Pixel Scroll 12/22 I Saw Mommy Reading Pixel Scroll

(1) IN SFWA TIMES TO COME. Cat Rambo in “What I’m Hoping For SFWA in 2016” tells about the organization’s accomplishments and shortfalls in 2015, and what the future holds. Here’s an excerpt from each category —

SFWA’s 2015 Accomplishments

We hammered out membership criteria that didn’t just include writers publishing independently or with small presses but made us the first organization to consider crowdfunded projects as a publication path. That’s led to an influx of new members and fresh energy that’s been delightful to be part of….

Some Bad Stuff

The lack of a plan behind the 50th Anniversary Anthology finally sank that project when our CFO and I realized that the books would have to sell for 84.50 each in order to break even….

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2016

M.C.A. Hogarth has been a terrific Vice President, proactive and self-guided. One of her projects is a guidebook for SFWA members that explains everything: how to join the discussion forums, how to nominate for the Nebulas, how to participate in the Featured Book Program on the website, who to mail with directory issues, etc. That will appear in 2016 and I think it will be a bit of a revelation to us all….

Rambo ends with Henry Lien’s anthem “Radio SFWA,” which I must say I am a huge fan of, whatever it may do for anybody else…. (The lyrics appear when you click “show more” at the song’s YouTube page.)

(2) RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens lands unprecedented award nomination” reports Polygon.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already shattered plenty of box office records, but the movie has also made history by reportedly earning an unprecedented nomination from the Broadcast Critics Association.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Association made the historic move to include the film as the eleventh contender for their Best Film award. The nomination list had come out eight days before The Force Awakens was released, effectively shutting the film out entirely. Usually, films must be submitted during a specific voting period and those that don’t meet the deadline aren’t considered at all.

(3) GOOD FOR A QUOTE. Academic Henry Jenkins, who appeared as a witness in The People Vs. George Lucas, explains “What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars” at Confessions of an Aca-Fan.

This blog post might be subtitled “The Pretentious Ass Strikes Back.” Here’s a story we tell in my family.

In 1977, Cynthia Ann Benson, an undergraduate at Georgia State University, has signed up for a class on film theory and criticism, with some nervousness about whether it will take the pleasure out of going to the movies. On the first day of class, the instructor — Jack Creech — is late, and a group of students are gathered outside the classroom. This guy — you know the one — another undergraduate student  is standing around making assertions about gender, race, and technology in the recently released Star Wars movie to anyone who will listen and to many who would probably rather not be listening. She goes off after class and writes a letter to her best friend describing “this pretentious ass pontificating about the social significance of Star Wars” as summing up everything that made her fearful of cinema studies.  It took me several years to overcome that unfortunate first impression and get her to go out on a date with me. We’ve now been married for almost 35 years.

So, it was some ironic glee that I accepted the invitation of the media relations folks at USC to be put on a list of experts who could talk to the media about Star Wars. I found myself doing some dozen or more interviews with reporters all over the world in the week leading up to the release of A Force Awakens, filling them in about the impact which the Star Wars franchise has had over the past few decades.

(4) HE’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK FOLKS. James H. Burns sent an email to ask: “Hey, Mike, do you know why I’ll be wearing a deerstalker cap on the 25th?”

The answer: “Because I’ll be Holmes, for Christmas.”


(6) HIGH CASTLE TO CONTINUE. Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle has displaced Titus Welliver-starrer Bosch as its most-watched original according to The Hollywood Reporter.  The show’s pilot also has been streamed more times than any other pilot in Amazon history. The company announced a few days ago it has renewed the show for a second season.

(7) DID YOU PAY ATTENTION? Pit your wits against “Orbit’s Ultimate 2015 Science Fiction and Fantasy Quiz” at Playbuzz. Multiple choice questions, for example:

Fans visited the Discworld for the last time this year, with Terry Pratchett’s final book, The Shepherd’s Crown, released in August. If you were to visit Ankh Morpork, how would you recognise the city’s crest? It contains…

JJ says, “In my opinion, it’s way too heavy on media (Film, TV, comics) and Game of Thrones, but I’m sure a lot of Filers will do well on it.”

(8) BIG NAME ZOMBIE WRITERS. Jonathan Maberry and George Romero are joining forces to edit Rise of the Living Dead, an anthology of all-original stories set in the 48 hours surrounding Romero’s landmark film.

Rise of the Living Dead will be published by Griffin, and will include stories by Brad Thor, Brian Keene, Chuck Wendig, David Wellington, George Romero, Isaac Marion, Jay Bonansinga, Joe Lansdale, Joe McKinney, John Russo, Jonathan Maberry, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Mike Carey, Mira Grant (pen name of Seanan McGuire), Neal Shusterman & Brandon Shusterman, and Sandra Brown & Ryan Brown.

(9) LEWIS PART THREE. Matthew David Surridge unveiled “Wandering the Worlds of C.S. Lewis, Part III: Dymer” at Black Gate.

In 1922 C.S. Lewis recorded in his diary that he had “started a poem on ‘Dymer’ in rhyme royal.” His phrasing’s interesting: a work “on” Dymer, as though it were a well-known subject. “Dymer” was already a familiar story to him. He’d written it out in prose in 1917, one of his first mature prose works to use modern diction and avoid the archaisms of William Morris’ novels. Late in 1918 he wrote in a letter that he’d just completed a “short narrative, which is a verse version of our old friend Dymer, greatly reduced and altered to my new ideas. The main idea is that of development by self-destruction, both of individuals and species.” Nothing of this version seems to have survived in the 1922 poem, which was finished in 1925 and published in 1926 to mixed reviews.

(10) HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS. After viewing “Boston Dynamics’ Robo-Dogs Pulling a Sleigh is a Terrifying Glimpse of Christmas Future”, Will R. asked, “Do electric puppies dream of…wait…where was I?”

I love the possibility of a Christmas battle royal between the Robo-Dogs and the regiment of parading Krampuses – it would be the real life equivalent of that Doctor Who episode where the Daleks fought the Cybermen….

(11) PARTYARCHS. Because the MidAmeriCon II Exhibits team will be helping people throw parties in the Worldcon’s event space, rather than have them in hotel rooms, they are inviting people to an advance discussion —

Hi all you party throwers!

At MidAmeriCon II, we are going to have a different party setup and we have some questions to ask of you and answers to share with you.

Please subscribe to our party-discussion mailing list by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line of SUBSCRIBE.

Even if you aren’t going to throw a party, we are interested in your insight and advice.

(12) BOND ON ICE. James H. Burns calls”Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?” from the sixth James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, “Perhaps the most unusual song in a James Bond film.” Nina Van Pallandt is the singer.

The song played behind this action scene:

(13) RECOMMENDATION SITE. Ken Marable’s 2016 Hugo Recommendation Season is working its way through every category week at a time. It just wrapped up the Best Fanzine recommendations.

Previously covered – Best Semiprozine, Best Fan Writer, Best Professional Artist, and Best Editor (Short Form). See the schedule at the site for when others will be covered.

(14) BOIL’EM, BAKE ‘EM, STICK ‘EM IN A STEW. Peru’s Centro Internacional de la Papa will learn how to grow “Potatoes on Mars”.

A team of world-class scientists will grow potatoes under Martian conditions in a bid to save millions of lives.

The experiment, led by the International Potato Center (CIP) and NASA, is a major step towards building a controlled dome on Mars capable of farming the invaluable crop in order to demonstrate that potatoes can be grown in the most inhospitable environments.

The goal is to raise awareness of the incredible resilience of potatoes, and fund further research and farming in devastated areas across the globe where malnutrition and poverty are rife and climbing….

By using soils almost identical to those found on Mars, sourced from the Pampas de La Joya Desert in Peru, the teams will replicate Martian atmospheric conditions in a laboratory and grow potatoes. The increased levels of carbon dioxide will benefit the crop, whose yield is two to four times that of a regular grain crop under normal Earth conditions. The Martian atmosphere is near 95 per cent carbon dioxide.

(15) FISHER. “Han Jimbo” (James H. Burns) says this interview with Carrie Fisher from earlier in the month is just delightful.

(16) CINEMATIC COAL LUMP. ‘Tis the season to remember what is generally regarded among the worst movies ever made.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians can be viewed free online. (As if you would pay to see it!)

(17) WAY OF THE HOBBIT. Ebook Friendly draws our attention to the “Following the Hobbit trail (infographic)”.

Quirk Books, an independent book publisher based in Philadelphia, has released a fantastic infographic that will let you study the timeline of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

The visual was prepared for Quirk Books by Michael Rogalski.


[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Will R., James H. Burns, John King Tarpinian, JJ, and Gregory N. Hullender for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]

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134 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/22 I Saw Mommy Reading Pixel Scroll

  1. Happy Christmas/Solstice/Winter Holiday of Choice, everyone. 🙂 You’ve all contributed to making my year a better one!

    Don’t forget to vote in the quarter finals – yes, QUARTER FINALS, we’re getting to the really exciting bit – of the Science Fiction Movie Bracket! Will the lone fantasy interloper Time Bandits finally fall in battle against fan-and-Filer-favourite Star Wars? Will one of the finest Trek films prevail against one of the weaker Wars films? Your vote could make all the difference!

  2. @ snowcrash & lurkertype

    +1 on PoI If-Then-Else and Sense8 I Can’t Leave Her. I’m not sure which ep of Jessica Jones, yet. I need to binge on The Flash, too, and see if any of those give me that Hugo tingle. 😉

    I also decided not to put any of these seasons up for Long Form because of the blockbuster and excellent movies that came out this year – Mad Max, The Martian, Ex-Machina, Predestination and now SW. I have Jonathan Strange pencilled in, too, but it may get knocked off after I see SW.

  3. Remember, the back half of The Flash S1 is eligible this year, and my candidate is the season finale. Especially since the first couple of episodes this season were stinky. (It got better.)

  4. With regards to the passing of Peter Dickinson, Open Road Media has six of his works (including 3 Pibble mysteries) for sale at $1.99.

    My link is to Amazon US, but it’s my understanding that the deals also apply to Nook and Kobo.

  5. “He also likes to claim that Wedge is the real hero of the movie. He had an elaborate and weirdly convincing narrative on it which of course I cannot now remember.”

    I don’t know that one, but my former officemate recently wrote a narrative for the original Star Wars movie, taken by itself, where Luke is a terrifying psychic destroyer along the lines of a well-known Twilight Zone episode, and the awards ceremony at the end is everyone painfully trying to be all smiles so as not to displease him:


    I suspect there are a number of other stories (particularly ones where the main character is portrayed with Gary Stu/Mary Sue tendencies) that could be similarly interpreted, were one so inclined.

  6. Today’s gloat in a place I don’t think the recipient of the gift will see it:

    I set out to find a copy of The Demolished Man for a niece who wanted SF mysteries and stumbled across an autographed copy. Paperback but still….

  7. (13) RECOMMENDATION SITE. Ken Marable’s 2016 Hugo Recommendation Season is working its way through every category week at a time. It just wrapped up the Best Fanzine recommendations.

    Previously covered – Best Semiprozine, Best Fan Writer, Best Professional Artist, and Best Editor (Short Form). See the schedule at the site for when others will be covered.

    So that site lists BlackGate as being Semi-Prozine also. In a previous thread I think we got a consensus on it being a Fanzine. [grrrrr]

  8. @Camestros

    Thank you for that! That’s great.

    Happy holidays to all, and to anyone who’s driving, please take care.

  9. I would like to bang a drum for Mr. Robot (if it counts as anything — not sure at all) and The Leftovers (International Assassin episode was incredible) if anyone is looking for dramatic presentation possibilities of the TV variety. I am also not sure if the brief flying saucer visit in Fargo makes it eligible. Those three are the best TV shows I’ve seen this year. I liked Agent Carter a lot, too, but Supergirl, The Flash and Jessica Jones didn’t give me the Tingle o’ Excellence in the same way.

  10. So that site lists BlackGate as being Semi-Prozine also. In a previous thread I think we got a consensus on it being a Fanzine. [grrrrr]

    What we (the Sasquan Hugo Administrators) were told was, while they formerly operated as a semiprozine, Black Gate has changed their model and now operate as a fanzine without paid staff or contributors.

  11. @ Tasha Turner — Eeee! Glad you like it! It was an honor to be involved–some of the art in there makes me glad I’m mostly a writer these days, because dude. (I loved Balaa’s little wombat version of me…)

  12. Standback: Thank you for posting your recommendation list yesterday. It finally got me to break down and subscribe to Kindle Unlimited so I could read F&SF. I just read your recommendation “The Body Pirate” and it was so fantastic (five stars) that I’m wanting to discuss it.

    The scenario, for those who haven’t read it, is a planet where people have two parts, a birdlike form referred to as the “soul” and a humanlike form referred to as the “body”; they can separate and work independently but when together the soul is in charge. Now “soul” is a pretty nebulous concept; no two religions, philosophies, or folk beliefs would agree exactly on what it is and does. Yet I’ve never heard of a version of a soul at all like this one! So the first part of the story sucks the reader into the mystery of just how this strange situation works, as we follow two main characters, a soul named Adela who, along with the brilliant researcher Prelan, developed a way for a soul to associate itself with more than one body; and one of her bodies, who’s a loving stay-at-home father.

    And then… Ceryna vf gehyl oevyyvnag: ur’f ernyvmrq gung gur oynpxoveqf ner cngnfvgrf gung pbybavmrq uhznaf jub neevirq ba guvf cynarg, naq ur’f ernyvmrq gung vg jbhyq or onq sbe guvf gb or trarenyyl xabja — lbh frr, gur fvghngvba fb sne unf orra snveyl unezbavbhf, fvapr gur uhznaf engvbanyvmrq vg ol nccylvat gurve byq eryvtvbhf pbaprcg bs fbhyf; bgure ahzrebhf engvbanyvmngvbaf naq nppbzbqngvbaf xrrc guvatf jbexvat (vs yrff guna vqrnyyl sbe gur uhznaf): gur gnobb ntnvafg obql cvenpl; gur envfvat bs obqvrf naq fbhyf gbtrgure sebz vasnapl fb gwng gurl yrnea gb jbex gbtrgure; gur vafvfgnapr gung obqvrf unir frk orpnhfr gurve fbhyf ybir rnpu bgure, yvxrjvfr na nqncgngvba bs na byq phygheny oryvrs. Vg vf n fubpxvat guvat gb qvfpbire gung gur oynpxoveqf, nygubhtu gurl’er gur cnenfvgvp barf, qrcraq cflpubybtvpnyyl ba gurfr engvbanyvmngvbaf whfg nf zhpu nf gur uhznaf qb. Naq abj gur fuvsg gb zhygvcyr obqvrf vf znxvat gurfr vqrnf naq phfgbzf oernx qbja va ahzrebhf jnlf; Ceryna ernyvmrf vg naq jnagf gb qrfgebl uvf jbex, gubhtu Nqryn fgbcf uvz orsber fur frrf gur ernfba. Vg’f cebonoyl gbb yngr nalubj; Nqryn’f uhfonaq Znegnla unf nyernql orra trggvat fgenatr vqrnf rira gubhtu ur qbrfa’a’xabj nobhg ure jbex. Jung’f yrsg bcra ng gur raq vf jurgure n arj sbez bs pbrkvfgrapr pna qrirybc be jurgure vg’yy or nyy-bhg qrfgehpgvba. N irel svar fgbel vaqrrq, n fghql va gur cbjre bs phygheny nqncgngvba gb znxr gur orfg bs gur fgenatrfg pvephzfgnaprf.

  13. Non sequitoring into this thread…

    Well, not entirely non-sequitorial. Vasha, that story sounds interesting.

    Saw The Martian today, finally. Excellent movie, nowhere near as good as the book. Another data point in my 17+ year continuing understanding of my lady – this woman who hates movies over 90 minutes long, who took back all her previous love for Peter Jackson (she loved his early, gory horror/sci-fi stuff) after the Return of the King, enjoyed this engineering nerd fest. Much food for thought, and reevaluating recommendations.

    I’m a little over halfway through Caliban’s War. And I’m super excited to check out the Expanse series.

  14. My best wishes to all the Filers for a safe and happy holiday season, with much joy and time spent with your loved ones.

    This is what I’ll be doing over the holidays. I am so totally stoked for this.

    Unfortunately, the library cut me off at 35 books; there are another 15 on hold for me, which I can pick up next week when I turn some in.

  15. I’m also keen on PoI episode “YHWH”, which is the season finale and also has much tricksy action, derring-do, and ALL The Feels. SO many feels. Since PoI hasn’t aired anything since May, I fear it will be forgotten. But how much more SF does it get than an actual self-aware AI?! Also Bear the dog is awesome.

    There are so many good movies this year that I’m not considering entire runs of TV shows for Long Form. And so many good TV episodes that I’m having trouble keeping it down to 5. Sadly, the writing this year is keeping me from nominating any Doctor Who, although I love what Capaldi’s doing in the role.

  16. OK, I’m back. Drove through many miles of Christmas shopper traffic. Had a fine dinner at P.F. Chang’s.

    I learned George Clayton Johnson is still holding on, so I’ll go right to work on the Scroll.

  17. I’m definitely nominating Sense8, but I’m not sure “I can’t leave her” is the best choice. Haven’t had a chance to rewatch it, but it strikes me as a great conclusion to the season, but as an individual episode, I’m not as sold. Or at the very least, when imagining a possible voter watching the episode, if you haven’t watched the whole series, I’m not sure it’s as strong and the payoffs are a lot weaker. Personally, I’m more inclined towards “What is human?”, which, with only the basic premise of the series and who people are, I think is a stronger individual episode (although it us difficult since that series is very much one long episode – and maybe I’m thinking too strategically about voters who might watch only that episode). But I’m working on a fuller write up that I will link to on the Rec Season blog. However, I will also try to rewatch the last one and reconsider. Only got through 10 of 12 rewatching so far and there’s so much to love in that show that I need to rewatch it to take it all in.

  18. @Camestros – great card!

    @Red Wombat, loved the Christmas axotl. Or however that’s spelled.

    Seconding all the love for Person of Interest. It’s on my short list. So is Agent Carter. Perhaps an episode of Orphan Black, which I only started watching after seeing the Hugo nominated episode from last season. That episode was so good I binge-watched all three seasons and then watched season 4.

  19. James Davis Nicoll on December 23, 2015 at 7:22 pm said:
    Today’s gloat in a place I don’t think the recipient of the gift will see it:

    I set out to find a copy of The Demolished Man for a niece who wanted SF mysteries and stumbled across an autographed copy. Paperback but still….

    (Low whistle)


  20. James – oooooh.

    And I can’t believe we didn’t properly mark the passing of the Winter Scrollstice.

  21. Is idon’tknow’s spoilery Star Wars comment still showing up in this thread to anyone else or is my version horribly broken in a really specific way?

  22. @ Kathodus, re: The Martian

    That reaction doesn’t particularly surprise me. The Martian may be a geek-tech fest, but it’s also an extremely human movie. Indomitability of the human spirit, people caring and daring for each other, and all that.

  23. Kyra,

    Thanks for your recommendation of The Last Man / No Other Man. It’s knocked Jack Williamson off my list.

  24. @Heather Rose Jones

    That reaction doesn’t particularly surprise me. The Martian may be a geek-tech fest, but it’s also an extremely human movie. Indomitability of the human spirit, people caring and daring for each other, and all that.

    That makes sense. Also, after more discussion, its thorough grounding in reality (storm notwithstanding) made it more compelling.

  25. @Camestros Felapton: Awesome animated holiday greetings! 😀 Thanks, and same back atcha!

    @Bruce Baugh: Your kitties continue to be charmers; the pic of the one batting at your screen is great – “no, Bruce, go this way! press F…PRESS IT!” (I don’t know what F does in that game.)

    @RedWombat: (grins) at the Xmas Axolotl. 😀

  26. @JJ: Nice plans for the holidays – that’s a cool line-up! Please post another pic or list when you get the other 15. 😉 I see a lot of books I’ve heard great things about, including some I have, some I’d like, and a couple I’ve read. Enjoy!

    ObXmasBooks: I got a lot of books for Xmas! 😀 I know, silly when I’m slow and can’t find enough reading time, but my book hunger is assuaged for now and I feel loved. 🙂

    SFF books I received: Patrick S. Tomlinson’s The Ark, Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City, Ari Marmell’s Thief’s Covenant, Julia Knight’s Swords & Scoundrels, Lisa Goldstein’s Weighing Shadows, Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook, M.H. Boroson’s The Girl with Ghost Eyes, and Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant! Also gift receipts – huh, why would I need gift receipts?! These aren’t going back!

    Did you know Amazon lets people sort by how long things have been on there? I didn’t but IMHO it’s groovy. It’s how I got the O’Malley and the Marmell. It’s a thoughtful way to choose (“hey, I see you’ve wanted this for a long time . . .”).

    Anyway, it’s an embarrassment of reading riches and I’m feeling very fortunate. Just trying to squee to folks who’ll appreciate the book love, but apologies in advance if it sounds like bragging (NOT intended!). Y’all would appreciate this more than most, that’s all. 😉

    Happy holidays to you all and if you don’t celebrate any holidays, have a great rest-of-December & New Year’s. Also, wishing everyone happy reading and other SFF fun for your coming year. (Sorry this was rambly.)

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