most certainly am. Writing is not something that happens only sometimes: it’s my job, and I do it every day. And as for accountability, I absolutely feel that I’m accountable to my readers. They are the whole reason I am able to do this in the first place. If that makes me their bitch, then so be it.

(11) SAD MUPPETS 4. The start of a groundswell?

(12) WALTZING POTATO. They’re called YouTubers, and I’d bet 98% of them never hear the intrinsic pun. UPI reports — “YouTuber builds 6000 piece Star Wars AT-AT from Legos”.

[Charlie of the BrickVault channel,] a Lego-loving YouTuber followed instructions posted online to build a more than 6,000-piece Star Wars AT-AT in 26 hours and posted time-lapse footage online….

The BrickVault team said it took thousands of dollars to procure all of the supplies from website BrickLink, far more than the $218.99 price tag for Lego’s official 1,137-piece AT-AT kit.


(12) BUT CAN YOU TUNA FISH? This has been rightly captioned a “Bizarre Star Wars Japanese Commercial.” Aired in 1978, it shows galactic peace being achieved with canned tuna fish.

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, Steven H Silver, James H. Burns, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Wendy Gale, and Lorcan Nagle for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]

164 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/11/16 Pixels For Nothin’ And Your Scrolls For Free

  1. @RedWombat on January 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm said:

    I get a little squeamish about anything that seems to imply “Your work method is bad, or at least mine is better/morally superior/more accountable/whatever.”

    Me too. It’s yet another species of “if everybody JUST did things my way…” or “why don’t you JUST…” One of the things writers have to do is learn to respect their OWN creative process, whatever it is.

    @TheYoungPretender on January 12, 2016 at 4:29 pm said:

    Why is Vasicek criticizing Martin? Reading the Puppies material last spring I get the feeling that sales and monetary success were the sole feature of judging literature, making Correia’s superior to all this horrible lit fic no-one read. By his own standards, isn’t Vasciek being some horrible Marxist by criticizing GRRM, someone the market has awarded with money and sales?

    I had the same thought when Correia was picking on Stephen King. You know, I expect that sort of thing from Lit-ra-chure snobs, but coming from a self-styled populist it seemed weird.

    I think everything in Puppyland is in code. “Popular” doesn’t mean broadly popular, it means, “you, my devoted fans, want to read it a whole bunch.” “Message fiction” means “fiction that does not flatter your own biases, my loyal fans.” “The Hugos are broken” means “the Hugos do not award the kinds of books I write, which you love above all else, o fans of mine.” Etc.

  2. @McJulie
    Your last paragraph is dead on (which is universally accepted code for “I agree”). There’s a belief, off in some direction, that passion should count more than numbers when making nominally democratic decisions. Back in an earlier college career I wrote about how to weight votes so that people who cared more mattered more than those who didn’t.

    Should it be how hard you grip a lever on the voting machine? This favors the strong. Should it be how many times you can stab the button? This favors the repetitive. How about how long you can hold onto an electrified handle? I’m not sure at this remove just how silly they got, but I remain somewhat proud of this reductio.

    Ultimately, they’re all ways to try and stack the deck for your in-group, and that brings us back to what you already said, so my job is done here. (Hops onto high horse and gallops off into a conveniently unlikely sunset.)

  3. @Cat

    Wishing Vasicek the kind of readership that GRRM has would be doing Vasicek no favors unless Vasicek writes as well as GRRM does. Do you think he’s that good?

    I have no clue about the quality of his fiction. I’ve been to his blog a few times and enjoyed his postings.

    However, I’m backed up on my reading list and I’m hesitant to get into another author. As he had a short story for free on Kindle, I did grab that to give him a shot.

    Last year’s Hugos showed what comes of having large numbers of people read stories that are playing out of their league.

    I’m missing something here.

    The readers voting for the Hugos in 2015 were defective because they were not up to reading/comprehending the nominees?


  4. The readers voting for the Hugos in 2015 were defective because they were not up to reading/comprehending the nominees?

    The stories were the ones playing out of their league. They, by and large, just weren’t good enough for the stage they were placed upon.

  5. @Dann

    You are quite right – the voters for the 2015 Hugos were quite capable of reading and appreciating the fiction in the Hugo packet.

    It’s why so many of us No Awarded several of the short fiction and other categories. Because the nominated works were just bad, bad, bad.

  6. I believe Dann also put No Award over quite a few Puppy nominees. Maybe best to make sure comments addressed to him are addressed to him rather than generic-Puppy-supporter-representative.

    I read the free thingy available from Vasicek, and while the prose is reasonably competent (better than most of the Puppy nominees of 2015) and there was some decent if sketched-out world-building (which is fine for short fiction), the set-up seemed to be essentially there to support wish-fulfillment of wanting a girl who barely speaks, can’t speak your language anyway (but she learns some words by the end, he doesn’t *eyeroll*), wants to feed you, create nice dreams for you, have sex with you, has no power in the situation whatsoever (but you’re sooo nice you won’t abuse that), and little to no effort required on your part. There wasn’t a plot to speak of; it was basically a character piece (nothing necessarily wrong with that, although it helps if you like the character and I didn’t). Nothing new or exciting about it. It also felt pretty negative about religion, so while YMMV I wasn’t too thrilled with that aspect. Perhaps the sequels are better, but it didn’t leave me with a desire to pay money for them.

    If something of his is recommended in future I’ll check it out – it was very early work and he could improve – but in the mean time he isn’t going onto my watchlist. Shame, I wanted to like it.

  7. @Meredith I’ve also downloaded 2 of Joe Vasicek free pieces. I haven’t read either yet but I did read all the 3 star reviews for both as is my habit. As a reader of a lot of indie fiction my advice to him based on the reviews is he might want to do as I’ve seen a number of other prolific indie authors have done & revise his freebie work as a number of the complaints were around inconsistencies with the male protagonist. Those indie authors I follow add, in bold, to the description “revised and edited on X date” so new possible readers know why reviews might differ widely.

    The point of permanent freebie work is to interest readers enough to get them to buy your later work. If he weren’t such an annoying advice giver and commenter on Passive Guy and linked articles here I wouldn’t pick up his freebie shorts based on the 3 star reviews. I expect I won’t have changed my opinion after reading his work.

    He gets points for writing & publishing stuff which is more than I’ve done since I left the full-time work world. My stuff was all published in-house so I don’t really count it even if I was paid a darn good salary to write tech manuals/help/etc.

  8. @Meridith

    Thanks very much and quite right. I was sorely disappointed in the sub-novel categories.

    In general, I thought Cat’s intent was to question the quality of the nominees rather than the readers. In the sub-novel categories, I generally agree.

    I didn’t get to Jim Butcher’s novel and can’t comment on it. However, Three Body Problem and Ancillary Justice didn’t grab my attention in the first few chapters. They might get better and I hope to find out eventually.

    I also read the Goblin Emperor and found it to be a very enjoyable (4/5 stars), but not really head of the class/”wow!!!” level.

  9. @redheadedfemme: I know Gerrold has announced that A Method For Madness has been finished, and I’m glad to hear that a beta reader liked it, but I’m still waiting to hear that it’s in the publisher’s hands and is scheduled. In any case, my point is that people waiting for the next book in AGOT don’t have that much sympathy from me yet, they haven’t been waiting long enough!

  10. I would absolutely trade all of ASOIAF for more “Fevre Dream”, “Armageddon Rag”, or Tuf. ALL OF IT, YOU HEAR ME!

    (1) Not only is it a well-deserved award, it’s so purty! And (pre)historic.

    If success and writing quickly was the be all and end all, Puppies would be worshiping Nora Roberts. She’s made a bazillion dollars, turns out multiple novels a year (which are proofread, don’t have hideous covers, and come out in hardback), AND one of her series is near-future SF. Flying cars, space stations, hologram entertainment, clones. Nothing experimental, lit’rary, etc. either. You know what you’re going to get, and you get it (with occasional surprises for fun). A lot of her stuff is fantasy/magic involved too.

    I like her writing quite a bit myself. I’d love to see the alternate universe where the RWA did what they briefly joked about and bought enough memberships to get her a bunch of Hugo nominations. Alternate universe me would have liked getting her stuff in the packet.

  11. @Kip W on January 13, 2016 at 9:16 am said:

    Back in an earlier college career I wrote about how to weight votes so that people who cared more mattered more than those who didn’t.

    Should it be how hard you grip a lever on the voting machine? This favors the strong. Should it be how many times you can stab the button? This favors the repetitive. How about how long you can hold onto an electrified handle? I’m not sure at this remove just how silly they got, but I remain somewhat proud of this reductio.

    Interesting logic problem.

    How about, “what category of people had to fight really hard to get the vote?”

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