Pixel Scroll 1/12/17 Midnight at the Well of Pixels

(1) THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS TYRION. ScienceFiction.com says “Peter Dinklage Is Rumored To Be In Talks To Join ‘Avengers: Infinity War’” and makes a very entertaining post from its inconclusive guesses about what Marvel character he might play.

…The next two ‘Avengers’ movies are expected to shoot back-to-back and whatever role Dinklage is in negotiations for, he will appear in both.

Very little is known about ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ other than it will feature every surviving Marvel Cinematic hero, including all of the Avengers, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy.  And it will feature the clash with warlord Thanos, something that has been teased since the first ‘Avengers’ in 2012.  It will be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who previously helmed ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘Captain America: Civil War’. …

(2) HELP CHANGE THE LAW. Opponents of the new California autograph law say they have lined up a State Assembly member to introduce legislation to constructively amend AB 1570. It is anticipated the bill will be drafted and ready to introduce by mid-February. In the meantime, they continue to ask people show their support by signing their petition at Change.org.

(3) BUY LINGUAL. Rachel Cordasco’s “Roundtable on Speculative Fiction in Translation: Past, Present, Future” at Tor.com brings together Neil Clarke, Sarah Dodd, Cristina Jurado, Cheryl Morgan, and Marian Womack:

Q: How do you work to increase the visibility of sf in translation? Is it mainly through marketing and social media, or other avenues as well? What can people like myself (reviewers, bloggers) do to promote sf in translation in effective ways?

Neil Clarke: Unfortunately, translated works still carry a bit of stigma with readers. It’s like your mom trying to get you to eat a vegetable she knows you’ll like if you just give it a try. One approach is to be low key about it. Treat it like any other piece of food on the plate and surround it with their more traditional selections. Publishers have been doing this for years…leveraging one success to create opportunities to take risks on others. The big difference is that translations can be significantly more expensive.

The best thing I can do for translations, aside from publishing great stories, is to be actively involved in making connections in the international science fiction community and keep them aware that translation is an option that is available to them.

The best thing readers and reviewers can do is support the books and stories they enjoy. All authors enjoy their books being favorably reviewed, but many of the foreign authors I’ve worked with have mentioned that recognition from the English-language market is extra special. Many of the biggest names in SF are published in English. It carries some prestige most of us don’t even think about.

Sarah Dodd: A really important thing that reviewers and bloggers can do is name the translator. (Yes, it seems basic, but it’s amazing how often reviews of translated fiction omit the translator’s name entirely!) The wonderful @TranslatedWorld began the #namethetranslator campaign in 2013, and they’ve been really promoting the work of translators to give them greater visibility. One of the things we’ve realized, working on other translation projects, is just how much the translator does, going beyond the translation itself—a lot of translators also do a huge amount of work pitching the books and stories they love, and then helping drum up interest and publicize them when they come out. So it would be really great to see more of a focus on the translators themselves (something we’re planning to do in Samovar, through our author and translator spotlights)….

(4) THEY SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE. Walter Jon Williams, before getting around to the TV adaptation, decided to first reread Philip K. Dick’s novel — “Revisiting the Classics: The Man in the High Castle”.

I hadn’t got very far into the re-reading before I came to the conclusion that there was no damn fucking way this could ever be made into a TV series.  The narration is too internal, there is very little dramatizable action, and you can’t make the manipulation of 49 yarrow stalks followed by the reading of an opaque text dramatically interesting.  What HBO has done, I’m sure, is create a situation more or less parallel to that of the novel, and some characters with the same names and some of the same problems, and then done what TV people do to make that interesting.  The series might well be successful on its own terms, it just won’t be The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick.  (Those of you who have seen the [Amazon] series can tell me if I’m right.  I’m particularly interested to learn whether they made successful drama out of I Ching readings.)

And that’s only his first argument why it couldn’t be made for TV.

(5) CRAVING DYSTOPIAS. Boston Review fiction editor Junot Diaz has put out a call for material on the theme of global dystopias, maximum length 5,000 words.

Over the last decades dystopian narratives have proliferated to the point where they seem to have become our default mode for conceptualizing the future. But dystopias are not merely fantasies of a minatory future; they offer critically important reflection upon our present. If (as Tom Moylan has argued) traditional dystopias crafted cognitive maps of the terrors of the twentieth century, what cognitive maps does our current dystopian turn provide us of our turbulent global present?

Throughout 2017 BostonReview.net will feature stories, essays, and interviews on the theme of global dystopias. The project will culminate in a special print issue in the fall of 2017.

We are seeking essays, interviews, and fiction from writers around the globe that engage the theme of dystopia. Nonfiction, personal essay, genre fiction (SF, fantasy, horror, Afrofuturist, slipstream), and work that resides across/between genres are welcome.

Submissions might explore, but are not limited to:

  • Inequality / precarity
  • The Global South
  • Climate change
  • Global democracy
  • Civic media and civic imaginaries
  • Afrofuturism
  • The War on Terror
  • International politics and speculative futures
  • Post-humanisms
  • The future of females
  • Gendered violence
  • Radical futurities

The submissions period is open for fiction and nonfiction via Submittable until May 1, 2017.

(7) DEALER’S CHOICE. The third video in a series about the origins of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe.is now on YouTube:


  • Activated January 12 — HAL 9000. According to the movie, he was activated in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1992. For reasons that even Clarke didn’t remember, years later, in the book the date shifted to 1997.


  • Born January 12, 1628 — Charles Perrault, author of the Mother Goose stories.
  • Born January 12, 1965 – Rob Zombie

(10) PRATCHETT LIFE COMING TO TV. A Terry Pratchett bio program is in the works at the BBC. From Radio Times “BBC reveal plans for ‘poignant’ new Terry Pratchett documentary”.

The BBC is making a documentary about the late writer Terry Pratchett in which his words will be read in character by actor Paul Kaye.

Terry Pratchett: Back In Black is told in Pratchett’s own words, with contributions from authors Neil Gaiman and Val McDermid, and his long-serving assistant Rob Wilkins. Kaye’s impression of Pratchett is said to be “uncanny” according to the BBC.

The programme, which airs on BBC2 later this year, will follow his life from his troubled schooldays, to being dismissed by literary critics, to the remarkable creation of the Discworld series of fantasy novels, which have since sold over 85 million copies worldwide.

It will also chronicle Pratchett’s battle with Alzheimer’s and his death in 2015.

(11) COMICS ON THE HORIZON. In 2017, at least three SF/F novels will be adapted into comic books. Titan Comics will be adapting Forever War by Joe Haldeman, with Haldeman writing the comic and Mavarno doing the art, as well as Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula, with Newman writing and art by Paul McCaffrey. Finally, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods will become a Dark Horse comic book with P. Craig Russell writing and art by Scott Hamilton.

Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War was a groundbreaking science-fiction novel when originally published in 1974, merging high-concept science fiction with gripping social commentary. Next year, Titan Comics are reprinting and serializing the 1988 adaptation written by Haldeman himself, with art by the legendary Mavarno.
Titan’s reprint of the series serializes the original volumes and come packed with bonus materials, including design elements from the series and multiple, brand-new covers for each issue.

And now, it’s finally making it to comics. Titan has announced an Anno Dracula adaptation set for March of 2017, written by Newman with art by Paul McCaffrey.

Originally published in 1992, the first Anno Dracula novel takes place in 1888, focusing on the early years of a society where vampires have just gone public, and a mystery — for the characters, if not the readers — surrounding the Whitechapel murders of Jack the Ripper.

Gaiman said in a statement: “I’ve been watching P. Craig Russell breaking down the book into comic form, watching Scott Hampton painting the pages, watching Glenn Fabry create the covers, and grinning to myself with delight, because the American Gods comic is going to be an astonishing, faithful, and beautiful adaptation.”

(12) DRAFT NOTICE.  Narragansett Brewing Co. wants you to know “The Unnamable Is Coming…”

Unnamable beer

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mark-kitteh, Rob Thornton JJ, Andrew Porter, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Michael J. Walsh.]

72 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/12/17 Midnight at the Well of Pixels

  1. NickPheas: that’s quite possible, given as you pointed out, what they did in Dr Strange. So are there any extra Asian or other PoC characters in the Infinity Wars that Dinklage could take over?

  2. @ Kip: Your kidney stones only last a couple of hours? The one that hit my partner on the way home from Sasquan had him running at 1/4 speed for three months — effectively, we lost the last quarter of 2015 to it. I’m sure that if he’d had insurance it wouldn’t have been so bad, but he fell into the Medicaid Gap; not enough income to qualify for the ACA, and Texas was one of the states that refused the Medicaid expansion.

    Also, if you can’t eat meat, dairy, vegetables, or nuts, what CAN you eat?

    @ lphinome: I saw what you did there. 🙂

  3. Lee
    The initial pain of the stone lasts from the time it moves to wherever the hurting starts to the time they knock me out for a while. After that, it’s over the hump, as it were, and I think I passed the first one without even knowing I’d done it.

    As to the question of what I “can” eat, it’s a tough one. Perhaps cauliflower and mushrooms, in moderation. The restrictions are absurdly myopic, as if the only thing I had to consider in my entire life was how things would affect my kidneys. I have a bunch of other organs that all think they’re pretty important as well, and a brain and a skeletal system, and some nerves and stuff. It’s like I noted in the 70s that a dentist will tell you to eat some sort of sugarless gum that (let us say) turns your liver and pancreas into hamburger. Not holistic.

    ALSO: Sympathy to our host on the recent infestation of identical spams. Guh. This is a little taste of what he probably deals with all the time.

  4. Kip W: ALSO: Sympathy to our host on the recent infestation of identical spams. Guh. This is a little taste of what he probably deals with all the time.

    Yes, I page through over a thousand of those a day — and it seems my concentration flags sometimes when it comes to picking the command that gets rid of them.

  5. @Mike – Can you set up a Captcha for commenting? That seems to help keep away the spambots.

  6. I get the impression that the MCU rather likes casting against type, as with the Ancient One being a young white woman rather than a wizened Tibetan. So I’d be not the least bit surprised by PD playing a part one wouldn’t normally associate with a short person.

    The Watcher.

  7. kathodus: @Mike – Can you set up a Captcha for commenting? That seems to help keep away the spambots.

    I’ll look into it.

  8. Not that it’ll be of help to anyone else, but after two kidney stones, my doctor put me on calcium citrate, which seems counterintuitive.

    But apparently whatever the stone coalesces around gets bonded to the calcium and flushed out before it can be a problem. Haven’t had a stone since.

    Or maybe I’ve just been lucky.

  9. @ kathodus

    As someone newly dealing with blog spam myself, while I don’t know what system OGH is using, I use one that has teachable algorithms to identify spam comments. It then sorts them into three possible piles: “probably a genuine comment”, “probably spam”, and “definitely spam”. The blog owner can then customize what is done with those piles.

    As long as the “probably a genuine comment” pile lets extremely few inappropriate comments through, the tradeoff of not having an additional Captcha hurdle for commenters is worth it. When people hate Captchas, they hate them with a fiery passion.

    When I set my system up several months ago, I was a bit paranoid about real comments getting accidentally tagged as spam, so initially I’ve been manually approving the deletion of the “probably/definitely spam” group. Although I’m dealing with far far less volume than File 770 does (e.g., I get an average of one real comment every other day, and just under 20 spam comments for every real one), so far I’ve never seen any false positives on the spam, and I think maybe only one false negative. (I.e., spam that slips through.) Mind you, I’m only dealing with pretty generic link-spam so far.

    I did change the settings to require an (invisible) e-mail address from commenters, but in part that was because I run promotions and giveaways from time to time and I realized I needed to be able to contact people about it!

  10. If you miss the file I’m on
    You will know that I am gone
    You can hear the pixel scroll
    A hundred miles

  11. @Kurt Busiek: “The Watcher” – I think you’re joking (not sure), but honestly, that would be kinda cool. He’d do great as this serious, otherworldly uber-alien, methinks. I would really like to see that, actually. 🙂

    @Rev. Bob: “And I would scroll 500 Files, and I would scroll 500 more…” – Heh, if you hadn’t, I would’ve.

  12. Oooh. Y’know what key character Dinklage might be unexpectedly good for and ties into an upcoming MCU project?

    Black Bolt.

  13. @Rev. Bob

    Ooh, even better…what about Karnak? I think Dinklage could totally pull it off.

  14. @Rev. Bob: I could see Black Bolt, although I like his voice, so it’d be a shame in that one respect.

    @Schnookums Von Fancypants (best Filer alias, or best alias anywhere? you decide!): Karnak, I dunno.

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