Pixel Scroll 12/18/22 As You Scroll, Bob

(1) CLARION WEST CLASSES. Here are the Spring 2023 classes offered by Clarion West – click the link to read the full description and to register.

The Supporting Tuition rate is shown for each class or workshop for folks who can pay it. Paying the Supporting Tuition rate enables us to continue to pay our staff and instructors equitably, as well as support access to classes for others who may be in a different situation. 

The Helping Hands rate is available to folks under more limited economic circumstances, no matter your background.

Cross-Examining Your Character With Henry Lien

01/21/2023 10:00 AM – 01/28/2023 01:00 PM PT; Online Workshop

  • $130.00  –  Supporting Tuition
  • $100.00  –  Helping Hands Tuition

Use courtroom interrogation techniques to get to the heart of your character.

Finding Creative Truth Through Desire And Fear With Sloane Leong

02/13/2023 05:00 PM – 06:30 PM PT; Online Class

  • $75.00  –  Supporting Tuition
  • $55.00  –  Helping Hands Discounted Tuition

This interactive lecture assists writers in understanding their desires, fears, and creative philosophy in service of clarifying what they truly want out of their writing practice and stories.

The Friend, The Lover, and The Enemy: Mastering Key Relationship Arcs with Piper J. Drake

03/04/2023 10:00 AM – 03/18/2023 11:30 AM PT; Online Class

  • $130.00  –  Supporting Tuition
  • $100.00  –  Helping Hands

Explore the relationships between principal characters and how those relationship arcs can be developed into dynamic and evolving connections to engage readers and drive the plot forward.

Weirdcraft: Writing Horror, Gothic, and the Literary Strange with Ian Muneshwar

03/28/2023 05:00 PM – 05/16/2023 07:00 PM PT; Online Workshop

  • $275.00  –  Supporting Tuition
  • $205.00  –  Helping Hands

This five-session workshop, aimed at beginning and intermediate writers who’ve already produced at least one draft of a horror story, will provide students with actionable feedback on their own fiction while broadening their understanding of craft-based approaches to writing horror.

Who Are You As A Writer? Identifying Your Narrative Building Blocks With Susan J. Morris

03/30/2023 04:30 PM – 05:30 PM PT; Free Class

  • Free

In this 1-hour webinar, learn to identify your core strengths, themes, narrative building blocks, and values, and how to use them to generate new ideas that play to your strengths.

Emergent Structures: How Structure Shapes Your Story On A Macro And Micro Level With Susan J. Morris

04/27/2023 04:30 PM – 06:00 PM PT; Online Class

  • $75.00  –  Supporting Tuition
  • $55.00  –  Helping Hands

Delve beyond Save the Cat to explore different structures—not just of plot, but of every aspect of your story, from scenes to character arcs.

(2) MOVING VOLUMES. [Item by Jeffrey Smith.] This article’s header is an illustration of Mount Tsundoku! “We’re drowning in old books. But getting rid of them is heartbreaking” says the Washington Post.

On a recent weekday afternoon, Bruce Albright arrives in the Wonder Book parking lot, pops the trunk of his Camry and unloads two boxes of well-worn books. “It’s sad. Some of these I’ve read numerous times,” he says.

Albright, 70, has been at this for six months, shedding 750 books at his local library and at this Frederick, Md., store. The rub: More than 1,700 volumes remain shelved in the retired government lawyer’s nearby home, his collection lovingly amassed over a half-century.

But Albright is on a mission. “I cleaned out my parents’ home,” he says. “I don’t want to do to my kids what my parents did to me.”

He’s far from alone. Books are precious to their owners. Their worth, emotional and monetary, is comparably less to anyone else.

Humorist and social critic Fran Lebowitz owns 12,000 books, mostly fiction, kept in 19th-century wooden cases with glass doors in her New York apartment. “Constitutionally, I am unable to throw a book away. To me, it’s like seeing a baby thrown in a trash can,” she says. “I am a glutton for print. I love books in every way. I love them more than most human beings.” If there’s a book she doesn’t want, Lebowitz, 72, will spend months deciding whom to give it to….

(3) HOW BLUE WAS THE BOX OFFICE? “’Avatar 2’ makes waves with $134 million domestic debut” and Yahoo! Entertainment thinks that was nothing to be sneezed at.

Avatar: The Way of Water ” didn’t make quite as big of a splash as many assumed it would, but James Cameron’s big budget spectacle still helped breathe life into the box office this weekend. The sequel earned $134 million from North American theaters and $300.5 million internationally for a $434.5 million global debut, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

It tied with “The Batman” as the fourth highest domestic debut of the year, behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ( $187.4 million in May ), “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” ( $181 million in November ) and “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($144.2 million in July).

Expectations were enormous for “Avatar 2,” which carried a reported price tag of over $350 million, the pressure of following up the highest grossing film of all time (thanks in part to various re-releases) over a decade later and the daunting task of propping up an exhibition business that’s still far from normal.

(4) MAKES FOR COMPELLING READING. In Joe Stech’s latest Compelling Science Fiction newsletter he picks five of the “Top science fiction short stories published in October”. Leading the way:

The top story for the month of October (and therefore our t-shirt winner!) was The Conflagration at the Museum of You by Adam-Troy Castro. I’ve never read a story quite like it — implausibly bizarre and yet compellingly real. The writing is outstanding, and it really has to be to keep you reading. The story is written in the second person, discussing a museum dedicated to you, the reader. The ‘why’ of it is unimportant and hand-wavy, and the story could have easily been annoying to read, but it wasn’t, and you should read it.

(5) PETRONA AWARD. Maria Adolfsson won the 2022 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year for Fatal Isles, translated from the Swedish by Agnes Broomé. Adolfsson will receive a trophy, and both author and translator get a cash prize.

The judges said: “This captivating winning novel is the first in a proposed trilogy featuring the beautifully flawed protagonist Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby, whose take on life and work make for a strong down-to-earth and modern heroine in the relicts of a man’s world. Set in the fictional yet completely credible location of Doggerland, this three-islands archipelago in the North Sea, reflects Scandinavian, North European and British heritages. Doggerland is shaped and influenced by its geographical position; the atmospheric setting, akin to the wind- and history-swept Faroe and Shetland Islands, and Nordic climes, enhances the suspenseful and intriguing plot of a police procedural that combines detailed observations and thoughts on the human condition….

(6) MEMORY LANE.

1991 [By Cat Eldridge.] FAO Schwartz bronze Teddy Bear, Boston

In Boston, there’s an eight foot teddy bear made of bronze that become homeless for awhile. Let us tell you that tale. 

The bear, eight feet tall and weighing three tons, was done by sculptor Robert Shure of Woburn. Two of his other works are the Joe DiMaggio Memorial at Yankee Stadium and the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Boston. 

Boston’s bear was the first of many that FAO Schwartz would place around the country. It cost about sixty-five thousand dollars  when it was made in the early Nineties. Three of the teddy bears, the others being in New York and Seattle, were made of bronze while the rest were far less expensive fiberglass works.

Like The Ducklings we profiled in the Scroll last night, he was, as you can see in the image below, in the Back Bay, outside the FAO Schwartz store. Then one day he was gone. Well not quite that dramatically as FAO Schwartz went bankrupt in 2004 as so many of those department store did around that time, so the Boston store was closed, and he went into storage. Poor bear, sitting alone in a dark space, unloved.

The company donated Boston’s bear to the city, but what to do with him? He is a lot of bear and he needed a new place to live, one where children could love him again.

Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino decided that a contest was the best way to find him a home with the city’s children sending in their ideas as to where his home should be. That resulted in some seven thousand letters, with children from thirty-four states and even a few foreign countries submitting ideas for his home, many of them written in crayon. 

So where did he go? Well at least for now, he’s outside the Tufts Medical Center/Floating Hospital for Children, which is appropriate as the children there love him, but it was announced that Tufts Children’s Hospital inpatient pediatric beds will be closed and converted to add forty one adult ICU beds, citing increasing demand from critically ill adults. So he’ll need yet another new home presumably. 

Update: this week, the hospital announced that he’s staying there because they are keeping pediatric primary care services, including the Pediatric and Adolescent Asian Clinic, and the Children with Special Needs Clinic, so he will have lots of children to love him.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 18, 1923 Alfred Bester. He is best remembered perhaps for The Demolished Man, which won the very first Hugo Award. I remember experiencing it as an audiobook— a very spooky affair!  The Stars My Destination is equally impressive with Foyle both likeable and unlikable at the same time. Psychoshop which Zelazny finished is in my library but has escaped reading so far. I’ve run across some scattered references to Golem100 but I’ve never seen a copy anywhere. Who here has read It? (Died 1987.)
  • Born December 18, 1941 Jack C. Haldeman II. He’d get Birthday Honors if only for On the Planet of Zombie Vampires, book five of the adventures of Bill the Galactic Hero, co-written with Harry Harrison. He’d also get these honors for chairing Disclave 10 through Disclave 17, and a Worldcon as well, Discon II. He was a prolific short story writer, penning at least seventy-five such tales, but alas none of these, nor his novels other than There is No Darkness that he did with his brother are available in digital form. (Died 2002.)
  • Born December 18, 1939 Michael Moorcock, 83. Summing up the career of Moorcock isn’t possible so I won’t. His Elric of Melniboné series is just plain awesome and I’m quite fond of the Dorian Hawkmoon series of novels as well. Particular books that I’d like to note as enjoyable for me include The Metatemporal Detective collection, Mother London and The English Assassin: A Romance of Entropy. While he was editor, New Worlds got nominated for Best Professional Magazine from 1967-1970. 
  • Born December 18, 1946 Steven Spielberg, 76. Are we counting Jaws as genre? I believe we are per an earlier discussion here. If so, that’s his first such followed immediately by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Between 1981 and 1984, he put out Raiders of the Lost ArkE.T. the Extra-TerrestrialTwilight Zone: The Movie and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Ok so the quality of the last film wasn’t great… He’d repeated that feat between ‘89 and ‘93 when he put out Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Hook which I both love followed by Jurassic Park which I don’t. The Lost World: Jurassic Park followed along a string of so-so films, A.I. Artificial IntelligenceMinority Report, War of the Worlds and one decided stinker, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullThe BFG is simply wonderful. Haven’t seen Ready Player One so I’ll leave that up to y’all to opine on. 
  • Born December 18, 1953 Jeff Kober, 69. Though he’s best remembered as Dodger in the stellar China Beach series, he’s been in numerous genre series and films including VThe Twilight ZoneAlien Nation, the Poltergeist series,The X-Files series, Tank Girl as one of the kangaroos naturally, SupernaturalStar Trek: VoyagerStar Trek: Enterprise, Kindred: The Embraced and The Walking Dead. 
  • Born December 18, 1954 Ray Liotta. We could just stop at him being Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams, don’t you think of it as being an exemplary genre cred? Well I do. On a much sillier note, he’s in two Muppet films, Muppets from Space and Muppets Most Wanted. On a very not silly note, he was Joey in Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. (Died 2022.)
  • Born December 18, 1968 Casper Van Dien, 54. Yes, Johnny Rico in that Starship Troopers. Not learning his lesson, he’d go on to film Starship Troopers 3: Marauder and the animated Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. Do not go read the descriptions of these films!  (Hint: the former has a nineteen percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.) He’d also star as Tarzan in Tarzan and the Lost City, show up as Brom Van Brunt In Sleepy Hollow, be Captain Abraham Van Helsing In Dracula 3000, James K. Polk in, oh really CasperAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sequels, Rumpelstiltskin in Avengers Grimm and Saber Raine In Star Raiders: The Adventures of Saber Raine.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

Wheatcomics offers this astronomical view:

(9) FLAT NOTES. For crime novelist Ann Cleeves it was good news and bad news: “Writer recovers laptop containing half-finished novel after Shetland blizzard”, but it had been run over by a car.

… Tweeting an image of a badly misshapen computer, she said it had been found by a “sharp-eyed” young woman as she got off a school bus near to where Cleeves had been staying….

Describing how it was lost, she said she had been working in a library in Lerwick and walked “in a total blizzard” for a meeting at a nearby arts centre, adding that, while she was inside, the weather “just got worse and worse”.

“I needed to get home early and I think I must have either left my laptop there or it fell out of my bag while I was struggling through the wind and the snow to get from the library to the arts centre,” she said.

She added that people had been “amazingly kind” since she first tweeted about the laptop and that she been “getting responses from all over Lerwick”….

(10) THERE’S A SUCKER BORN… According to Yahoo!, “Donald Trump NFT Collection Sells Out, Price Surges”.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s non-fungible token (NFT) digital trading card collection sold out early Friday, the day after its initial release.

According to data from OpenSea, at time of writing, the collection’s trading volume is 900 ETH, or about $1.08 million. Its floor price is about 0.19 ETH, or about $230 – more than double the original price of $99.

Some tokens are selling for much higher prices. The one-of-ones, the rarest of the NFTs, which comprise 2.4% of the 45,000 unit collection (roughly 1,000), are selling for as much as 6 ETH at the time of writing. One of these rare trading cards, of the 45th president standing in front of the Statue of Liberty holding a torch, is currently listed at 20 ETH, or about $24,000.

According to data from Dune Analytics, nearly 13,000 users minted 3.5 tokens upon the release of the collection. Additionally, 115 customers purchased 45 NFTs, which is the minimum number of tokens that guarantees a ticket to a dinner with Trump; 17 people purchased 100 NFTs, which, according to the Trump Trading Card site, was the maximum quantity allowed to mint….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Jennifer Hawthorne, Jeffrey Smith, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

24 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/18/22 As You Scroll, Bob

  1. 7) Re; Golem100: I read it eagerly when it first came out, and it was a definite “Meh.” experience. I’ve never bothered to re-read it, unlike earlier Besters.

  2. Am I first? I might be!

    The FAO Schwarz bear is a joy and a delight.

    It appears at least some the Trump NFTs are photoshops of stock photos they didn’t completely remove the watermarks from.

    Cider says I only posted first because she massaged my feet while I typed.

  3. 2: Moving volumes – 750, with another 1700? snicker I have somewhere close to, if not over, 4000 sf & f mass market paperbacks that occupy 2.5 walls of our family room, then there’s the non-fiction and hardback poetry, fiction, etc in my study, and my partner’s got two bookcases and three shelves (the latter in her studio) full.

    Fortunately, one daughter is working and working at writing, another daughter just got her M.Sc in library science….

    10: the most obvious explanation I’ve seen, one I’ll accept as true, is money laundering.

  4. (2) Quite a few of my books have ended up in that Wonder Books. I also came out of there with a slipcased signed limited Anne McCaffrey book from the special section with locked glass cabinets. 🙂

    (7) I read Golem 100 in high school. It had some bizarre moments, but they weren’t bizarre in a good way. There were some sexual elements raised my eyebrows even though I had been reading 1970s horror, V.C. Andrews, men’s adventure novels, and 1970s historical romances. I’d probably be even more perturbed today.

  5. When we moved in 1966, we moved 36 boxes (those cardboard boxes used for apples and oranges) of books. I don’t know how many it was… I have a couple of thousand, I’m sure, in dead-tree form. And another thousand or so as e-books. Sometimes multiple copies in either (or both!) forms.

  6. @mark–Yes, the money laundering explanation seems the most likely for the high-ticket purchases. That still leaves a lot of room for smaller purchases by suckers who think they’re buying something valuable for their children and grandchildren.

  7. mark says Moving volumes – 750, with another 1700? snicker.

    You know, it really isn’t nice to make fun of someone because they have what you think is a small number of books. Once again, I must say that It really isn’t nice.

    Other than personally signed books, I have none here as I can no longer effectively read long passages of text because of the head injury. I forget what I was reading and that just ain’t fun.

    I can read short fiction, and I absorb any length as audio, so I gave away or sold my collection. And I never had a huge collection anyways, never more than a thousand violumes of everything.

  8. 2) I did actually throw out a book not too long ago — nothing special; a trade paperback copy of Cryptonomicon that I had made the mistake of resting in a box on its side (spine up) with another, heavier book on top of it, so it had taken on a distinctive S-curve. It still was a bit of a wrench to actually put it in the trash.

    And when I made my first trip to the newly-reopened Uncle Hugo’s recently, I took along and donated 7 full boxes of books; so even though I bought some titles, it was still a net reduction when I got back home.

  9. Estimate we’ve accumulated around 8,000 books over the years. When we moved to this house in 1985, one of our first big projects was turning the two-car garage into a library room. By this point, a lot (quite a lot) of books are in boxes rather than shelved. I’ve been making very intermittent stabs at cataloguing the collection, but only have data on about 600 scanned in to date. (I guess I could consider that an incentive to stay healthy and live a lot longer….)

  10. Sometimes I feel bad that I haven’t contributed to the conversation but it is usually because I’ve read the comments and agreed with them or had nothing to add OR the only thing I might want to add is a tangent like whether it’s “the cat’s pyjamas” i.e. the pyjamas of a specific cat of “the cats pyjamas” ie the pyjamas of cats in general and whether the answer to that question is true also of the bee’s knees.

  11. 2) I’m on that list of people who can’t throw away books.
    And yes, poking fun at quantity ignores the whole “quality” thing. If I “only” had a few hundred volumes, but the majority was a complete run of Amazing Stories in mint condition, few if any would be questioning the size.
    Beyond that – libraries are very personal things. In fact, when I worked at AT&T, one of my methods for gathering intel on other managers with whom I might be clashing was to study the contents of their office shelves. If someone had, say, a well worn copy of a Nixon biography, I knew there’d be little to no “meeting of the minds”. (Same holds true for visiting people’s homes. No books on display anywhere? Not even a Patterson something in the bathroom? Run! Run fast and run far!)

    I’ve given away quite a few (though nothing from the core SF collection), but never thrown away, and have made arrangements – in my will – to have a couple of friends take care of the collection, on the off chance that they won’t perfect brain uploads by 2045 (as Kurzweil has stated they will. I’ve also left instructions in my will to sue Kurzweil if that doesn’t happen, so win-win for me. 🙂

  12. (2) It’s been too long since I’ve been to that Wonder books – time for a road trip.

    @Camestros: it’s the Platonic ideal of pajamas belonging to the Platonic ideal of a cat (ie Timothy)

  13. 2) I’ve learned over the years to take an incremental approach to de-booking the house. Books I read and know I will not re-read go straight into a shopping bag in the rec room. Books I read that I think I’ll want to re-read go into a banker’s box outside my bedroom door. When the box is full it goes onto a shelf in the rec room. Every couple-three years (usually over the 4th of July weekend) I’ll crack open a beer, put some speed death metal (or bluegrass) on the stereo and go through all the boxes in the rec room. This usually produces at least a shopping bag full of books I’m pretty sure I won’t read again. The shopping bags go to the Friends of the Library used book store. (I used to sell them to Wonderbook, but the best deal they give you is in store credit, not cash, which…got to be a problem. 🙂 )

    (Of course, going thru the books causes its own issues, like pulling out all the Gibson and McDevitt books to re-read in order…)

    7) I was surprised to discover that the Walter Koenig character in Babylon Five was named after an actual Alfred Bester…. (at least I suppose he was?)

  14. 2.) If I kept every book…sigh. I will say that moving a substantial library ourselves 350 miles does something for one’s perspective on what goes and what stays. I’m also becoming very strict about what I buy in hard copy anymore. Most of the time, I get library ebooks, especially for new fiction I want to read. I’m old enough to know that sooner or later I’ll need to downsize even more than I have. I don’t want to leave the effort of dealing with it to my son, for whom it would be even more difficult.

    I won’t even begin to try to count the number of books I have. Some collections–such as my horse books, my women in the West books, and my Pacific Northwest histories–are sacrosanct simply because they are hard to find.

    I am also one who prizes quality of collections over quantity, and do not look down my nose and sneer at someone whose collection may be smaller than mine.

    10.) I’m assuming that many of the T-card purchasers are Saudis and Russians. Plus I suspect it’s his feeble attempt to emulate Putin, sans the bare chest.

  15. 2) I have gotten rid of a few books over the past couple of years, but they went to a local Little Free Library, so hopefully they’ll find new homes.

  16. Ja: Straczynski said that he named Alfred Bester after SF writer Alfred Bester as Straczynski said that telepathy is a recurring theme in his work with the most notable example being The Demolished Man.

  17. I am another book hoarder: over 9,000 physiical books and a thousand or so e-books.
    (7) Spielberg was the guest on this week’s Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4.

  18. P J Evans: Interesting; here in Central Europe, the unit for moving (not just books) is a BANANA box, with its handy sturdy lid / upper part, making stacking easy. The other kinds of fruits do not have such a standardised type of box, and those I see would not be suitable at all for books.

    (When I moved some 15 years ago, I estimated that a banana box corresponded pretty well to a hundred paperbacks – of the turn-of-the-century dimensions, not the 1960s ones.)

  19. When we moved a little over a year ago, I sold or donated a few boxes of books, but I packed 115 of those Home Depot 1.5 cubic foot boxes full of books. I spent an entire week (literally) packing books. Not something I want to do again anytime soon.

  20. When I lost my house at the end of 2016, I had over 4,000 books and it was still growing. Hardcover, trade paperback. mass market paperbacks both the old, smaller ones and the modern larger ones. SF, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, general fiction, history, politics popular science, biography.

    And I was able to sell most of my sff, and much of the rest got dispersed in various ways. I successfully retained very little.

    Now my collection is almost entirely ebooks and audiobooks. They don’t take up as much space, and they’re far easier to carry–and I can adjust the font size on the ebooks. I miss my print collection, but I’ll never have the space for a library with desk, and couch again.

  21. Except for those books that are personally signed by authors, everything here is either an audiobook or an ebook. I have over a thousand ebooks and some four hundred audiobooks, mostly genre with the rest being mysteries.

  22. A little over 40 years ago I made a crosstown move from a furnished apartment to an unfurnished duplex in Parkersburg WV. Had my new furniture delivered to the duplex, moved everything else in multiple car loads (small station wagon, so it could haul about as much as I wanted to load and unload in an evening.) Clothes, bedding, kitchen stuff…and the books and book cases. For boxes, I went to the state liquor store and asked for their empties. Nice sturdy small boxes for books. It did look like I was fixing to throw a heck of a party when I had them in the car.

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