Pixel Scroll 11/12/16 Like A Scroll On A Wire; Like A Pixel In A Midnight Choir

(1) ROBOTIC PREDICTION OR CAMPAIGN PROMISE? “Meet Sofia, the Humanoid Robot That Looks, Thinks and Talks Like a Human”.

Right now, artificially intelligent robots are part of the workforce, from hotel butlers to factory workers. But this is just the beginning.

According to Ben Goertzel, AI researcher and entrepreneur who spoke at the Web Summit in Lisbon this week, intelligent robots in human-like forms will surpass human intelligence and help free the human race of work. They will also, he says, start fixing problems like hunger, poverty and even help humans beat death by curing us of all disease. Artificially intelligent robots will help usher in a new utopian era never before seen in the history of the human race, he claims.

“The human condition is deeply problematic,” says Goertzel. “But as super-human intelligent AIs become one billion-times smarter than humans, they will help us solve the world’s biggest problems. Resources will be plentiful for all humans, work will be unnecessary and we will be forced to accept a universal basic income. All the status hierarchies will disappear and humans will be free from work and be able move on up to a more meaningful existence.”

(2) FAN FICTION. In an article called Full-body reading” on the website Aeon (aeon.co), University of Toronto English lecturer Anna Wilson talks about how her dissertation on medieval mystic Margery Kempe inspired her to deepen her appreciation of fan fiction and make her a more committed lesbian.

Fanfiction makes its source texts richer for its loving readers. It amplifies allusions and hidden currents, pulls out notes of characterisation and subtleties of plot, and spends time with them. After reading fanfiction, I return to texts I love with a new eye – sometimes a more critical one. For example, I read hundreds of stories embroidering the relationship between the Harry Potter characters Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, which – fanfiction writers suggested – was the real reason Sirius’s family had thrown him out. Thanks to fanfiction, I was wondering ‘Where are all the gay people at Hogwarts?’ long before J K Rowling announced that Dumbledore was gay (but his first crush was an evil wizard, and he apparently never loved again – thanks, JK).

Fanfiction can fill gaps in the world of the story, or tease out elements forbidden or unspeakable in the original text and bring them to the surface. These might be erotic; Fifty Shades of Grey (2011) began life as a hugely popular erotic fanfiction of the Twilight series that reimagined its characters Bella and Edward in an office BDSM setting. E L James brought out an element of Twilight that many readers found appealing – the erotic power dynamics between Edward and Bella – and rewrote those dynamics for a commercial audience. Another example is slash fiction – fanfiction that imagines a gay romance into a straight narrative, like those Remus/Sirius stories I binged on (the name ‘slash’ comes from the /).

Slash is particularly powerful for me as a queer woman because it subverts some fundamental assumptions in media narratives about who is watching, and what they want. When I read slash, I feel recognised and loved as a reader in a way I almost never do when I watch TV. In fact, fanfiction gave me something I’d been craving; it was literature for me. Though I’ve always loved science fiction, I felt obscurely unwanted by books in which the female characters were unsatisfying and marginalised: women are barely imagined as part of the science fiction audience, let alone catered to. By the same token, romance novels (one of the few genres that almost exclusively caters to women) were overwhelmingly heterosexual, with male and female characters I found boring and unrelatable, moving through prescribed motions that always ended with marriage and babies. Reading romance novels felt like forcing myself into a too-tight corset: reading fanfiction was like taking a deep breath.

(3) INDIVIDUAL PROTESTS. Two comics creators will quit attending shows in states that voted for Trump reports Bleeding Cool — “George Perez To Fulfill Current Commitments, Then Stop Attending Shows In Trump States”

Yesterday, Humberto Ramos, the Mexican comic book creator, currently topping the charts with Champions #1 for Marvel declared that he had chosen not to attend comic book shows in the US, in states that had voted to elect President-Elect Trump.

He was, today, joined in that by American creator George Pérez, co-creator of the New Teen Titans, also joined that number.

(4) SEFTON OBIT CORRECTION. While other details in the November 10 Pixel Scroll about the late Amelia (Amy) Sefton were correct, I was mistaken in identifying her as working for Tor. That is a different Amy Sefton. Thanks to Andrew Porter for the correction.

(5) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • November 12, 1982Creepshow opens in theaters nationwide.

(6) NEXT AT KGB. The Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series will present John Langan and Matthew Kressel, on Wednesday, November 16, beginning at 7p.m. in New York’s KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.)

John Langan

John Langan is author of two novels, The Fisherman and House of Windows.  He’s also published two collections, The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters.  With Paul Tremblay, he co-edited Creatures:  Thirty Years of Monsters.  He is one of the founders of the Shirley Jackson Awards and he currently reviews horror and dark fantasy for Locus magazine.

New and forthcoming are stories in Children of Lovecraft, The Madness of Dr. Caligari, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu, Swords v. Cthulhu, and Children of Gla’aki.  In February of 2017, his third collection of stories, Sefira and Other Betrayals, will be published by Hippocampus Press.

John Langan lives in New York’s Hudson Valley and teaches classes in creative writing and Gothic literature at SUNY New Paltz.  With his younger son, he’s studying for his black belt in Tang Soo Do.

Matthew Kressel

Matthew Kressel is the author of the novels King of Shards and the forthcoming Queen of Static. His short fiction has been twice nominated for a Nebula Award and has or will soon appear in such markets as Lightspeed, Nightmare, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, io9.com, Apex Magazine, Interzone, and the anthologies Cyber World, After, Naked City, The People of the Book.

From 2003-2010 he published and edited Sybil’s Garage, an acclaimed SF magazine. He also published the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Paper Cities and for his publishing work, received a World Fantasy Award nomination for Special Award Non-Professional. He co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series alongside Ellen Datlow. When not writing fiction he codes software for companies large and small, studies Yiddish (Nu?), and recites Blade Runner in its entirety from memory.

(7) CROSSOVER SEASON. The CW has released a promo for upcoming DC crossover between Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, a sequence of episodes that begins November 28.

During a press event earlier this week, executive producer Marc Guggenheim offered up a few details on the crossover, which will actually begin at the end of an episode of Supergirl as Kara is enlisted by Barry (Grant Gustin) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) to help battle the threat of the extraterrestrial Dominators.

“Some people call it a four-way crossover because it involves four shows; my ulcer requires me to call it a three-part crossover,” states Guggenheim explains. “The story that’s being told has a beginning, middle, and end: a beginning in Flash, a middle in Arrow, and an end in Legends.

 

(8) BRING OUT YOUR UNDEAD. Fox has ordered a pilot for a drama series based on bestselling vampire novel The Passage.

Sink your teeth into this news, vampire fans: Fox is adapting the popular book trilogy The Passage into a drama series.

The network has ordered a pilot for a TV adaptation of Justin Cronin’s book series, per our sister site Deadline. Friday Night Lights writer Liz Heldens will pen the pilot, with Cloverfield‘s Matt Reeves attached to direct.

The 2010 novel The Passage, a New York Times bestseller, envisions a post-apocalyptic future where virus-infected vampires roam the earth, with human colonies banding together to survive. (That book was followed by 2012’s The Twelve and this year’s The City of Mirrors.) Fox bought the film rights to The Passage before it was even published, and a Twilight-like film series was planned for years, but now they’re opting to bring it to the small screen.

(9) MUSEUM GETS TAKEI COLLECTION. George Takei is giving 70 years of his belongings to a museum. The LA Times gives you a viewing.

The donation itself was announced in September.

Actor and activist George Takei is donating a trove of art and artifacts from his life and career to the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

The museum announced the gift Wednesday and said the collection will be featured in an exhibition next year. “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei” is set to open March 12, 2017.

Takei’s collection includes photos, sculptures, scripts and other memorabilia from his “Star Trek” days, as well as his run for Los Angeles City Council in 1973 and the Olympic torch he carried ahead of the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

(10) MR. SCI-FI IS BACK. Sci-Fi Writer-Director-Producer Marc Zicree talks about politics in science fiction, as relates to Trump, alternate worlds with different Presidents, how science fiction reaches across all political beliefs, and more.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

102 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/12/16 Like A Scroll On A Wire; Like A Pixel In A Midnight Choir

  1. (1) ROBOTIC PREDICTION OR CAMPAIGN PROMISE?

    Artificially intelligent robots will help usher in a new utopian era never before seen in the history of the human race, he claims.

    And then comes the inevitable AI uprising and subsequent dystopia. I for one welcome our robot overlords and am Very Content Indeed to labour in the tungsten mines.

    Current reading: “The Last Witness” by K.J. Parker. Tor novella. Told from the POV of someone who can steal memories from others, but then remembers them himself. That makes the narration fascinatingly complicated. Really really good.

  2. Dawn Incognito: “The Last Witness” by K.J. Parker. Tor novella. Told from the POV of someone who can steal memories from others, but then remembers them himself. That makes the narration fascinatingly complicated. Really really good.

    I really, really liked The Last Witness. Loved it to begin with, got about 3/4 through and was thinking, well, okay, it’s pretty good — and then at the end went “holy shit, did he nail the landing!”. It was on my Hugo Novella shortlist.

  3. @3 – Their choice but what jerks. Citizens of a state don’t vote the way they wish so they will just avoid the State?

    I’m guessing that their policy will stop once the attention has died down. Just like the Celebs who promised to leave the USA when W was elected “changed their minds.”

    Perhaps all of the WorldCon voters should ban the USA, the UK and everyone else who does not support their political views in every election? Perhaps Tor should stop selling books in the USA?

  4. Oh, airboy, really, just piss off. If creators wish to protest the support of certain Americans for Trump’s racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and homophobic campaign policies, why shouldn’t they do so?

    Peaceful protest is a very, very long American tradition. If you don’t like it, too bad — these creators are not going to miss your custom.

  5. If creators wish to protest the support of certain Americans for Trump’s racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and homophobic campaign policies, why shouldn’t they do so?

    Yeah. It’s not unlike the corporations that decided to stop doing business with North Carolina until they get rid of that anti-trans bathroom law.

    Frankly, I’d make the same choice Humberto and my pal George have, except that I go to very few conventions these days and quite likely won’t be going to _any_ next year. Perhaps Airboy would think I’m being a jerk and punishing people by staying home, except that I’m under no obligation to go to any of these things, and nor is any other comics pro.

  6. (1) eyerolling emoji

    (2) I think she’s a little hard on romance; there have been so many types for so long now, it’s not all bog-standard Harlequin.

    (3) Men of principle, putting their money where their mouth is. Also, probably safer for them.

    (7) Hmph. Not as much Supergirl as I’d hoped.

    (9) Sounds worth viewing.

  7. I’m in North Carolina, and I absolutely supported every creator and every business who said they couldn’t be here. They put their money where their ethics were, and more power to them.

    And it helped, too. Support for that law is in (ha) the toilet and despite going for Trump, that idiot governor got booted (although he’s whining his way through the recounts as we speak.)

    It’s always whining when people you don’t agree with do it, and ethical boycotting when people you do like do it, I suppose…

  8. Now I’ve heard there was a secret word
    That David wrote, and it pleased the Lord
    But you don’t really care for fanzines, do you?
    It goes like this
    The fifth, the second fifth
    The minor fall, the major lift
    The baffled fan composing File-lelujah

    File-lelujah
    File-lelujah
    File-lelujah
    File-lelujah

  9. Mark: I’d have stopped at “their choice” if I were you, to avoid condemning people as jerks for behaviour you yourself engage in.

    Which reminds me, I was so incredibly distraught, and am deeply grieving, due to the news this week that Tor Books went bankrupt and collapsed due to the Disgruntled Puppy Tor Boycott™ destroying their revenue stream and leaving author John Scalzi deeply in penury.

    *snort*

  10. @Dawn Incognito & @JJ: I loved The Last Witness, in print and then in audiobook!

    @Tom Becker: LOL!!!

    (7) CROSSOVER SEASON. I don’t watch any of these shows (I know, I’m a loser), but I’m kinda interested in watching this four-night event. 🙂

  11. (3) INDIVIDUAL PROTESTS. At first, I was thinking how unlike boycotting North Carolina this is; these states can’t change their votes, but N.C. in theory could change its law. (Caveat: I can’t boycott N.C.; I have family living there who I love.) But everyone protests in their own way, and that’s groovy. At first, I felt this method as protest made less sense to me. But then I started thinking about how deeply personal a lot of the rhetoric from Trump and some Trump supporters is, for some of us.* Now I’m thinking, maybe this type of boycott makes more sense to me than when I started writing this comment, even though it’s not something I would do.

    * I say “us” as a bi guy in a currently-legal-and-I-hope-it-remains-so marriage. 😐

    ::eyeroll in Airboy’s direction:: Thanks for re-affirming I make the right choice to filter you out most of the time.

    @RedWombat: “It’s always whining when people you don’t agree with do it, and ethical boycotting when people you do like do it, I suppose…”

    LOL, yup!

  12. At first, I was thinking how unlike boycotting North Carolina this is; these states can’t change their votes, but N.C. in theory could change its law.

    They will have a chance to change their legislators in the next year or two.

  13. Camestros Felapton: I should note that today I have nothing to say but I am most stridently going to say it.

    Shouldn’t you be off doing something stridently with a Satsuma Walrus?

    Or is it Timothy who should be doing that? 😉

    SATSUMA WALRUS GOD

    (you know I am just doing this so that you will go off and spend your time writing another one of your vastly amusing parodies which we can all snort over — may your employer and your wife forgive you)

  14. @Kendall, about personal attacks: particularly when it’s Humberto Ramos and George Pérez, who are – as their names suggest – not stock Anglo-Saxon-y white. The Trump campaign launched with an attack directly on them. Pérez was born in New York City to two Puerto Rican immigrants who met there; Ramos is Mexican, and first visited the US when he was 22. (His full Facebook post on the subject is, I think, very gentle and decent.) They’re right to feel targeted in a special, unwelcome way.

  15. Re 3) Not precisely a boycott, but I can think of a few members of the international side of our genre community who are going to be reluctant to come to the US under a Trump administration just because of concerns over persecution.

    Ironically (and he admits the irony), Peter Watts has been thinking about exploring options to allow him back into the US. http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=6988

  16. @Dawn Incognito: that was about my reaction to #1 also. Talk about justifying the 1950’s-60’s version of the Mad Scientist stereotype….

  17. Re 3) Not precisely a boycott, but I can think of a few members of the international side of our genre community who are going to be reluctant to come to the US under a Trump administration just because of concerns over persecution.

    Ironically (and he admits the irony), Peter Watts has been thinking about exploring options to allow him back into the US. http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=6988

    I’ve heard even Americans living in Germany say that if Trump is elected, they won’t go back to the US. Coincidentally, these were people from states like California or Washington that voted Democrat. A lot of Europeans won’t visit any part of the US now, because they don’t feel safe there. Ditto for the UK, because reports about the rise in hate crimes post-Brexit (and most of the targets of post-Brexit hate crimes were white East Europeans) have put a lot of people off. Who wants to be attacked for the “crime” of speaking in their own language among themselves?

    BTW, post-Brexit several EU countries reported a marked incease of British citizens applying for citizeship in their countries. I translate official documents among other things and I’ve had a lot more inquiries about translating British birth certificates for Brits applying for German citizenship since the Brexit vote. I haven’t noticed an increase in American birth certificates yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if I see it in the next few months.

  18. (1) ROBOTIC PREDICTION
    I doubt that robots that look and acts like humans will ever be much more than a curiosity.

    We already have robots that does blue-collar work. They’re not humanoid, though, and I doubt they’ll ever be. They’re generally not very intelligent either.

    We also have advanced AI that can beat human decision-making in limited fields. They don’t look human either. I am sure their intelligence will become broader and more generalized, but I don’t see artificial superintelligence put inside a humanoid skull any time soon.

  19. Watched Arrival last night and was really impressed. Not only was it a really good movie but it was a great science fiction movie as well. I think fandom will be very pleased.

  20. This is the scroll that never ends
    And I can share it with my friends
    Some pixels started ticking it, not knowing what it was
    Now everybody’s ticking it forever because
    This is the scroll that never ends…

  21. As I said earlier, their choice. Lumping every citizen of a state on their “ban list” is childish.

    Perhaps all of you should rethink going to WorldCon this year. Finland broke away from Russia when Russia lost to Germany in WW1 and signed a separate peace treaty. Finland then fought against the USSR after the partition of Poland when the Communists invaded. Finland then became formal allies of Germany in WW2 including basing German troops. The Government of Finland was not overthrown after being an ally of Germany after WW2 concluded.

    And yes I don’t buy from some people who are grossly insulting with a broad brush.

  22. Cora on November 13, 2016 at 5:41 am said:

    BTW, post-Brexit several EU countries reported a marked incease of British citizens applying for citizeship in their countries. I translate official documents among other things and I’ve had a lot more inquiries about translating British birth certificates for Brits applying for German citizenship since the Brexit vote. I haven’t noticed an increase in American birth certificates yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if I see it in the next few months.

    Anecdotally, Germany (well, Berlin specifically) seems to be one of the destinations of choice for Western citizens and businesses leaving Turkey following the recent events here.

    Nationalism isn’t particularly attractive for the mobile and the entrepreneurial.

  23. Well, I’m outraged. I looked down before I posted, ten minutes ago, and there was a white check mark in the box.

    Oh, well. Dreamt I was at a con last night, but nobody was wearing name tags. Only person I recognized was Bill Bowers, who thought I was someone named Gary.

  24. @airboy

    Nice Godwin there, cleverly disguised and all that. You might almost call it “grossly insulting with a broad brush.”

    It’s a pity that you’ve degenerated into this tedious sniping presence in the past few days.

  25. Seriously, has anybody else ticked twice and not gotten subscribed to the thread? Third time’s the charm… I Hope I Hope I Hope

    (still nothing)

  26. Airboy –

    And yes I don’t buy from some people who are grossly insulting with a broad brush.

    Woah there you’re going to punish all the employees and others who work on those comics for the opinions of one of the creators?

    You agree with those guys more than you think, they’re choosing not to spend their time in areas that voted in a guy who grossly insulted different minority groups with a broad brush. It’s nice to see you share a common ground.

  27. I always feel kind of frustrated and offended when I read someone saying science fiction had no women readers in mind. When I read Russ, Le Guin, Charnas, Tepper, Piercy… I didn’t get that impression. Diane Duane’s romantic couples – may not predate slash fanfic but certainly predate Sirius/Remus. The fact that one reader finds what she likes in fanfic should not erase women’s brilliant work in SF

  28. @airboy: So what is it that are you selling, that we should boycott?

    In the end: Its the choice of the writers which cons they attend. It always have been. If they dont feel welcome in certain states – why should they go there? Freedom of choice hasnt been outlawed in the US, have it?

    @Tom Becker: Brilliant!

  29. airboy on November 12, 2016 at 8:46 pm said:

    Perhaps all of the WorldCon voters should ban the USA, the UK and everyone else who does not support their political views in every election?

    By cooincidence (really!), three of the next four Worldcons either are or are likely to be outside of the USA and not in the UK. (Finland, USA, Ireland, New Zealand).

    Paul Weimer on November 13, 2016 at 4:18 am said:

    I can think of a few members of the international side of our genre community who are going to be reluctant to come to the US under a Trump administration just because of concerns over persecution.

    San José’s Worldcon is facing a very real prospect of many of its non-US members not feeling safe attending their Worldcon. Some Americans may scoff at this, but it’s a seriously real concern. The USA was already a pretty scary looking country for many non-Americans, and now it’s worse. And that’s San José, a highly diverse city in the highly liberaly San Francisco Bay Area in California, one of the most liberal states in the USA.

    I think a lot of my fellow Americans are completely unaware of how awful they look to the rest of the world. Some of them are aware of it and think it’s a good thing!

  30. 3- People need to do whatever they feel is right of course, but to me there is more grey area in boycotting a red state vs the N.C boycott. Take my State, Georgia, that is a red state but has blue counties, particularly in the Atlanta metro area and this time around some of the traditionally red metro counties voted blue. Atlanta has a black Democrat mayor who has been vocal in supporting LGBT rights and the metro area is very diverse and home to an ever-increasing amount of refugees and other immigrants. Boycotting Dragon Con, for example, which is held in the city of Atlanta, isn’t going to impact the voters in the red rural counties at all. And even in blue states there were a lot of voters who voted for Trump. A bad law can be repealed in the next legislative session but the president can’t be voted out of office until the next election. But each of us has to do what they feel is right for themselves, so I don’t condemn others’ boycott of red states.

  31. Mike, are you having trouble with your email plugin again? All of a sudden I’m not getting comment notifications.

  32. Not to pick a side in the matter, but there are a couple of matters that come to mind re: boycotting.

    First: Who or what exactly is the offending entity in the case of the recent election? Is a “Trump state” one in which Trump got the electoral votes? Is there a threshold or margin of Trump victory that says “Trump state”? What about, say, Minnesota, where Clinton won the electoral votes by a very narrow margin (46/45%)? Would it be OK to attend a con in the Twin Cities or Duluth but not St. Cloud (part of Michele Bachmann’s old district)*? Or Michigan, where four urban/university areas supplied most of Clinton’s share of a 47/48% loss?

    Second: The classical function of a boycott is to apply economic pressure to the offending entity, while also signalling solidarity with the boycotters’ cause(s). In light of the above questions, what entity is being pressured by a boycott? In recent times, it has been legislative or other governing bodies whose offending actions and policies can be reversed or modified. What can be done to reverse the results of an election? Or might one look at an election-results map and make precinct-by-precinct decisions?

    I’m as dismayed as the next old Democrat at the election’s outcome–though not, I have to say, as surprised as some. And the question of how to brace for the next four years, how to deal with the shitstorm I fear is coming, and how to regroup and retool is on my mind. But I want to make sure that the toolkit that gets assembled has the right kind of implements.

    * Not a real-world issue–we don’t have the facilities (or the cultural inclination) for much more than a boat/RV show. And that ain’t snark–it’s just the way things are.

  33. The Fen from S.C.R.O.L.L. and P.I.X.E.L.

    Second fifth to the right and scroll on ’til pixel.

  34. Bonnie McDaniel: If people aren’t getting notifications again…. When the problem happened before, after a couple of days I was able to get a beta update from Jetpack. There is another update scheduled now that I have put off because the notifications were working, and why mess with success? But I can’t hold my breath forever. I will go run the update and we’ll see whether that makes things better or worse.

  35. Warning: filemtime(): stat failed for /home/dh_8ctd8v/file770.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/css/jetpack.css in /home/dh_8ctd8v/file770.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/class.jetpack.php on line 5669

    Mike, for what it’s worth, this message is displayed at the very top of my google chrome page for your site.

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