Pixel Scroll 1/18/17 There’s A Pixel Scrolled Every Minute


(1) STILL AT THE DOCK. Unless you subscribed to CBS All Access especially to see this show, it won’t be a crisis for you: “Star Trek Discovery delayed, no longer has a release date”.

Those looking forward to Star Trek Discovery’s promised streaming debut in May will have to wait even longer. According to the The Hollywood Reporter, the premiere has been pushed back right as production is due to start and CBS finishes casting and script rewrites.

“This is an ambitious project; we will be flexible on a launch date if it’s best for the show,” a CBS rep said in a statement. “We’ve said from the beginning it’s more important to do this right than to do it fast. There is also added flexibility presenting on CBS All Access, which isn’t beholden to seasonal premieres or launch windows.”

“This is an ambitious series.”

The 13-episode Discovery was originally slated to premiere this month on CBS, but was pushed back to allow the producers to better “achieve a vision” fans of the franchise would appreciate. Since then, however, the series has been dogged by a slow casting process, as well as the departure of former showrunner Bryan Fuller.

(2) WHO IS #2? A few weeks ago Theodora Goss told her Facebook readers that she was one of two Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship recipients. I have now been able to learn the name of the second recipient from a contact at the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the University Oregon.

Roxanne Samer is a postdoctoral scholar and teaching fellow in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She holds a PhD in critical studies from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Samer coedited with William Whittington the book Gender, Sexuality, and Media: Audiences and Spectatorship, which is under contract with the University of Texas Press. She is also the editor of “Transgender Media,” a special issue of Spectator: The University of Southern California Journal of Film and Television Criticism 37.2 (Fall 2017). She will visit UO Libraries’ SCUA to do research toward fleshing out her dissertation, Receiving Feminisms: Media Cultures and Lesbian Potentiality in the 1970s, for publication as a book.

(3) POST-KINDERGARTEN GRADUATE STUDIES. Jason Sanford explains, “All I really need to know I learned from science fiction and fantasy stories”.

For example, from Arthur C. Clarke I learned that the ultimate destination of all humans is extinction. Even if some parts of humanity transcend reality, as in Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End, humanity as a species is destined to eventually disappear from this universe.

From Isaac Asimov I learned that even if our ultimate fate is to disappear, humanity can have an amazing ride while we exist.

From Ursula K. Le Guin I learned that culture shock can be both a way to awaken you to new intellectual horizons and to kill you….

(4) BLURB SEASON. Maya Kaathryn Bonhoff continues filking her way through the components of published fiction with “There’s a Bimbo on the Cover Verse 6: There’s a Blurb on the Cover” at Book View Café.

Verse 6:
There’s a blurb on the backside of the book.
There’s a blurb on the backside of the book.
There’s one story on the cover; inside the book’s another.
There’s a blurb on the backside of the book.

Blurbage (as I like to call it) is the collection of stuff one finds on the covers of one’s novel. If you publish with a mainstream house as the Café staff does, you are not always—dare I say almost never—in control of what goes on the cover. Blurbage (as I an using the term) is composed of several parts: …

(5) SOMETIMES THEY DO GET WEARY. Oliver Langmead tells his readers at Fantasy-Faction “Why I Don’t Like Dragons”.

As of recent years, I’ve found myself going through dragon fatigue. Much in the same way as zombies and vampires, it feels a little bit like we hit peak dragon a while ago (pun intended). This isn’t to say that dragons can’t be great. Sure they can. Just like zombies and vampires can be brilliant from time to time, when somebody finds a really refreshing angle on them, or when we’re talking about classic texts. Just that… in fantasy, the literature of the impossible, sometimes it can feel like writers are playing it a bit too safe.

(6) THE SOUND OF MUSING. Larry Correia has a great post about making choices that help stories succeed in more than one medium: “Ask Correia #17: Writing for the Ear, Tweaking Your Writing To Work Better in Audiobook Form” at Monster Hunter Nation.

Read your stuff out loud.

I don’t do this as much when I’m writing the first draft, but when I am editing, I will usually read everything aloud. Dialog that is unnatural, stilted, or weird is going to be obvious when you hear it, even if it looks okay when you see it.

If your family thinks you’ve gone insane, close the door or turn your radio up and get talking. Even if your writing isn’t going to get turned into an audiobook, this is still a valuable exercise to weed out stupid dialog or awkward descriptions. You don’t need to do voices, or be loud, just muttering it to yourself will usually reveal the awkward bits.

Keep in mind however, that in either format you do not want to write exactly like people talk. That’s because in real life most speakers use a lot of uhm… err… uh… pauses and brain farts.

If you write all those noises down that people make when they’re thinking of what to say, it becomes annoying for the reader. I try to use that stuff sparingly in fictional dialog, and when I do, I try to use it only when it is going to tell the reader something about that character. So if you’ve got somebody where it is important to convey their awkwardness, nervousness, or hesitancy, do it, but try not to overdo it. A realistic amount of ums and urrs will annoy readers and waste your listener’s time. Same with affections like ending every sentence with know what I’m saying? A little bit goes a long way. A good narrator is going to convey those character traits, and in written form you can convey that stuff through the story you tell around them.

Oh, and that one liner that sounded really super cool in your head? Reading it out loud will help you realize if it actually sucks.

(7) GAUTIER OBIT. His most notable role was a rock star, but he’s also known as a robot: “Dick Gautier, Who Played a Rock Star in ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ Is Dead” reports the New York Times.

Dick Gautier, a comic actor best known for his Tony-nominated performance as a vain rock ’n’ roll star in the Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie” and his recurring role as a robot with a heart on the television show “Get Smart,” died on Friday in Arcadia, Calif. He was 85.

A spokesman, Harlan Boll, said the cause was pneumonia.

Mr. Gautier had the square-jawed good looks of a leading man. But he also had a wild sense of humor — he began his career as a stand-up comedian — and for more than 50 years he was primarily a scene-stealing supporting player on sitcoms.


  • January 18, 1644 — John Winthrop documented the first known unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings in North America.


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

(10) WINNIE-THE-POOH DAY. And by a stunning coincidence, this is also Winnie-the-Pooh Day.

One of the cuddliest holidays around has to be Winnie the Pooh Day, celebrated on the birthday of author A A Milne. It’s one special anniversary fans just can’t bear to miss! Every year, the occasion is marked with events such as teddy bears’ picnics, featuring plenty of honey on the menu.

The only remaining question is whether someone will be along in a few minutes to tell us that the author is foisting off unwonted xtianity on the public, like the last time I posted something from the calendar.

(11) HERE’S MUD IN YOUR EYE. Observer says “NASA’S Rover Discovered Some Mud Cracks That Could Be Really, Really Important”.  But can they be that important? Did anyone threaten to move to another country when this made the news?

In recent weeks, scientists used NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover to examine slabs of rock cross-hatched with shallow ridges. All signs lead them to believe they’re mud cracks, which makes them the first to be confirmed on the Red Planet by the Curiosity mission.

“Even from a distance, we could see a pattern of four- and five-sided polygons that don’t look like fractures we’ve seen previously with Curiosity,” said Curiosity science team member Nathan Stein in NASA’s announcement. “It looks like what you’d see beside the road where muddy ground has dried and cracked.”

If this interpretation holds up, it would be evidence that the ancient era (three billion years ago) when these sediments were deposited included wet conditions, followed by drying. High resolution images have pointed to the existence of deltas, gullies and river valleys on Mars, which is why scientists view it as one of the places in our solar system most likely to be/have been home to alien life. (There are three others, according to NASA director of planetary science James Green).

(12) FAKE NEWS. This virtual award may not exist, but it was hotly contested: “The Shippy Awards 2016 Winners”

SHIPPY! Why yes, that is a drawing of a trophy that does not exist. IT IS THE MOST COVETED MADE UP TROPHY IN THE UNIVERSE.


Ultimate Ship Honors Best Ship of the Year

Feyre and Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas with 40.4% of the vote

Runners up: Kaz and Inej from Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, with 22.2% of the vote

This was by far the most highly voted category, but as you can see, one ship rather ran away with the competition.

Shippiest Book

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas with 37.7% of the vote

Runner up: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo with 37.2% of the vote

(Are you sensing a pattern/theme-ish thing? Get used to this pattern/theme-ish thing.)

And there are many more ship-themed categories.

(13) NOT A COINCIDENCE. Rich Horton shares his “Hugo Nomination Thoughts, Short Fiction: Novellas” at Strange at Ecbatan.

One more note to begin with – though I participate with a lot of enjoyment in Hugo nomination and voting every year, I am philosophically convinced that there is no such thing as the “best” story – “best” piece of art, period….

The other obvious point to make is that the great bulk of these stories are those that I included in my yearly anthology. There are a few that didn’t make it, for reasons of length, contractual situation, balance, or even that I might have missed a story by the deadline for the book.

(14) PAGEVIEWS. Sarah A. Hoyt gives nine pieces of good advice about “How to Build a Web Presence” at Mad Genius Club.

6- Post EVERY DAY.  If, like me this last week, you have to go AWL, have guest posts.  You’ll still lose readers and some of them won’t come back, but it’s better than dead air.  (Trust me.)  I don’t know why post every day works, except through “be habit forming.”

7- Police your community.  I actually have had to ban very few people, but remember the “drunken uncle at the wedding.”  If a poster is just there to attack and is making other people uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to ban him.  He might not be doing anything wrong, but his right to express himself doesn’t trump your right to have your normal commenters enjoy themselves. Also, if the community gets in an unpleasant rut, nudge them.  My commenters once, while I was asleep, misunderstood something someone posted and attacked.  He got defensive and they ran him off the blog.  You don’t want that, particularly if it’s someone interesting.

People who say they’re not responsible for the tone of their comment sections are disingenuous or clueless.  You can police just enough, intervening to break up things just enough that you keep it from becoming a snake pit without neutering it.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

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87 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/18/17 There’s A Pixel Scrolled Every Minute


    Oh it’s dragon this, and dragon that, and dragons thrice on Sundays, but how fare the lindworms; the fire drakes; the wing’ed serpents? This modern, dare I say, fetish for dragons resists informing us of these equally worthy beasts. Sadly, left to our own devices, we readers can only speculate as to these other creature’s habits, modes, and interior life. I fear today’s corrupt authorial class has failed us utterly!


    J. Smaug Wyvern III, Esquire

  2. Setting aside describing Lin Carter (much as I respect him as an editor & anthologist) as “one of the best writers of fantasy in the world”, the book Beyond the Gate of Dream is, in fact, a short story collection.

    And the title is BEYOND THE GATES OF DREAM.

    Leisure Books got the title wrong on the cover of the book. That’s some quality booking right there.

    They did get it right on the inside. Then again, it was a collection on the inside, too.

  3. @Dawn Incognito – What the??? I need to find that series and watch it.

    @Stoic –

    J. Smaug Wyvern III, Esquire

    Much LoL!

  4. Leisure Books got the title wrong on the cover of the book. That’s some quality booking right there.

    Right up there with Zebra misnumbering two of the Tros of Samothrace paperbacks. (They reversed numbers on Queen Cleopatra (cover showed 5; should have been 4) and The Purple Pirate (cover showed 4; should have been 5).

  5. Oh it’s dragon this, and dragon that, and dragons thrice on Sundays,

    O it’s Dragon this, an’ Dragon that, an’ “Dragon, get thee hence” ;
    But it’s “Thank you, Mister Wyvern,” when the lich begins to prey

  6. Oh! @Dawn Incognito – I vaguely remember that series now. I was one of those smug “I don’t even _own_ a TV” types back when that series was airing, so I missed it.

    When I grew out of that… man. I binge-watched six Simpsons seasons, a bunch of X Files; watched 12 Monkeys, The Usual Suspects, and other movies I’d thought were too “trashy.” Ugh.

    Strangely enough, I _did_ watch Animaniacs and Space Ghost Coast to Coast during a couple of those dark years.

  7. @Anthony


    (I knew that rhythm was in my head from somewhere but Kipling just didn’t pop to mind.)

  8. Hmm. Maybe someone should write an actual novel called BEYOND THE GATE OF DREAM that fits the description Leisure put on the back…

  9. In nonfiction: The Lost City of the Monkey God: a true story, by Douglas Preston. Preston weaves together three stories. One is of the adventurers, con men, and looters who’ve searched the jungles of eastern Honduras for the last century and a half, chasing the legend of the abandoned “White City” of an ancient culture.

    The second is of the expeditions that actually found and discovered the city–cities, in fact, at least two areas that were so built-up and human-modified we’d have to call them “cities”, and the culture that produced them a “civilization”. The scientists used very high-tech LIDAR to detect the cities beneath jungle canopies, but establishing “ground truth” required them to hack their way into one of the few remaining unexplored regions on the planet — to discover structures and artifacts that were undisturbed and unlooted, and probably had been so for 500 years.

    The third story is about diseases: the epidemics brought by Columbus that probably killed more than 90% of the people in the cities before the survivors fled, and the outbreak of leishmaniasis that struck the expedition, including Preston. Leish is a horrible, flesh-eating trypanosomal disease spread by sandfly bites; the variety Preston and company got appears to be a new one, quite possibly dating to the time of the city’s abandonment. Almost like a curse, in fact.

    The Lost City of the Monkey God is really good nonfiction, mixing the stuff of action-adventure (snakes! crystal[ish] skulls! helicopters!) with reality (colonialism! corruption! drug cartels!) and science. I read it almost in one sitting.

  10. Kurt Busiek on January 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm said:
    Hmm. Maybe someone should write an actual novel called BEYOND THE GATE OF DREAM that fits the description Leisure put on the back…

    If I ever do NaNoWriMo …

  11. @Doctor Science – I’ve enjoyed Preston’s writing, particularly with Lincoln Child. I think I’d read about this book before and felt “meh” about it, but that sounds great! Thanks for the review.

  12. Okay, looking into it, I think I’m conflating “The Lost City of the Monkey God” with another Preston book. Much embarrassment.

  13. several dozen infant sea turtles
    We had box turtles for about 40 years (not all the same ones all the time, but continuously). After we’d had one pair for about 10 years, the female started nesting. One year, four hatched (they lay 4 to 8 eggs) – we had, fortunately, put a fence and a wire mesh lid over the location – and promptly disappeared into the weeds. (They’re about the size of a quarter, and colored like a stalk of dry grass over shadowed dirt. It’s wonderful camouflage.)


    Or, as Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh said,
    “Young girls they do get woolly”

    I can’t believe that movie is nearly 30 years old.

  15. Scrolls? Where we’re going we don’t need scrolls.

    I have always depended on the pixels of scrollers.

  16. Bill: “Young girls they do get woolly”

    That’s what I really wanted to write. Had I been certain one other person would get it, I would have!

  17. @DoctorScience : Thanks for the Book report (let me just say, that I really like reading all book reports here, so keep them up!) – It goes on my list 🙂

    With a similiar topic I can really, really, recommend David Granns “The lost city of Z”, about Percy Fawcetts final lost expedition (sso a jaor motion picture) – Grann does a fantastic job of writing about Fawcett, but also about the speculation that followed. He also tries to follow some footsteps himself and gets lost, which also is great. And -very rare in a non-fiction book – there even is a cool twist at the end (of course, if you read about this topic already, you might know that, but if not youre in for a surprise). This book blew me away and even inspired a game (“The lost expeidtion”, coming in Summer from osprey Games). Read it!

  18. @Mike Glyer “That’s what I really wanted to write. ”

    You should have. It would have announced your presence with authority.

  19. Maybe someone should write an actual novel called BEYOND THE GATE OF DREAM

    Beyond the gate of Dream, you find Neil Gaiman, saying “Oi, this is my patch.”

  20. “Scroll ’em. They’re pixels. Scroll ’em.”

    I was pleased to see that the Durham Bulls sell Lollygaggers T-shirts.

  21. Beyond the gate of Dream, you find Neil Gaiman, saying “Oi, this is my patch.”

    That hardly sounds like Neil at all.

    Plus, if he did that he’d point out that it’s all DC’s.

  22. If you liked Bull Durham, it’s worth keeping an eye out for Long Gone, a movie about minor leaguers set in the 1950s. It covers a lot of the same ground as Bull Durham but came out a year earlier. It has a strong cast (William Petersen in the Costner role, Virginia Madsen in the Sarandon role). The father-and-son owners are played by Henry Gibson and Teller (the silent half of the magician team Penn and Teller), who has a speaking (!) role. They look enough alike to be quite believable as father and son.

  23. Around 35-or-so years ago, Sphere (in the UK) published a new paperback edition of one of Zelazny’s Amber series, whose blurb purported to be a description of the central character, Corwin.

    As it happens, that particular book features a multi-chapter description of recent events addressed to Corwin by his brother Random. The blurb had evidently been based on text within Random’s exposition, and actually described Random rather than Corwin.

  24. (10) WINNIE-THE-POOH DAY. This has some kind of Christian connection? Huh. I thought someone was going to complain about it being a default kid’s story or something. ;-P

    @Dawn Incognito: Thanks for the book reports! 😀 Join‘s been on my list for a while. I loved After Atlas! I’m reading A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab and enjoying it so far, though mostly seeds are being sown and I’m not at the fruit-bearing part of the book just yet.

    @Paul & @Steve Wright: (Jane Austen via Daleks) – ROFLMAO!


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