Pixel Scroll 12/2/22 Pixel Plus X

(1) STOCKHOLM BIDS FOR 2023 SMOFCON. A group is bidding Stockholm, Sweden at the site of the 2023 Smofcon. Their proposed dates are December 1-3, 2023, and the venue would be a culture center called Dieselverkstaden in Sickla. In Dieselverkstaden there are conference rooms, a public library, a room for indoor climbing, a restaurant and a café. The group has organized several Swecons in the same place.

The convention venue is a culture center called Dieselverkstaden in Sickla, where there are conference rooms, a public library, a room for indoor climbing, a restaurant and a café. Sickla is a suburb of Stockholm.

The bid committee members are Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf (chair) Tomas Cronholm, Britt-Louise Viklund, Marika Lövström, Nina Grensjö, Ann Olsson Rousset, and Shana Worthen.

(2) FREE EDITING PANEL. The Omega Sci-Fi Awards invite anyone, including those writing a story for The Roswell Award or the New Suns Climate Fiction Award, to get ready to edit with the pros.

Free registration here for this one-hour panel on Thursday, December 8 at 12pm PST to hear advice on sharpening short science fiction stories. Featuring: Tamara Krinsky, Howard V. Hendrix, Gwen E. Kirby, and Gary Phillips.

(3) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Richard Kadrey and Cassandra Khaw on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

RICHARD KADREY

Richard Kadrey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sandman Slim supernatural noir series. Sandman Slim was included in Amazon’s “100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime.” Some of Kadrey’s other books include King Bullet, The Grand Dark, and Butcher Bird. He’s also written screenplays and for comics such as Heavy Metal, Lucifer, and Hellblazer.

CASSANDRA KHAW

Cassandra Khaw is an award-winning game writer, and a Bram Stoker, World Fantasy, Ignyte, British Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and Locus Award finalist. They have written for video games like Sunless Skies, Gotham Knights, Wasteland 3, and Rainbow 6: Siege. Khaw lives in New York, and spends a lot of time lifting large weights before putting them down.

At the KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003. (Just off 2nd Ave, upstairs)

(4) WHAT MADE THE POHL HOLE? On August 22 the IAU approved naming a crater on Mars after Frederik Pohl. Which is why his name appears on maps in news articles today bearing headlines like “Giant Asteroid Unleashed a Devastating Martian Megatsunami, Evidence Suggests”.

Multiple lines of evidence suggest that Mars wasn’t always the desiccated dustbowl it is today.

In fact, the red planet was once so wet and sloshy that a megatsunami was unleashed, crashing across the landscape like watery doom. What caused this devastation? According to new research, a giant asteroid impact, comparable to Earth’s Chicxulub impact 66 million years ago – the one that killed the dinosaurs.

Researchers led by planetary scientist Alexis Rodriguez of the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona have located an enormous impact crater that, they say, is the most likely origin yet of the mystery wave.

They named it Pohl and located it within an area scoured with catastrophic flood erosion, which was first identified in the 1970s, on what could be the edge of an ancient ocean.

When NASA’s Viking 1 probe landed on Mars in 1976, near a large flood channel system called Maja Valles, it found something strange: not the features expected of a landscape transformed by a megaflood, but a boulder-strewn plain.

A team of scientists led by Rodriguez determined in a 2016 paper that this was the result of tsunami waves, extensively resurfacing the shoreline of an ancient Martian ocean….

(5) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to bite into blood sausage with Tim Waggoner in episode 186 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Tim Waggoner is a writer of dark fantasy and horror whose first short story was published in 1992 and first novel came out in 2001. Since then he’s published more than 50 novels and seven collections of short stories. He’s written tie-in fiction based on SupernaturalGrimmThe X-FilesAlienDoctor WhoA Nightmare on Elm Street, and Transformers, and other franchises, and he’s written novelizations for films such as Halloween KillsResident Evil: The Final Chapter and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. His most recent original novel, We Will Rise, was published earlier this year.

He’s the author of the acclaimed horror-writing guide Writing in the Dark, which won the Bram Stoker Award in 2021. He won another Bram Stoker Award in 2021 in the category of short nonfiction for his article “Speaking of Horror,” and in 2017 he received the Bram Stoker Award in Long Fiction for his novella The Winter Box. In addition, he’s been a multiple finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Scribe Award, and a one-time finalist for the Splatterpunk Award. In addition to writing, he’s also a full-time tenured professor who teaches creative writing and composition at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.

We discussed whether being a horror writer gives him any special insights into the pandemic, the true meaning of his latest novel’s very specific dedication, the patience the writing life requires, what his agent doesn’t want him to let his editors know, the reason ghost stories have never struck him as scary, how to write about people unlike yourself and get it right, the unusual way he decided which characters would live and which would die, why Psycho was one of the best movie experiences he ever had, the most difficult thing a writing teacher can teach, and much more.

(6) FANCAST ILLUMINATED. Cora Buhlert has posted another Fancast Spotlight for the “Fiction Fans Podcast”.

What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?

We decided to do audio-only because it’s lower-key. Video editing is a lot more effort and also would require that we look at least semi-presentable when recording.

In terms of episode format, we always spend some time chatting about a good thing that’s happened recently and what we’re currently reading (not podcast-related) at the beginning of the episode, before we actually start discussing the book of the week. We like to have an initial section where we talk about non-spoiler themes or character motivations, before we dive in to a meatier full-on spoiler discussion of the book. We figured that if we were listening to a podcast about a book we hadn’t read, we would want a chance to stop listening before any major plot twists were spoiled for us. Be the podcast you want to listen to, right?

(7)  WHAT SHOULD WIN THE REH NEXT YEAR? The 2023 Robert E. Howard Awards are open for nominations.

We are pleased to announce the opening of nominations for the 2023 Robert E. Howard Awards starting on November 30, 2022. The Robert E. Howard Foundation has revised the rules and categories for the awards, so please read over the information below. Some categories have changed, and there is a new category for works of fiction. We have also brought back the Black River Award. Under the new rules, nominations are due in to the Awards committee by January 15, 2023, with the Awards committee selecting the top nominees in each category for the final ballot by January 31, 2023. The Final ballot will be uploaded on a website with its address sent out to all current Robert E. Howard Foundation members for voting on the winners on February 15, 2023.

You do not have to currently be a member of the Robert E. Howard Foundation to send in nominees…

(8) DRAWING A CROWD. I hadn’t noticed how this local event is blowing up: “LA Comic Con Expects 140,000 Fans This Weekend — And Plans To Keep Growing” reports LAist.

L.A. Comic Con had a rocky start. In its early years, issues ranged from a lineup without star talent to fire marshals shutting the doors and not letting more people inside.

Cut to this year, when one of its major guests is actor Simu Liu, best known for playing Marvel superhero Shang-Chi. Organizers also managed to bring in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in recent years. Convention CEO Chris DeMoulin notes that getting a current Marvel star is still unusual for L.A. Comic Con — the local convention that’s still not at the same level in the convention world as marquee events like San Diego’s Comic-Con International or New York Comic Con.

Still, what started as a rickety alternative has quickly grown, now featuring a who’s who of guests from the wider universe of pop culture…

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1912 [By Cat Eldridge.] Peter Pan in Kensington Garden

It of course is a statue of the character in Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, the 1904 novel by Barrie which actually started life two distinct works by Barrie, The Little White Bird, 1902, with chapters 13–18 published in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, 1906, and the West End stage play “Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”, 1904.

It was commissioned and paid for by Barrie and sculpted  by Sir George Frampton, a Scottish sculptor best remembered as for having been commissioned by the Royal Family  during the Diamond Jubilee to sculpt a statute of Queen Victoria.

Now let’s talk about this statue which is located in London in Kensington Garden. If you should visit, you can find it to the west of the Long Water, in the same spot as Peter lands his bird-nest boat in “The Little White Bird” story.  This is close to Barrie’s former home on Bayswater Road. 

Barrie hired workers to put the statue in Kensington Gardens without permission from the City of London or the Borough of Kensington.

He published a notice in The Times of London newspaper the following day, May 1, 1912: “There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning. Down by the little bay on the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine they will find a May-day gift by Mr J.M. Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around. It is the work of Sir George Frampton, and the bronze figure of the boy who would never grow up is delightfully conceived.”

It stands about fourteen feet and is shaped a tree stump, topped by a young boy, about life size for an eight-year-old, blowing a musical instrument, maybe a usually thought to be pan pipes. 

The sides of the stump are decorated with mice, rabbits, squirrels and fairies. 

Barrie had intended the boy to be based on a photograph of Michael Llewelyn Davies wearing a Peter Pan costume, but Frampton instead, not at all pleased with him as Peter Pan, chose another model, perhaps George Goss or William A. Harwood, though no one is really certain. Barrie was quite disappointed by the results, claiming the statue “didn’t show the Devil in Peter”. 

In 1928, vandals tarred and feather sculpture. The bronze surface was exceedingly difficult to clean.

Royal Parks replaced the plinth, the base below the animals and faeries, in 2019, which caused great controversy. It had deteriorated badly due to exposure to weather and salt.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 2, 1937 Brian Lumley, 85. Writer of Horror who came to distinction in the 1970s, both with his writing in the Cthulhu Mythos and by creating his own character Titus Crow. In the 1980s, he created the Necroscope series, which first centered on speaker-to-the-dead Harry Keogh. His short story “Necros” was adapted into an episode of the horror anthology series The Hunger. His works have received World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Stoker Award nominations; the short story “Fruiting Bodies” won a British Fantasy Award. Both the Horror Writers Association – for which he was a past president – and the World Fantasy Convention have honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Awards.
  • Born December 2, 1946 David Macaulay, 76. British-born American illustrator and writer who is genre adjacent I’d say. Creator of such cool works as CathedralThe New Way Things Work which has he updated for the computer technology age, and I really like one of latest works, Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World
  • Born December 2, 1946 Josepha Sherman. Writer and folklorist who was a Compton Crook Award winner for The Shining Falcon which was based on the Russian fairy tale “The Feather of Finist the Falcon”. She was a prolific writer both on her own and with other writer such as Mecedes Lackey with whom she wrote A Cast of Corbies and two Buffyverse novels with Laura Anne Gilman. I knew her personally as a folklorist first and that is she was without peer writing such works as Rachel the Clever: And Other Jewish Folktales and  Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood that she wrote with T K F Weisskopf.  Neat lady who died far too soon. Let me leave you with an essay she wrote on Winter for Green Man twenty five years ago: “Josepha Sherman’s Winter Queen Speech” . (Died 2012.)
  • Born December 2, 1952 O. R. Melling  70. Writer from Ireland. For novels by her that I’d recommend, the Chronicles of Faerie series, consisting of The Hunter’s Moon, The Summer King, The Light-Bearer’s Daughter, and The Book of Dreams are quite excellent; the first won a Schwartz Award for Best YA-Middle Grade Book. For more adult fare, her People of the Great Journey: Would You Go if You Were Called? – featuring a fantasy writer who is invited to take part in a week-long retreat on a magical, remote Scottish island – I’d highly recommend.
  • Born December 2, 1968 Lucy Liu, 54. She was Joan Watson on Elementary in its impressive seven-year run. Her other genre role, and it’s been long running, has been voicing Silvermist in the Disney Fairies animated franchise. I kid you not. She’s had a few genre one-offs on The X-FilesHercules: The Legendary Journeys and the Rise: Blood Hunter film, but not much overall haughty she did show up in Luke Cage.
  • Born December 2, 1971 Frank Cho, 51. Artist and Illustrator from South Korea who is best known as creator of the ever so stellar Liberty Meadows series, as well as work on Hulk, Mighty Avengers, and Shanna the She-Devil for Marvel Comics, and Jungle Girl for Dynamite Entertainment. His works have received Ignatz, Haxtur, Charles M. Schulz , and National Cartoonists Society’s Awards, as well as Eisner, Harvey, and Chesley Award nominations, and his documentary Creating Frank Cho’s World won an Emmy Award.

(11) ANTI-ANTICIPATION. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] Comic writer and artist Tim Seeley posted this rather sad Tweet about the effect the rise of toxic fandom has on creators: 

It’s not certain which comic he is referring to. Several people assume that he was referring to the upcoming Masters of the Universe comics, since that normally friendly fandom has attracted a bunch of toxic jerks of late, but the new Masters of the Universe comics won’t be out until February 2023. Personally, I suspect it’s Hexware, which is debuting next week.

(12) SPOILER, MAYBE? “Disney Robbed Us of Maarva’s Choice Words for the Empire in the ‘Star Wars: Andor’ Finale” says The Mary Sue.

…In an interview with Empire Magazinestar Denise Gough talked about her first day on set and let us all know the truth about Maarva Andor’s speech at her own funeral. She really did say “Fuck the empire” in it. “My first day was Ferrix,” she said. “I was given my two Death Troopers – one of whom had to be trained to run like a Death Trooper and not like a musical theatre star – and I couldn’t help myself, I just started doing the [hums the Imperial March]. Then, everyone started doing it.”…

(13) GOSH. The Atlantic’s Marina Koren assures everyone “’2001: A Space Odyssey’ Is the Most Overhyped Space Movie”. (Behind a paywall.)

As the outer-space correspondent at The Atlantic, I spend a lot of time looking beyond Earth’s atmosphere. I’ve watched footage of a helicopter flying on Mars. I’ve watched a livestream of NASA smashing a spacecraft into an asteroid on purpose. I’ve seen people blast off on rockets with my own eyes. But I have never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This is an enormous oversight, apparently. The 1968 film is considered one of the greatest in history and its director, Stanley Kubrick, a cinematic genius. And, obviously, it’s about space. Surely a space reporter should see it—and surely a reporter should take notes.

What follows is my real-time reaction to watching 2001 on a recent evening, edited for length and clarity. Even though the movie has been out for 54 years, I feel a duty to warn you that there are major spoilers ahead. (If you’re suddenly compelled to watch 2001 first, you can rent it for $3.99 on YouTube.)…

(14) STREAMING LEADERS. JustWatch says this is what people were watching in November.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cora Buhlert, James Bacon, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

27 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/2/22 Pixel Plus X

  1. (10) Lucy Liu is one of the smartest Watsons portrayed in media – I liked her version.

  2. Andrew (not Werdna) days Lucy Liu is one of the smartest Watsons portrayed in media – I liked her version.

    Indeed.

    And one of one of the most original take on the character ever done,

  3. 1) Sooo…Is it too early to start making jokes about “Stockholm Syndrome”?

    SNERK!

    I’ll see myself out now…

  4. 4) Thank you for the good news that Frederik Pohl now has a Martian crater with his name on it. It isn’t just that a famous SF author received this posthumous honor, it was also awarded to a famous SF editor. It’s also one of respectable size (111 km)–nearside lunar craters that size tended to get named after the likes of Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler, Archimedes, and Ptolemy.

  5. LAComicon, 140k people? Not under any circumstances would I be there.

    I missed Josepha Sherman’s later work – I need to read some, but her early stuff was brilliant.

    2001, overhyped? Maybe you’re not the audience it was made for, and don’t have that cultural background.

    And I note this is at least two months in a row that Interstellar is in the middle of the top 10 streaming movies….

  6. 10) Macaulay’s Motel of the Mysteries is indisputably genre, and hilarious to boot.

    13) A college acquaintance of mine described Solaris (the real one, by Tarkovsky) as “2001 without the excitement”. I cannot conceive of how a movie could possibly be that dull.

  7. (13) I’m going to be kind and assume this reaction is a result of hearing it praised so much for so long. It really can depress your enthusiasm, to encounter it only after hearing it praised enthusiastically for too long.

    And yet.

    2001 is anything but dull and unexciting. And it’s also true that some people believe themselves to be too cool to enjoy anything that dares to be extremely popular.

  8. 13) My take was that she didn’t want to review it, had to take the assignment and sloughed it off with writing a “reaction” piece that required absolutely no depth.

    Or that The Atlantic is now writing click bait headlines.

  9. I found 2001 to be astonishingly dull. On the other hand, I love both Solarises — the one that everyone else loves and the one that everyone else hates.

    Shrug. Taste is subjective.

  10. 13) I think 2001 was groundbreaking in it’s special effects, due to Trumbull and Dyskstra. As entertainment, it’s ponderously slow and boring, with what I now call a “2001 ending” that’s all lights and shots that seem confusing, undirected, and basically meaningless to anyone but the filmaker (see ending of Interstellar also). I blame Kubrick, who is the most overrated hack in movies in my opinion. He reached his peak of self-indulgent boredom with Barry Lyndon. I find it telling that I prefer the movies he’s disavowed as a Kubrick film. I found 2010 a much more entertaining and better directed film.

  11. 13) Star Wars is the most overhyped movie by far!

    I rewatched Matrix lately and was surprised to find it somewhat dull. I remember being absolutely blown away by the visuals the first time I saw it – but obviously things have changed now.

  12. I like 2001 quite a bit, but it’s one of those movies I have to be in EXACTLY the right frame of mind for.

  13. About Koren’s piece and its, um, process. It would appear to have started with her proposal to her followers to live-tweet her first viewing. The resulting Tweets, somewhat edited, then became her Atlantic piece.

    I’m not sure what value she (or her followers) find in a real-time account of one’s responses to a work of art. Two responses on her Twitter feed strike me as on-point: “If you were live tweeting while watching 2001, then you really weren’t watching the movie” and “You’re so invested in hot takes that you don’t take the time to process.”

    I’ve been a reviewer for about forty years now, and there’s a big difference between the notes I take as I read and the copy I submit to my editor. What happens in between is the heart of reviewing–the “process” that the second follower refers to. To be fair, there’s some summary-reaction copy in the last three paragraphs, but it’s not much more processed than her real-time reactions–it reminds me strongly of the undergraduate lit-course journal entries I see over my wife’s shoulder: “This story was boring because it was dull and it had a lot of long words.” (I am not exaggerating.) And I wonder exactly what Koren’s movie-viewing history is. (If she thinks movie pacing was a lot slower in the 1960s, she clearly hasn’t seen a lot of 60s movies.)

    And she’s not really agreeing with Renata Adler’s 1968 review. Adler at least understood the cinematic object she was seeing, even if the rest of it blew past her.

    A final matter: How did Koren view the movie? She writes that it’s rentable via YouTube, but if she didn’t see a good print on a full-size theatrical screen, she didn’t really see the film. (I first saw it in Cinerama in 1968 and several times since, including a faded 35mm theatrical print and a restored version on a 32″ flatscreen. I know which one is the film that Kubrick made.)

  14. 14) The Peripheral on Amazon is indeed worth the time/effort.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Every socialistic type of government… produces bad art, produces social inertia, produces really unhappy people, and it’s more repressive than any other kind of government. – Frank Zappa

  15. rcade: Is there some reason to think this author isn’t just following his own JDA strategy to draw attention to himself? I don’t really want to reward him with more attention. (Speaking to why I won’t be picking this up in the Scroll, not that there is something wrong with you mentioning it in a comment.)

  16. I asked my Dreamwidth friends what TV series to watch for Hugo consideration, and they voted for Ms Marvel and Strange New Worlds (because I’m already watching Andor). I binged Ms Marvel last night, and WOW, they’re right. I think Time and Again is the episode to nominate.

    The theme is very similar to Doctor Who’s “Demons of the Punjab”: the child of emigrants travels back in time to 1947 to see their ancestors during Partition. I hadn’t appreciated before how much of a generational trauma Partition still is–I see that Fatima Asghar, the credited writer for “Time and Again” , writes about Partition as the ongoing theme of her work.

  17. Sometimes the point of fast-paced movies is to be a roller coaster ride, other times to whisk you past sketchy plot details before you have time to think “oh wait.” My inexpert opinion is that the slow pacing of 2001 is, um, deliberate: it gives you time to think about what you are looking at. See also the more recent The Green Knight.

  18. Is there some reason to think this author isn’t just following his own JDA strategy to draw attention to himself?

    No. He’s just flooding Twitter with self-promotion and following people to get follows back. The engagement he’s getting on his posts suggests it’s not doing much for him.

    Tay Zonday of “Chocolate Rain” fame once followed me on Twitter and I was pleased to follow him back. Turned out he’d been following tens of thousands of users solely to pump up his numbers. He then unfollowed us all.

  19. Lucy Liu also provided the voice both for herself (in the form of a disembodied head) and for the Liubots in Futurama.

  20. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: December 4, 2022 - Amazing Stories

  21. Mm re Kubrick’s “2001” film which came out in mid 1968 (and based on Clarke’s story) some comments-which I trust will be interesting. IMO it is still a benchmark SF film of the 1960s (just as MGM’s other “magnum opus” is one for the 1950s: “Forbidden Planet”). It is of its time and there have been many comments re therein (i) its lack of many women and (ii) its total absence of any non-white personnel. Its then major SFX (this is pre-CGI/green-screen) was done in then MGM’s main film studio in the UK (ie Borehamwood). That closed in 1970 and is now a housing estate with many street names, connected to the world of film. And some fen may like to know that side by side with that movie (tho for a shorter production time), ITCs “The Prisoner” –Patricks McGoohan’s own TV epic– was being made, on neighbouring sound stages. And at Worldcon 1969/St Louis, Missouri, both were up –with others– for the then one Hugo for Dramatic Presentation. (This was split some years later into TV/short form and Movies/long form.) And of course, Kubrick’s effort won over No 6. An excellent large tome (in the shape of the famous black “obelisk” and detailing much of the background to this SF classic, with many fine drawings) is available from Taschen Books. IMO it is to be recommended. best wishes.

  22. An author of lesbian romance has responded to not being followed back by other authors on Twitter by posting a wall of shame naming them. It’s going as well as one might expect.

    Had to go check this out. Learned a few things:

    That “wall of shame” list? Majority women. Like, 8 out of 10. Which adds just another level of problematic entitlement to the way he’s behaving.

    Several respondents want to know: What’s with the transphobic slur in your novel title?

    Another respondent highlights an example of his plagiarizing another author’s tweet.

    And yet another links to a news story indicating that he might be the same guy accused of illegally solemnizing marriages in Toronto?

    Like, the deeper down the rabbit hole you go, the worse this guy looks.

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