Pixel Scroll 11/24 The Choler out of Space

(1) Fans beat the pros at trivia – well, of course they did.

The awkward moment when Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss came third in a Doctor Who pub quiz.

The trio – who called themselves The Time Wasters – clearly didn’t know their wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff


(2) John Picacio teed off against the World Fantasy Con’s call for new award design submissions:

Artists — how do you feel about someone who says, “Give us your ideas for free. If we decide we like one of them, we’ll use it for our own personal branding and for our own prestige. We will hire someone to make multiple images of it and that person will not receive compensation either. We have zero respect for any of you as working professionals.”

As of today, that’s the official message that the World Fantasy Convention just transmitted to all professional artists as the WFC searches for a new image for their World Fantasy Award. See their new “World Fantasy Award Call for Submissions”.

That’s right. Your ideas and your work — for nothing.

It’s an extremely unprofessional message, and it’s not one that befits experienced professionals. It says to all of its members — writers, editors, agents, publishers — that the organization doesn’t value its own branding enough to properly invest in it. That’s very sad to see.

This stirred up debate among commenters on Picacio’s Facebook page, including Ellen Datlow, Sean Wallace, Irene Gallo and others.

(3) Two days ago I ran David Hartwell’s photo of a NY subway car wrapped in a graphical ad for The Man in the High Castle  — but today Amazon announced it will remove the ads amid uproar over their use of insignia inspired by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

The online retailer made the decision to pull the ads amid widespread coverage of the wrap, which cover half the 42nd Street shuttle’s seats in decals of the American flag with the stars replaced by an emblem that closely resembles the Nazi Reichsadler, the heraldic eagle used by the Third Reich. The other side features a recreation of a World War II-era Japanese flag in red, white and blue….

Straphanger Ann Toback was disturbed to find the posters wallpapered on the Grand Central shuttle.

“Hate speech, hate insignia requires a response when you see it, you don’t just say, ‘oh, it’s New York,” said Toback. “You see, you have a choice to stare at the Japanese empire insignia or the Nazi insignia.”

A spokesman for the MTA said there were no grounds to reject the ads because they do not violate the authority’s content-neutral ad standards, which only prohibits advertising that disparages an individual or group. ..

Some activists and officials, however, expressed outrage that the advertisements were allowed to run.

“As a Jew, I am offended, and as a New Yorker, I am embarrassed,” said state Rep. Jeffrey Dinowitz. “The MTA should be ashamed of themselves and this ignorant advertising campaign, as it is offensive not just to the Jewish community, but to all Americans.”

Mayor de Blasio also decried the ads, calling them “irresponsible.”

…Not everyone was bothered by the marketing. One rider said, “It’s not like the end of the world, it’s not specifically targeting a group of people. It’s just for a show.”

(4) Justin Raimondo contrasts the novel and miniseries in “Myths of Empire: The Man in the High Castle: a review of sorts” at AntiWar.com.

Dick’s original version would never be allowed on American television: the political realities of our time forbid it. Empires are founded on mythologies – narratives in which historical events are interpreted in a way that justifies the status quo, and crowds out any dissenting version, consigning the truth – if such there is – to the margins.

(5) Myke Cole posted a photo of him receiving his promotion from NYPD Commissioner Bratton. (All I can find in bios is that he does “specialized work” there.)

(6) At National Review Online, Katherine Timpf discusses how she got death threats after she joked on the Fox News Channel comedy show Red Eye “I have never had any interest in watching space nerds poke each other with their little space nerd sticks, and I’m not going to start now.”


“Yesterday I tweeted something, and all I said was that I wasn’t familiar with Star Wars because I’ve been too busy liking cool things and being attractive.”

Now, I received a few death threats right after I posted the aforementioned tweet — which, by the way, was why I was saying Star Wars fans were “crazy” in the first place. Overall, though, it wasn’t a big deal, and I kind of forgot about it.

Then, this week, one Star Wars super-super-super fan who calls himself “AlphaOmegaSin” made a ten-minute (!) video brutally ripping me apart.

(7) “NASA not ready for dangers of deep space, auditors say” writes Jerry Markon of the Washington Post.

American culture and cinema often glorifies space travel, from the heroic early adventurers of “The Right Stuff” to the more recent rescue of Matt Damon’s astronaut character from Mars in “The Martian.”

But the reality is less glamorous, with journeys into deep space posing serious dangers to astronauts that include inadequate food, radiation exposure and heightened risks of developing cancer and other maladies. And NASA is not yet ready to handle those dangers as it moves ahead with plans to send the first human mission to Mars by the 2030s, according to a recent audit.

NASA inspector general Paul K. Martin found that the legendary space agency “faces significant challenges” ensuring the safety of any Mars-bound astronauts,  and that its schedule to limit the risks is overly “optimistic.” As a result, he said, Mars crews likely will have to accept more risks to their health and safety than their predecessors who went to the moon and work in the International Space Station.

(8) “Mœbius & Jodorowsky’s Sci-Fi Masterpiece, The Incal, Brought to Life in a Tantalizing Animation” at Open Culture.

Last year we featured artwork from the Dune movie that never was, a collaboration between Alejandro Jodorowsky, the mysticism-minded Chilean director of such oft-described-as-mind-blowing pictures as El Topo and The Holy Mountain, and the artist Jean Giraud, better known as Mœbius, creator of oft-described-as-mind-blowing comics as Arzach, Blueberry, and The Airtight GarageIf ever a meeting of two creative minds made more sense, I haven’t heard about it. Alas, Jodorowsky and Mœbius’ work didn’t lead to their own Dune movie, but it didn’t mark the end of their artistic partnership, as anyone who’s read The Incal knows full well.

Telling a metaphysical, satirical, space-operatic story in the form of comic books originally published throughout the 1980s (with sequel and prequel series to come over the following 25 years), The Incal on the page became the fullest realization of Jodorowsky and Mœbius’ combined vision.

(9) Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle successfully flew to space, reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.

“But more significant,” notes the Washington Post, “was the landing of the rocket booster, which descended, flew through 119 mph high-altitude crosswinds and touched down on the landing pad by firing its engine again. The company based in Kent, Wash., said it landed just four-and-a-half feet from the center.”


(10) Today’s Birthday Boy

  • Born November 24, 1916 – Forrest J Ackerman

(11) “How an industry of ‘Amazon entrepreneurs’ pulled off the Internet’s craftiest catfishing scheme” in the Washington Post.

There’s only one problem with Dagny Taggart — she doesn’t exist. Evidence collected and examined by The Washington Post suggests that Taggart (who is named for a character in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”) is a made-up identity used by an Argentine man named Alexis Pablo Marrocco. Marrocco, meanwhile — and other self-described “Kindle entrepreneurs” like him — form part of a growing industry of “Amazon catfish.”

The catfishing process varies according to the specific “entrepreneur” using it, but it typically follows the same general steps: After hiring a remote worker to write an e-book for the Kindle marketplace, Amazon’s e-book store, publishers put it up for sale under the name and bio of a fictional expert. Frequently, Kindle entrepreneurs will then buy or trade for good book reviews. (Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.)

At the end of this process, they hope to have a Kindle store bestseller: something with a catchy title about a hot topic, such as gambling addiction or weight loss.

“Making money with Kindle is by far the easiest and fastest way to get started making money on the Internet today,” enthuses one video that promises to guide viewers to riches. “You don’t even need to write the books yourself!”

(12) Cute set of fandom greeting cards.

Sorry fav show canc tumblr_nwv6pwxkGE1r8pdmio3_500

(13) ‘Tis the season to break this out again: WKRP “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” Thanksgiving

[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster, Amy Sterling Casil, Brian Z., John King Tarpinian, and Tom Galloway for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day GP.]

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122 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/24 The Choler out of Space

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Puppies received death threats. They were prominent enough that it would be more unlikely if they hadn’t in the internet of today. There’s always trolls happy to oblige. While they generally behaved quite badly, none of them deserve actual death threats. Very few people do.

  2. Screen shots might be helpful, when assessing the plausibility of death threats.

    I’m not saying they are essential. One should always treat such reports seriously.

    But when a person with shall we say a history of regularly falsifying the records of others’ speech makes such a claim, it is better for them if they have some hint, any smidgen of actual evidence to back it up: screen shots, recordings, email records, descriptions, witnesses — anything beyond a simple and vague assertion that such a thing was done to them.

    I give human sympathy and concern to anyone who says they have received a death threat.

    I will give more help to someone verified.

  3. Googling “Torgersen death threat” comes up with the Torgersen claim I was thinking of, in a comment on the “According to Hoyt” blog soon after his “boxcar” comment, on August 17. The comment is reproduced on Paul Weimer’s blog. I’m entering this on an ipad and I’m not sure how to enter a link. Torgersen gives a long list of ways he has been threatened, culminating with, “And, I’ve been sent death threats. To include threats against my family.”

  4. Nobody deserves death threats. And nobody deserves their family threatened.

    I’ve no idea what Torgersen and Correia received, but I realize I have been skating far too close to discounting their accounts.

    Nobody deserves that level of awfulness. Nobody.

  5. I don’t think it costs me anything to think that it is at least possible that Puppies received death threats. It is a horribly common occurrence these days. Since I’m not a Mythical SJW, I also don’t think that receiving death threats makes any and all arguments more sound. They can have received death threats and still be dead wrong about almost anything else including objective reality (or the closest thing to it).

    However, it would be nice (as Peace said) if they provided some sort of proof given their frequent misrepresentations of the words of anyone who isn’t one of them.

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Puppies received death threats. They were prominent enough that it would be more unlikely if they hadn’t in the internet of today.

    I believe people when they say they got threats because it has happened to me several times over the past 20 years. I think anyone who becomes Internet famous for something is at risk of getting threats, because there are a lot of people who are angry, unhinged and lack impulse control. The anonymity of the hyper-connected world makes it too easy for people to unleash the worst version of themselves.

    One threat I dealt with was so serious I can’t even talk about it now, years later, without fear it will bring that psycho back into my life. And all I did to provoke the anger was to post a link to a newspaper story on a blog and initially refuse to remove it when the person demanded I do so.

    I tell my sons to never make the mistake of assuming that everybody you deal with online is as mentally healthy and reasonable as you are. The Internet puts you into contact with all kinds of people.

  7. The pets round-up is finished, assuming I didn’t miss anything or mix up junego and Tintinaus again. I hid the icons while I was collecting this time so I should have been reading the actual names rather than using the icon colour schemes…

    Linking in case of helpfulness to future bracket types, or anyone else for any reason, really.

  8. I’ve no idea what Torgersen and Correia received, but I realize I have been skating far too close to discounting their accounts.

    I think the primary problem they face is that they have both demonstrated that they are not reliable witnesses. When someone has a reputation for shading and distorting the truth, as they have, then it seems foolhardy to trust their statements as a general matter.

    There are a number of people whose statements I will trust to be accurate, but those people don’t have an established track record of misrepresenting the truth. Torgersen, Correia, and the rest of the Pups do.

  9. Piccacio doesn’t seem to get it: cons are something that most of us do as volunteers, often doing tasks that would be quite expensive indeed if we were paying everybody at professional rates. IIRC, the Worldcon bases are often designed by people within fandom who do it for the egoboo (and maybe a comp membeeship). Why does he think that the WFC contest is looking for/expecting entries from “real pros” rather than talented fen?

  10. Aaron: Well, yeah, that’s the reason to be skeptical. It’s just important not to lose track of the broader fact that lots of people in various states of “being public” do get death threats and other harassment, that there is a baseline level of abuse any visible person may get at any time, and that the Puppies are certainly not less likely than random people to get targeted for it. Reason to believe they probably have gotten such harassment doesn’t depend on their veracity, fortunately for them.

  11. Aaron on November 25, 2015 at 7:57 pm said:
    I think the primary problem they face is that they have both demonstrated that they are not reliable witnesses. When someone has a reputation for shading and distorting the truth, as they have, then it seems foolhardy to trust their statements as a general matter.

    Bruce’s point is a good one. We know that Brad T’s accounts are unreliable based on the number of occasions we’ve seen his version of events that could be checked independently. However, we know there are lots of obnoxious and threatening people out there who only need slight provocation to send threatening comments to people (or comments that could be reasonably construed that way). We can also be pretty sure that if Brad T had got a death threat he wouldn’t then lie the other way and say that he didn’t.
    It all comes out in the Bayesian wash as probably true regardless.

  12. Nutty Nuggets are actually generic Grape Nuts?

    Ew. The non-absorbent, teeth-breaking breakfast choice, only inferior!

    (13) is a Thanksgiving tradition in these parts too. We usually watch it in the time between meal and pie. Half an hour is just long enough to settle the turkey etc. before moving on to dessert. Even here in 2943, it’s a classic. I met the guy who directed it about … hrmrmmm… 15 years (!) later and complimented him.

    A sing-along of “Alice’s Restaurant” is another good tradition.

  13. I just checked to see what time my favorite online radio station (Radio Paradise) will be playing “Alice’s Restaurant” tomorrow (they usually play it twice on Thanksgiving). The website doesn’t list the times. Guess I’ll have to listen to the station while cooking. What a hardship…

  14. re: the award design

    In the design world, open calls for public submissions are always about raising awareness of the thing being awarded or advertised, never for actually producing a professional quality design. As a rule, no one who does it professionally will ever enter.

    And this is one area where you kind of need a professional. Mass produced (anything more than a one-off) design needs to be designed with production methods in mind. It’s very easy to design something that is effectively impossible to make in large batches.

    The nature of the high-profile fan conventions are kind of a grey area in terms of this kind of thing.

    For a convention like Dragon Con or PAX to not pay upfront for things like professional design work would be ridiculous. And on the other end of the scale your local 500 person conventions can and should get away without paying for an amazing level of things with the right volunteer base.

    Now, where conventions like the Worldcon and World Fantasy fall on that scale is a tough question.

  15. Darn it, it would help if I checked the box, wouldn’t it. (sigh) I need it to just know what “/god-stalk” means. 😉

  16. So many ticky posts on this day after Thanksgiving — must be an epidemic of L-tryptophan poisoning!

  17. Pingback: Amazing Stories | AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 11/29/15 - Amazing Stories

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