Pixel Scroll 12/16/17 The Hoboken Pixel Emergency

(1) #MAPPINGFANTASY. Alex Acks and Paul Weimer taught their “Mapping Fantasy” online class today. Cat Rambo tweeted the highlights – jump onto the thread here:

(2) PURINA ALIEN CHOW. Food & Wine investigates “How Hollywood’s Sci-Fi Food Stylists Create Futuristic Meals”.

For Janice Poon, one of TV’s most popular food stylists and a frequent collaborator with Bryan Fuller (American Gods, Hannibal, Pushing Daisies), food styling for the future is as much about taking cues from the script or the world around you as it is about pushing your imaginary limits—within production capability, of course.

Poon refers to the script, pulling the tone and character motivations from a food scene, before brainstorming alongside her showrunner (and sometimes even a cinematographer) on how a spread will look. However, Poon says that “because it is sci-fi, you can do just about anything really.” To do just about anything, Poon uses conventional tools like wet wipes and syringes, but also “an ability to problem solve” and a four and a half inch white ceramic santoku knife that enables Poon to work in the darkness of a set

(3) STRAHAN CALLING. Even as Jonathan Strahan’s 2017 best of the year collection is being readied for publication, he’s looking ahead to 2018 — Call for stories: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol. 13.

I edit The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year anthology series for Solaris Books. The twelfth volume in the series will be published in April 2018, and the thirteenth volume will appear in March 2019.

I am currently reading for the 2018 volume, and am looking for stories from all branches of science fiction and fantasy: space opera to cyberpunk, fairy tales to the slipstream, or anything else that might qualify. If in doubt, please send it.


This is a reprint anthology. Stories must have been published for the first time between 1 January and 31 December 2018 to be considered.


The submission deadline for this year’s book is:

1 November 2018

Anything sent after this deadline will reach me too late, as I  deliver the final book to the publisher in late December. If a magazine, anthology, or collection you are in or you edit is coming out before 31 December 2018 please send galleys or manuscripts so that I can consider the stories in time.

(4) GALACTIC STARS. Meanwhile, The Traveler recognizes the best sff of 1962 in See the Stars at Galactic Journey.

Best Novelette

The Ballad of Lost C’Mell, Cordwainer Smith (Galaxy)

The second time an Instrumentality tale has gotten a Star… and this one is better.

(5) CENTENARY PROJECT. The Clarke Award’s’ Kickstarter to fund “2001: An Odyssey in Words” has started. In this original anthology honoring Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s centenary year every story is precisely two thousand and one words long.

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is famous for its annual redefinition of that elusive term ‘science fiction,’ and Sir Arthur was always adamant that while the award may be named for him, it shouldn’t be styled on his work.

We wanted to make sure that the scope of the anthology was as broad as the fluid definition of science fiction for which the Clarke Award is renowned, while still retaining a direct acknowledgement of Sir Arthur’s own work.

The solution? A collection where every story has all the scope and freedom to imagine that an author might possibly want, but where the word count had to be precisely 2001 words (and we had rules about authors playing clever games with super-long story titles, just to make sure).

(5) CLARKE CENTENARY IN SOCIAL MEDIA. Here are tweets from some of the groups celebrating the day.

  • And I applaud Gideon Marcus for staying in character –

(6) RIVALRY. From 2015, Adam Rowe at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog fondly remembers “The Decades-Long Flame War Between Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov”.

While introducing his Asimov at an event in London, Clarke had plenty of time to prepare his choicest insults.

“Well, Isaac, I’ve lost my bet. There are more than five people here,” he opened. “I’m not going to waste any time introducing Isaac Asimov. That would be as pointless as introducing the equator, which indeed, he’s coming to resemble more and more closely.”

(7) SUPERBOOTS ON THE GROUND. Andrew Liptak combed through all sci-fi media and came up with a list of “18 suits of power armor from science fiction you don’t want to meet on the battlefield” in The Verge. Here’s one of them:

Goliath Mk ? Powersuit, James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse

In The Expanse, Mars possesses the most advanced military force in the solar system, and its elite Marines are trained to operate in deep space, onboard spaceships, and planetary surfaces. They come decked out in a powerful suit of armor called the Goliath Powersuit. This armor completely protects its wearer, providing life support and armor, as well as a heads up display to help soldiers with targeting. They also come equipped with guns mounted directly into their arms, and carry a small rack of missiles on their backs.

These suits will resist small arms fire, and are small enough that they can be used inside the narrow corridors of a spaceship. But they’re not invincible, as Bobbie Draper’s Marines discovered on Ganymede during the television show’s second season.


Lillian Disney (wife of Walt) came up with the name Mickey Mouse.


  • December 16, 1901 — Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published
  • December 16, 1981 Beach Babes from Beyond premiered.
  • December 16, 2016Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released.


  • Born December 16, 1775 — Jane Austen
  • Born December 16, 1917 — Arthur C. Clarke
  • Born December 16, 1927 — Randall Garrett
  • Born December 16, 1927 — Peter Dickinson
  • Born December 16, 1928 — Philip K. Dick
  • Born December 16, 1957 — Lenore Jean Jones
  • Born December 16, 1981 — Krysten Ritter (aka Jessica Jones)

(11) SWORD OF LIGHT. In honor of the release of The Last Jedi, Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett sent along this quote from Kaldar, World of Antares written by Edmond Hamilton and originally published in 1933:

With the tunic went a belt in which were a sword and a tube such as he had noticed. Merrick examined these weapons of the Corlans carefully. The sword seemed at first glance a simple long rapier of metal. But he found that when his grip tightened on the hilt it pressed a catch which released a terrific force stored in the hilt into the blade, making it shine with light. When anything was touched by this shining blade, he found, the force of the blade annihilated it instantly. He learned that the weapon was called a light-sword, due to the shining of the blade when charged, and saw that it was truly a deadly weapon, its touch alone meaning annihilation to any living thing.

(12) BELIEVE IT OR NOT. The price is unbelievable! “Check out an original ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber valued at $450,000”.

Starting Saturday, and just in time for the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” visitors to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Hollywood, California, will be able to see the iconic prop in person.

Ripley’s purchased the saber hilt for a whopping $450,000 at an auction last June held by Profiles in History. The auction house specializes in Hollywood memorabilia and acquired the prop from the collection of Gary Kurtz, a producer on “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” It’s the first time the prop has been put on public display.

(13) LYRICAL MIRACLE. This thread started in 2013 but gets rediscovered every time a new Star Wars movie comes out – begins here:


(14) HURLEY. BEWARE SPOILERS in Kameron Hurley’s review “The Last Jedi: Promises, Pitfalls, and What Sticks With You”. (No spoilers in this excerpt.)

I came out of watching The Last Jedi, and was like, “Well, that was good, but I’m not blown away.” It had a lot of threads; it felt like three movies in one, and cramming all that story into one movie made it feel a little bloated. The story beats weren’t that clockwork structure that The Force Awakens and the original trilogy stuck to. There were a couple of massive emotional moments that needed to be paid off more than we got.

And yet.

And yet this morning I find that I can’t stop thinking about it. Stories are, at their heart, about characters. If I’m invested in the characters and their struggles, you can fall down on plot and no one cares….

(15) I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS A SPOILER. If it is, don’t read it.


(16) MODERATE PRAISE. The Hugo Award Book Club concluded “The Stone Sky is the echo of a great book”, but they’d still like to give it an award:

The first book in the series, The Fifth Season, was innovative and unique. It offered a refreshing take on science fiction and fantasy that unquestionably deserved the Hugo Award. But The Stone Sky does not stand on its own. It is good, but mostly because it is an echo of a truly great book.

It might be more appropriate to honour N.K. Jemisin with a Best Series Hugo this year, rather than another Best Novel, because that would recognize how The Stone Sky works as part of a larger whole.

(17) SUMMATION. John Crowley’s Ka is a book-length historical fantasy about a crow. The author has been profiled by an area paper: “Conway author’s handwritten ode to birdwatching”.

The book was written while “looking out at Baptist Hill and watching people mow their lawns, and watching crows fly around.” Crowley explained in a recent interview about what went into the makings of “Ka” and how his living in Conway for nearly the last 35 years influenced his work.

The narrator of the novel, “feels like he is living in a country different from where he grew up,” after moving back home, he explained.

Crowley himself grew up in Brattleboro, Vt., moved to Indiana for college, and then New York City for some professional years, where he wrote his critically acclaimed, “Little, Big.” He eventually returned to New England.

Crowley said the narrator of the novel “says to himself that he is surprised by seeing kinds of birds that he doesn’t remember seeing when he was a child … the Canada geese use to fly overhead and still do, but they’re not going south anymore.”

Things like climate change, but also other elements that just sometimes change with generations, have thrown off this narrator.

“Things like that have changed his feelings about the world and saddened him … If I’m going to leave the world, it’s not the world I began in,” Crowley said about the protagonist.

(18) UNIDENTIFIED FLYING TRAILER. Avengers: Infinity War Reality Stone Trailer (2018). Is this a fan trailer or official?

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

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39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/16/17 The Hoboken Pixel Emergency

  1. “Hoboken?
    Oooo, I’m Dyin!”

    1) Yep, I think the class went well. Alex took the first half and laid down Geology beats, and I took the second half and went nuts on mappage.

    Fun fact: Apparently no one who has taught a class for Cat before has brought powerpoints to the lessons…

    …Seperately, Alex and I each brought one.

    Theirs was all about geological landforms and features, drainage basins, and the like. Mine was all mappage, including several ones made by myself to help illustrate the principles I was talking about.

  2. Ooh, I made the birthday list! Thanks, Mike! It’s my 60th, actually, so 1957.

    Sang in chorus concert tonight; brunch with friends and family tomorrow. A nice weekend.

    ETA: And I live in Hoboken!

    (Sacrificial fourth)

  3. (6) Before anyone is inspired, remember that both contrahents need to be as witty and deft at turning a phrase as them before you start.

    (13) @Kip W: I’d say “force” and “sword” is a perfectly valid rhyme, since they share a stressed wovel sound. Generally, the meter is more important in songwriting than the rhyming too. It’s close enough for filk, in this case.

  4. Re “force” and “sword”: it’s a near rhyme, or a half rhyme, or an imperfect rhyme, or a lazy rhyme. I’ll leave it up to everyone else to discuss whether it scans or not.

  5. (17) Canada geese have gotten much less interested in going to all the bother of migrating. Here in 3342, we have renamed them “winged rats.”

  6. 2. “because it is sci fi you can do just about anything”


    She works with Bryan Fuller. For reasons of confidentiality, I can’t mention what show he is working on.

    Great. Just effin great. I wonder if that’s her interpretation, or if it is what she has been told.

    Just. Effin. Great.

  7. Happy birthday, Lenore! You get a Hoboken-themed scroll and one with birds in it.

    @17 Mike, thanks for the Crowley link: that’s one for Mount TBR.

    The Canada geese are at least developing different populations, if not speciating: after geese flying into the engines caused the crash of a passenger jet out of LaGuardia a few years ago (the “Miracle on the Hudson”), the investigators looked into whether the culprits were migratory birds or a non-migratory population.

    No, migratory geese don’t carry passports: year-round resident and migratory birds have different isotopes in their bones, because they were born and grew to maturity in different places. New York’s migratory population nest, and are born and develop, in Labrador, not just Canada geese but Canadian. If they flew further south for the winter, they’d count as snowbirds.

  8. 13. I would say that if it’s only the vowel that corresponds, it’s assonance, not rhyming.

  9. Scroll your pixel wings and file away
    And take the fifth back with you
    Where it came from on that day
    The god I stalk forever is untrue
    And if I could you know that I would
    File away with you

  10. Jack, the whole thing’s cromulent. I especially like how easily the first line can be detached for utility purposes. So often, I come up with ones that can’t be quoted in fewer than seven lines, so kudos.

  11. Meredith Moment:

    The Lord of the Rings is on sale as three individual volumes at $2.99 each at Amazon.

    Dragonfield and other Stories by Jane Yolen is also on sale for $1.99.

    Here in 716, it’s fiendishly hard to charge a Kindle.

  12. More Meredithing: A few days ago someone pointed at “Fluency” by Jennifer Foehner Wells being on sale cheap, currently Amazon UK has the sequel “Remanence” for 99p and the sequel to the sequel “Inheritance” for £1.99.

  13. Anthony: A few days ago someone pointed at “Fluency” by Jennifer Foehner Wells being on sale cheap, currently Amazon UK has the sequel “Remanence” for 99p and the sequel to the sequel “Inheritance” for £1.99.

    Remanence is also on sale in the U.S. for 99 cents, and Inheritance for $2.99.

  14. Lis Carey on December 17, 2017 at 1:45 am said:

    (17) Canada geese have gotten much less interested in going to all the bother of migrating. Here in 3342, we have renamed them “winged rats.”

    When I lived in New Jersey we called them Canada Non-Migratory Geese.

  15. Note that Inheritance was previously released as The Druid Gene, and it looks as though Wells has retconned it into her Confluence series even though it does not share any characters with Fluency and Remanence. 😐 (<– this is me looking unimpressed.)

    However, there is another book which is genuinely part of the series out now, Valence, which is on sale for $2.99.

  16. Additional Bonus Meredith Moment:

    Walter Jon Williams has wrested his Dagmar Shaw series back from the original publisher, and has celebrated by putting the first book, This Is Not a Game, on sale for 99 cents at Amazon US as well as the other usual venues.

  17. Lis, I’m not convinced that any of the geese in our area migrate right now, let alone up when you are; dealing with them is a test in ingenuity. My vote goes to the golf course that taught a border collie that geese belonged in the water hazard, not on the course; since they were there for the grass rather than the water plants, they didn’t stay. OTOH, at least these are leavings (the usual story is that their ancestors were live decoys; when that was outlawed, the released survivors had mostly lost migratory tropisms — and gotten larger, improving their survival); three steps into Kew Gardens, I looked at the walk and realized they had geese — they’d imported Canada geese because some dimbulb thought they were ornamental, not realizing that they were primarily the most efficient converters of grass to droppings.

  18. 2. “because it is sci fi you can do just about anything”

    Great. Just effin great. I wonder if that’s her interpretation, or if it is what she has been told.

    She’s a food stylist for TV. She’s not talking about plot, she’s talking about making the food look exotic and strange.

    If she was food-styling for a story set in Ancient Rome, she’d be constrained by a specific, established culture and history. In doing it for an SF setting, she’s freer to make stuff up — but even there, as the article notes, she’s reacting to the script, characters, mood and so on.

    I expect that if AMAZING STORIES has episodes set in, say, Ohio in the 1950s, she’ll style the food appropriately, even if the plot has SF elements. But if she’s styling food for a banquet scene on an alien world in the future, she can do weird stuff.

    In a one-line comment, she’s not going to do a thesis on food in all possible SF settings. She’s just commenting that it’s fun to play, when appropriate.

  19. Chip, I don’t know if you’re aware, but I’m now in Lowell. Spent some time in a shelter, and now have a tiny little studio apartment, which is all I need, now that I’ve given up print books.

    I agree that a border collie who knows geese belong in the water is a great solution to Canada geese.

    I was going to express disbelief that anyone would be gullible enough to import them, but then, of course, Australians imported rabbits to a continent where they had no natural predators, so…

  20. @Lis — I do know (even if I didn’t actually lend a hand for that move); I was referring to your time, not your place. (That’s why I said “up when you are”. wrt imports, bear in mind that the person responsible was probably more of a botanist than a zoologist, which means that he was more used to biota that stayed where he put them.

  21. @John A. Akransawyer: I, uh, wut?! LOL, thanks for posting that Unipiper video. Wacky!

    @JJ (& @Anthony): I didn’t realize till this thread that she’d renamed Druid Gene to Inheritance. Originally it was listed as being in the “Confluence” universe, but as starting a new series. Anyway, I haven’t gotten around to listening to it yet, but I got the audiobook a while ago; it’s read by Robin Miles (who read Jemisin’s “Broken Earth” trilogy)! 😀 Wells hasn’t change the audiobook’s name (yet?).


    Aha she talks about the change in a blog post. Apparently the two storylines have always been going to converge in the sixth (final) book.

    And hey, thanks: I didn’t realize the (true) sequel to the second book was out! I wonder if she’s going to have another audiobook (and with Robin Miles!). Presumably only if the other audiobooks sell well enough. Hmm, decisions, decisions – get the ebook or wait and see re. the audiobook. . . .

    BTW Wells has a short story in At the Helm Volume 1 (anthology from a publisher I’ve never heard of – Sci-Fi Bridge). It’s only 99 cents and has a short story by Linda Nagata (something originally appearing in Lightspeed Magazine), though I don’t seem to recognize any other names.

  22. Meredith Moment of the Mountains of TBR Madness:

    For those who like to be frustrated 😉 – Paul Kearney’s The Mark of Ran (Sea Beggars #1) is on sale for $1.99 from Spectra/Random House (uses DRM). This is book #1 of 3, but #3 was never published! Still, it got on my list years ago, so I’m tempted anyway. But really, that would probably be madness. Hmm.

  23. @Cat Yes, scheduling permitting, I’d be happy to teach the class again, tweak it as necessary, bring better mapping to fantasy authors everywhere.

  24. @Lis – as bad as the rabbits were the stoats etc introduced in NZ, a location with no mammal predators and many flightless birds (not that the Polynesian rat had done them any favours either). Although I would nit-pick and say the British introduced them, there being little local identity by the white settlers at this point. 🙂

  25. @JJ

    Good WJW news, but I may have just accidentally reread the whole of This Is Not A Game when I was really supposed to be doing something else…

  26. Mark: Good WJW news, but I may have just accidentally reread the whole of This Is Not A Game when I was really supposed to be doing something else…


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