Pixel Scroll 1/18/16 The 770 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

(1) USED BOOK LOVE. Eric Flint weighs in: “How Should An Author Look On Used Book Sales”.

I ran across this blog by the author Kristen Lamb:


…while reading this article by Rachel Kramer Bussel in Salon magazine:

Don’t feel guilty

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or who has read any of the essays I’ve written in the past on copyright laws and online piracy that I generally agree with Bussel’s stance and disagree with Lamb’s. But there are some issues involved that Bussel doesn’t address which I think are actually more important than the ones she does. Another way to put it is that I don’t think she goes far enough. The essence of her argument is that the situation is more complicated than Lamb presents it as being, and is not an either/or situation. While it is true that a book sold in a used book store may represent an immediate loss to an author, it can be made up for in the long run by exposing more people to that author….

To make a living as a full time writer, or even to derive a significant income from writing, an author has to constantly recreate their readership base. The process is dynamic, not static. And the main way an author does so is by having that huge penumbra of free books—“free,” at least, from the author’s standpoint—surrounding the much smaller number of books which get sold in a way that brings direct income.

That’s why Lamb’s view of the matter is so skewed. She’s right that it’s an either/or situation, but she doesn’t understand that the relationship between “either” and “or” is a necessary and beneficial one.

(2) MARKETING TO “FANGIRLS”. Her Universe Press drew the attention of the New York Times in “Narrowing a Gap in the Sci-Fi Universe: One Fangirl Giving a Voice to Others”.

Ashley Eckstein, a self-described sci-fi fangirl, believes women like her are often overlooked. So several years ago she started a company to sell apparel featuring brands like Doctor Who, Star Trek and Star Wars to other fangirls. Now, believing those same women need a voice, she is expanding into publishing….

“Liking Star Wars is not a trend; it’s part of who you are,” she said, adding that she was disturbed to see women harassed for liking sci-fi and fantasy. “It was troubling to me; it was painful for fangirls.”

Mrs. Eckstein started her company, Her Universe, in 2009 after searching for a Star Wars T-shirt at a comic book convention. Unable to find anything suited for women, she instead saw an opportunity to target an overlooked consumer. Her company has since expanded from convention and Internet sales to include retail partners like Hot Topic and, starting in March, Kohl’s, which will sell a line of Her Universe active wear.

Now, Mrs. Eckstein sees another opportunity, this time as a publisher of sci-fi novels written by women. She said she got the idea after receiving unsolicited manuscripts at conventions. “Fans would hand me a book and say, ‘I wrote a story and could not get it published,’ ” she said. “I would come home with stacks of books.”

(3) NOR-CON GETS A REMATCH. Norwich’s local science fiction convention is back after a year’s hiatus.

The annual science fiction spectacular was missing from the calendar last year, but details have been announced for a revamped event in October at a larger venue and with the promise of even more for sci-fi fans to look forward to…

Mark Dean, director of Nor-Con Events Limited, said: “We’ve had a year’s break to restructure and rebrand. Due to demand we’ve moved to a larger venue at the Norfolk Showground, which will allow us to have more people, more exhibits and exhibits that will be able to move around like the Daleks and R2-D2s because we’ve got the space.”

As well as celebrities signing autographs and taking part in question and answer sessions, there will be exhibitions, demonstrations, trader stands as well as the Norwich Star Wars Club UK, comic artists and cosplay – “costume play” – groups.

This con made the “crime news” in 2013

When police arrived at the Norwich Sci-Fi and Film Convention on May 12 they found around a dozen fans belonging to two rival groups involved in a bitter exchange outside. The convention’s hosts, members of the Norwich Star Wars Club of the University of East Anglia, had refused entry to some fans from the rival Norwich Sci Fi Club.

The BBC reported this story under the misleading headline “Star Wars and Doctor Who fans clash at Norwich convention”

(4) CRITICS’ CHOICE. The 2016 Critics’ Choice Awards were presented at a ceremony broadcast by A&E on January 18.

Mad Max: Fury Road dominated the Film division. It was the winner in nine categories including Best Action Movie, Best Actor (Tom Hardy), Best Actress (Charlize Theron) Best Director (George Miller), and Best Visual Effects.

Inside Out won Best Animated Feature.

Ex Machina was named Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie.

In the Television division, Mr. Robot was named Best Drama Series, and its cast members won Best Actor in a Drama Series (Rami Malek) and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Christian Slater).

Outlander was selected as the Best Binge-Worthy Show.

Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik received the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Also, Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won Best Actress in a Comedy Series. (File 770 keeps track of her successes because of the Hugo-nominated Ray Bradbury music video she did back in the day.) Popsugar reports:

After the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards, you should know who Rachel Bloom is. The star of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend took home the Critics’ Choice Award for her role on the musical comedy on Sunday. She was clearly shocked to be taking home yet another award,…

(5) ADAMS OBIT. Television’s Grizzly Adams, actor Dan Haggerty, died January 15 at the age of 73. His New York Times obituary lists horror movies he made late in his careerTerror Night (1987), Elves (1989) — playing an alcoholic mall Santa — and Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013).

(6) SCOTTY WOULD APPROVE. A Guardian story tells us, “Star Trek stars endorse SNP’s bid to establish Europe’s first spaceport”.

The Star Trek stars William Shatner and George Takei have backed the Scottish National party’s ambition to establish Europe’s first spaceport in the UK.

The SNP MP Philippa Whitford led a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday on the future of the UK space industry, which she concluded by giving the Vulcan salute. The MP made the case for a spaceport to be established in her constituency of Central Ayrshire….

Welcoming the SNP debate, the actor William Shatner, Star Trek’s Captain James T Kirk, issued a statement that was read out to MPs: “Space is one of the last known frontiers mostly untouched by mankind and his politics. In opening a debate on this subject, my hope is you take the tenets of Star Trek’s prime directive to universally and peacefully share in the exploration of it. I wish you all a wonderful debate. My best, Bill.”

George Takei, Star Trek’s Lieutenant Sulu, tweeted his support: “I wish the SNP and the House of Commons well on their debate about their space program tomorrow. #WhereNoBritHasGoneBefore


  • January 18, 2008 — After much secrecy, Cloverfield makes its theatrical debut.  An Easter egg in the movie has the sea monster from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which was based on Ray Bradbury’s short story The Foghorn appearing in the driver side mirror of one of the cars.


  • Born January 18, 1882  — A.A. Milne.

(9) TRUE BLUE. The Cirque du Soleil is doing a new show in the Avatar universe.

It’s been six years in the making, and now Cirque du Soleil’s “Toruk” is setting up camp in North American stadiums, bringing audiences the magical world of the moon Pandora and its inhabitants from James Cameron’s blockbuster “Avatar.” …

The story of “Toruk” is set 3,000 years before “Avatar,” long before humans set foot on Pandora.  It tells of a quest to find the mysterious creature Toruk, the only one who can save the sacred Tree of Souls from destruction

(10) THE SIMPSONS. Despite the Huffington Post’s clickbait headline, neither David Bowie nor Alan Rickman appeared in this 2013 episode of The Simpsons, however, what Benedict Cumberbatch does in the clip makes it worth 60 seconds of your time —

In the parody film Bart watches, a Hugh Grant-version of the Prime Minister, who is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, proclaims his love for a lower class lady named Eliza Commonbottom.

The two kiss, and a Pandora’s box of silly British pop cultural references is opened, which includes one of Rickman’s most famed portrayals, Snape (whom Cumberbatch also voiced), and a Bowie-penned song ‘All the Young Dudes’.

Oh, and there’s a ‘Doctor Who’ reference in the form of a TARDIS for good measure too – obviously.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, Andrew Porter, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day, myself…]

271 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/18/16 The 770 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

  1. Whoops, forgot to keep up on this thread the last couple of days! I love all the “___ Destroys SF” variations, especially the get offa my lawn one.

    @JJ: “Filers Destroy Science Fiction!” – Hahahaha, haven’t we already destroyed SF? 😉

    @Tasha Turner: “Or have 2 of the guest editors be Daniel Jose Older (new work) and S T Joshi (essays)” – LOL, well done!

    @Various: For various reasons I feel “Elders Destroy SF” is fine (and it’s my favorite), but other ideas are also groovy, so no biggie. I don’t care for Seniors, but in maybe it’s even better. Hmm, I just remembered “Elder” is also a Mormon term. My first encounter with Mormons was meeting two, one of them named “Elder Child” and it confused my teenaged self – unfamiliar with Morman titles – something fierce! “Hey isn’t that a contradiction?” I’m sure he heard that a lot. (blush)

    Anyway, now we just need to get JJA to do this thing. . . .

    (BTW credit where due, someone else mentioned the conservatives-destroy-SF thing before I chimed in saying I’d thought of something similar. @Bruce Arthurs, maybe? I’m too lazy/tired/feckless/incompetent/cold/pick-one to go check, sorry.)


  2. E-BOOKS (or EBOOKS, if you like)

    @Rev. Bob: I like that license!

    @Mark (Kitteh): “that backlist effect – a fairly cheap ebook of something I own in paper usually tempts me.”

    Heh, I’m tempted to pick up an ebook on sale for a book I bought in the past year in print, ‘cuz I believe I’m more likely to read it in ebook.

    @Ryan H: “Paying more based on how urgently you want to read something is basically the basis of the publishing industry. I’m baffled why anyone thought that would change regardless of media.”

    Oh, yes! Thanks for pointing this out.

    I get a bit amused at how I feel like sometimes people (myself includes) undervalue ebooks. You get search – something impossible in print – and a few other features. Granted, print has its own unique features and drawbacks, too. But as much as I love physical books, searching makes ebooks a bit better, IMHO.

    I’m not saying I want to pay $25-$30 for an ebook, mind you! Heck, I’m struggling with whether to buy the DRM-encumbered* City of Blades or wait a while. 😉

    * Yes, yes, DRM can be removed. I don’t bother; IMHO what a PITA.

    Shoot, I remember paying a ridiculous amount for a used copy of Wen Spencer’s Tainted Trail, in not fantastic condition, because it was bafflingly out-of-print and tougher to find than the first and next books! That’s not the only one like that, either. But that’s pretty unusual. Hmm, maybe I’ve wandered off-topic a bit.

    Anyway, interesting ebook pricing/buying/etc. discussion. My habits are still evolving!

  3. I’m really late in responding.

    _Destroys SFF was a lot of fun. I’m trying to collect it all and see if I can find some place to post it.

    @Rev. Bob

    I’ve had the most delightful Twitter conversations with Dakota Cassidy over her “Accidentals” series being comic UF (my position) vs. PNR (hers). It’s good-natured fun, of course. I just love playing on the idea that since I’m reading the books and I’m a guy, obviously they can’t be PNR. After all, everybody knows Real Men don’t read PNR, right?

    A few years ago I was researching what is UF as a target marketing exercise. I was also reading something by Ilona Andrews about Kate Daniels. My joking conclusion was

    UF written by men and/or read by men except for (list…) – now there was some kind of UF before the 1980s which I’ve not pinned down, 1980 UF was more gender balanced and Cities really did have personality, 200x UF changed again and lost easy definition as many women reading and writing it get thrown into/confused with PNR)

    PNR written by women and/or read by women except for (list…) – from what I could tell while doing research at one time this really was Romance (HEA or HFN) in with paranormal/supernatural elements but 200x see above… I used to read the older style PNR although it was more erotic than I realized at the time – Christine Feeham among others.

    I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read by Dakota Cassidy and have more sitting in the kindle cloud awaiting my finding time.

  4. @Mike Glyer
    If I got _Destroy SFF INTO some kind of reasonable order and format continuing to promote the POC Destroy SFF would you have any interest as posting is a front page item?

  5. Tasha: If it’s something you’ve already done can I get a look in email? mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com

  6. Once I’ve finished it I’ll email it to you. Right now it’s a mish mash mess. I’d prefer to send you something cleaned up. It took a couple days to collect most of the quotes. I’m working on putting the conversations in order and adding basic formatting. Order is about 90% complete. Formatting I’m not so sure about. Hoping to work on the computer instead of iPad tomorrow which should make cleaning it up go much faster.

  7. @Tasha: (UF vs PNR)

    My main rule of thumb is, what’s the focus? If it’s about people falling in love, that’s a romance even if it involves otherworldly elements. If it’s about magic and monsters and such*, that’s a fantasy even if there’s a romantic element.

    Thus, to my mind, Dakota’s “Accidentals” books are PNR – even though what I most enjoy is the humor. (And Nina. Gotta love Nina.) C.E. Murphy’s “Urban Shaman” series is UF; even though there’s romance, the books are about combating magical threats. Both authors are women, both series have kissing scenes, but that’s the main course in one and a side dish in the other.

    * Yes, I simplify.

  8. @Rev Bob
    I’d agree with you. But based on how things get classified by publishing house marketing, authors, and readers on Goodreads it doesn’t seem they work out the way they should

    I think on my FB client group I have a 10-20 page paper on the topic. “How it should be” vs “how it is” takes up a few pages. It was an exercise I asked my clients to do and I did it to give them an example and noted their genres were all much easier to cover than mine.

  9. @Tasha Turner: Thanks for collecting the info, which is probably really tedious, given how that went on for a while. 😉 (bowing)

    @Rev. Bob: Good contrast of UF and PNR, and one I think I’ll subscribe to. I mean, the point (for me) is to describe, so I don’t expect my labels to always match publishers’ or book stores’ labels.

    @Tasha Turner: They don’t work right, and it’s annoying! 😉

  10. @Kendall:

    I use a similar line to divide fantasy from horror. If the author’s trying to scare you, it’s horror. If the vampires and zombies and werewolves are generally decent folks trying to get by, it’s fantasy. Thus, Stoker’s Dracula is horror, but Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tape (and the rest of the series) is fantasy – even though both books are recounting the same events, but from different perspectives. (Stoker: “Look at the scary vampire!” Saberhagen: “Look at the supernatural creature protecting his family!”)

  11. That sounds familiar (and sensible) (possibly you’ve mentioned that one before), thanks, @Rev. Bob. 🙂

  12. @Kendall:

    I never repeat myself! You hear me? I never repeat myself! Let me say that again – I never repeat myself!


  13. Rev. Bob: I never repeat myself! You hear me? I never repeat myself! Let me say that again – I never repeat myself!

    I’ve told you a thousand times, don’t make exaggerated claims — it really damages your credibility. 😉

  14. Great definitions and comments. I didn’t end up working on my computer. Instead I spent the day on the phone with doctors, doctor offices, and the pharmacy. Tomorrow may be more of the same. Looking for a cardiologist who can see me before my gallbladder surgeon to make sure the latest blip won’t prevent me from having surgery. Wish me luck.

  15. Tasha Turner, luck! (If it helps, my husband had laproscopic gall bladder surgery a few years ago; the recovery was relatively quick and relatively easy.)

  16. @Rev. Bob: I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that; could you tell me one more time? 😉

    @Tasha Turner: Wishing you luck and a smooth(er) health process!

  17. @Cassy B
    I’m looking forward to the gallbladder surgery. I’d like to stop being in pain and be able to eat again. The new heart problem may cause problems having the surgery and that worries me. I know anyone in their right mind would be worried about the heart problem itself but abnormal heart beats run in the family plus none of my health problems ever turn out to be seriously life threatening just chronically annoying. We keep finding something new. I’m always a treat for new doctors as we discuss organs/body parts I don’t have/are in the wrong place/wrong size as well as funky surgeries I’ve had.

    Thanks for the good wishes.

  18. Tasha, please let us know when you in for surgery, and if there’s anything we can do for you besides good thoughts / prayers (as appropriate).

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