Pixel Scroll 12/24/16 Pixel Scroll is Coming To Town

(0) OFF ON THE TWENTY-FIFTH. Me and the reindeer will be dashing between family events tomorrow, so may your Christmas be merry and bright, or another holiday you celebrate be outta sight!

(1) SEASON’S GREETINGS. Kip W. created the blog version of a favorite carol:

Deck the file with scrolls of pixels!
Follow, la la la, and tick the box.
Stalk the gods with well-aimed clicksels,
Follow, la la la, and tick the box.
Jolly verses, filks a-sounding,
Follow la, follow la, tick that box
Jesting titles, puns abounding,
Follow, la, and don’t forget the box

(2) ALL-TIME BEST SELLING SFF AUTHORS. Gift-giving fans are making the cash registers ring this holiday season, giving The Wertzone’s Adam Whitehead the idea for an interesting roundup – “The SFF All-Time Sales List”.

George R.R. Martin is not in the top 10!

(3) WHERE’S SANTA? Follow Santa’s journey around the world with NORAD’s Santa Tracker. Yes, even the jolly old elf can’t escape the eye of our surveillance society!

(4) WORLD SF. Paul Kincaid reviews the VanderMeers’ The Big Book of Science Fiction for the LA Review of Books.

Of the 105 stories in The Big Book of Science Fiction, 31 are by women, which is a remarkable advance in comparison to many of its predecessors.

More remarkable is Sinisalo’s nationality. As a literature of the 20th century, science fiction has often been perceived as characteristically Anglo-American. The usual story goes like this: SF is often said to have originated in Britain (Mary Shelley, Wells), but with the advent of the pulps, particularly Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, the genre quickly became overwhelmingly American. Writers from Canada or Australia were allowed into the club, but anything not written in English was for all intents and purposes invisible. After Verne, Zamyatin, and ?apek, science fiction in languages other than English certainly didn’t feature in the histories. There may have been an awareness that science fiction was being written in Germany, in the Soviet Union, and perhaps even in Japan, but there was little idea of what that science fiction might actually look like. Even when work by Stanis?aw Lem and the Strugatsky Brothers began to appear in translation, these were regarded less as representatives of other science fiction traditions than as clever foreigners who had learned how to do an American trick. Only since the turn of the century has the idea of science fiction as an international literature once again started to take hold. Even so, representative anthologies still tend to be overwhelmingly American.

It may be a pleasing shock, therefore, to discover that the contents of this anthology include stories from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Spain.

(5) WITH OCCASIONAL SILVER LINING. John Scalzi selected 20 posts that represent the year at Whatever:

It’s a politics-heavy wrap-up, which is not surprising in an election year, and in this election year in particular; it could have been even more election-heavy but I didn’t want to depress everyone more than they already are. There are other things thrown in there as well for balance, including some happy stuff (really!). No matter how you slice it, however, 2016 was a dark mess, and many of the best Whatever entries this year reflect that.


  • December 24, 1973 Twilight series author Stephanie Meyer.

(7) SCHEMING STREAMING VIDEO. Steve Davidson might deserve a lump of coal for finding a new reason to worry about the Hugos this weekend —  “It’s not that I don’t get it, I can’t get it!”.

Until very recently, Hugo voters in North America could pretty much count on everyone having access to the same shows, with little to no (or at least customary) expense associated with that access.

Things have been changing.  I, for example, do not get HBO (nor any of the other premium movie channels).  Which means that I can’t watch Game of Thrones, which means that I don’t vote for Game of Thrones, not because it isn’t a worthy property, but because neither I, nor anyone else, should vote for things they are not familiar with.

Personally, that’s a minor issue for me.  I’m not that much into fantasy (ok, so it might have some SF elements looming) nor soap operas.

But what about The Man in the High Castle?  That’s on Amazon Prime.  Or the new Star Trek: Discovery coming to CBS’ premium streaming service.  Or Jessica Jones on Netflix.  Or some series on Hulu.

Right now, “TV” shows can be delivered to you through broadcast, cable, through multiple paid streaming services, through your gaming console and VR (strap your phone into a goggle system) is beginning to rev up.

An individual wanting to have access to everything that might be eligible will soon need to spend a tidy sum; internet access, multiple premium cable channels, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix subscriptions, two (or more) gaming consoles, a VR headset (and who knows what subscriptions) and, potentially, subscriptions to streaming services offered by multiple broadcasters and indie streaming outlets….

(8) THE POET LARIAT. Camestros Felapton lifts our spirits

So this is pixels and what have you done
Another scroll over, a new one just begun
And so this is pixels, I hope you have fun
The near and the dear books, the old and the young
A very merry pixels and a happy new scroll
Let’s hope it’s a good one with a variety of beers
And so this is pixels for blogs and for books
The rich and the poor ones, the hobbits are Tooks
And so happy Scroll Pixels for pups and for not
For SF and F let’s stop all the fights
A very merry pixels and a happy new scroll
Let’s hope it’s a good one without any um, what rhymes with scroll? Roll? Poll? Drole? Prole? Soul? Stole? Mole?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Gregory Benford for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Redheadedfemme.]


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90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/24/16 Pixel Scroll is Coming To Town

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever gets you through the dark of the year in these northern climes. And for those in the tropics and southern hemisphere, might as well party on in the sunshine. I sang at two Christmas Eve Masses, was in better voice than I’ve been all this year. Will be spending a quiet lazy Christmas day with the cats, have a new remote control toy for them.

  2. A Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or other seasonal holiday to all Filers!

    Here in Germany, Christmas Eve is the main event, so I’ve already opened all my gifts. Here is what Santa (and Amazon) brought me: https://twitter.com/CoraBuhlert/status/812762889060777984/photo/1

    2) Fascinating list and I’m particularly pleased that Adam Whitehead chose to look beyond the limits of the anglophone world. Though he missed Jason Dark a.k.a. Helmut Rellergerd, who would probably have made the top ten, if not number 1 (weekly novella series published continuously since 1978 and intermittently since 1973, written almost entirely by the same guy).

    Adam Whitehead also proves my point that some of the most popular SFF authors write urban fantasy, paranormal romance and YA and often aren’t on SFF fandom’s radar at all. Though I was also stunned how many extremely successful SFF authors there are whom I’ve never head of, mostly 1980s horror authors and tie-in writers.

    7) Coming from a country which has a regular TV license fee every household must pay, I resent the rise of pay TV channels and streaming video platforms, because I already pay for TV and don’t want to pay extra. Though as a fan from outside the US, I’ve always seen most genre TV at least a year later anyway. Plus, there are ways to procure shows that don’t have a DVD release, even if they’re not legal.

  3. @Kendall: (tracking books read)

    I’ve got a database on my old Palm T2 for each year since and including 2011 that covers books and movies, and for a few years before that, I logged books on my wall calendars. Since I joined Goodreads in August 2011, I’ve also been tracking my book reading there… along with, of course, book buying. In both cases, “books” includes graphic novels, just as “movies” encompasses theatrical, disc, cable, and seasons of TV shows.

    Goodreads has some really nice data-slicing tools for tracking your reading habits, too. I’m at 140 books for the year, which is down a bit from my general average of 150-160, especially when I notice how much of that is graphic novel content. (Comics go really fast for me, and graphic novels tend to be short.) I’m also showing 109 movies for the year, and both numbers will probably tick up a little over the next week. This means that my big Open Road splurge is enough new “book” content to last me almost three years – maybe less, if I factor in that many of those books are shorter than average new books are. (My current average is about 240 pages/book.)

    Ain’t data mining wonderful? 😀

  4. My novel reading is way down again this year, due to 1) File770, and 2) extra effort made on novella reading:

    97 Novels (2016-36, 2015-33, older-28)
    52 Novellas (2016-28, 2015-21, older-3)
    2 Collections
    1 Anthology
    4 Non-Fiction

    Normally I do around 150 novels a year (and ~3 novellas), but I expect to get at least a dozen more books in between now and the New Year, at least.

  5. It’s Christmas morning here at Ansible Towers. Best wishes to you all!

    Because I am a sad old git I didn’t rush to open presents but first drank tea and finished yesterday’s Inquisitor crossword (which proved to be deviously laden with red herrings). In this way I keep my decaying vocabulary sufficiently topped up to face the challenge of Gene Wolfe if not Stephen R. Donaldson.

  6. I’ve currently got 199 (!) books listed on goodreads, of which around 30 are 2016 novels and 17 are 2016 novellas. Definitely a couple of tinglers and some older novellas and short reads in the rest of the total too.

    Aiming for Ken Liu’s Wall of Storms as book 200 and would highly recommend from what I’ve read so far – will put up a full review once I finish properly.

    No TV, no subscriptions definitely contributed to this total, but also limits a lot of conversations one can have at parties…

  7. “Hampus, can you tell us what would be the–err–American cultural equivalent of praying to Loki? Are we talking like Satan or like The Joker?”

    I think Mr. Mxyzptlk is the closest equivalent. Loki is not really evil until the end when his Giant nature takes over, but he is a trickster and with the kind of tricks that laughs more at you than with you.

  8. Merry Christmas and happy filong to y all!

    (2) Nice review. Im not really into short ficition, so I wont buy it, but Im interested about the content 🙂 Sadly, they missed Clark Dalton, as a big influence on German SF – and he used to be one of my personal favorites when I was younger as well. (Since Jason Dark wrote more Horror, I didnt think of him)

  9. I would think the American equivalent of praying to Loki would be making an offering to Coyote, the trickster. Perhaps Mudhead figures in there somewhere, but I’m not well-versed enough to be even vaguely authoritative. Apart from bringing them up, I’ll defer to anybody what knows airy a thing in the matter.

  10. @Kip W: Here’s to another year of keeping our sanity together, or at least helping one another not to miss it.
    Me, I’m just glad to have gotten through the holiday concert with candle wax only on my hand and not on my tux, unlike last year. (The “candlelight processional” is getting out of hand….) And I’ve never before had a single concert add seven composers to my life list, so it’s a win all around. A cultural note: the replacement Assembly Square multiplex (just north of Boston) was quite busy yesterday evening, unlike its predecessor (which I remember as being almost empty ~20 years ago). I don’t \think/ the full bar had much to do with it; the new one is more inviting in other ways, but customs are also drifting.

  11. Merry seasonally appropriate holiday to all!

    The family is out of town visiting relatives both last week and the upcoming week. So it’s just me and the SJW credentials today.

    Said credentials having inverted their personalities in mourning the missing peoples – the fiercely independent tabby-bengal cross has decided dad must remain in sight (preferably from a position on his lap); the gregarious mainecoon, on the other hand, has decided to remain closet bound in protest except at dinner time.

    Back to normal home occupancy in a few days though and then we’ll celebrate.

    In the meantime a quiet day to catch up on reading and maybe watching age inappropriate for stepson movies / series.

    Just watched episode one of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and am impressed. Jazzy in sound and visuals with a darker tone than the older Lupin the Third series. Warning for adult themes and a lot of nudity. I haven’t decided yet if it’s gratuitous or not. Looking forward to episode two shortly.

  12. Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year.

    My wife was delighted with her K-9 Bobble head doll, her K-9 Christmas Tree ornament, her Wonder Woman doll and her doll in native costume from Peru.

    Greg – I still owe you a beer for the interesting Hugo analysis. I’ll be in Chattanooga for LibertyCon this summer. Hopefully I can see you and buy the beer. There is a good pub downtown at the Choo-Choo itself.

  13. We must have, at some point, done “But Pixel, It’s Scrolled Outside,” right?

    A Merry Filemas and Happy Scrollidays to one and all!

  14. Little Dog is sleeping the sleep of the just, or at least the sleep of roast beast and pie. I am tucked up with books and a pot of tea. At least in this hour, life really couldn’t be better.

  15. I don’t track my reading, because I do a lot of re-reading as well as new stuff. Speaking of which, I got a bunch of books! Fatal Enquiry and Anatomy of Evil by Will Thomas (from a historical mystery series, not quite steampunk, that I’d gotten behind on); 1493 by Charles C. Mann (the follow-up to 1491); Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang; and Day Shift by Charlaine Harris (sequel to Midnight Crossing, urban fantasy mystery). Also a Piano Guys CD and some colorful ninja socks.

    My partner got a different Piano Guys CD, and the DVDs of Fury Road and Star Trek Beyond, and some accessories to go with his Black Watch kilt (which was an early Yulegift while we were at Austin Celtic Festival). And he’s got another gift coming that I didn’t get ordered quite early enough.

    @ Hampus: I tend to think of Loki as somewhat cognate to Coyote (the indigenous one, not the cartoon one).

  16. Isn’t Coyote generally concerned with the welfare of his people, whereas Loki is just generally a jerk and likes to play “pranks” along the lines of murdering his fellow gods?

  17. Happy Yuletide to you all. Thank you to Mike and all filers for the community. I hope you have all both added some height to Mount TBR, and have had some downtime to attack it as well.

    I’m reading Infomocracy myself, and loving it so far.

    Also, this may have been posted already, but anyway – a trailer for Alien: Covenant was released yesterday:

  18. @kathodus

    I believe there is variation depending on which tribe and region’s traditions you look at.

    I think in most of what I’ve read: Coyote is not so much evil in the Judeo-Christian mold but more so self centered and heedless of consequences to others. In some traditions he has a loose loyalty to his family and people; in others less so. In either case his actions frequently bring good or evil through no particular intent or concern on his part.

    All of which brings to mind a couple books:

    Fire Race

    Based on a Karuk people’s tale of Coyote, this was always a family favorite bedtime story when stepson was still young enough for reading to. Buzzing for the yellow jackets was always guaranteed giggles. Obviously a children’s book but one I really enjoyed.

    Eye of Cat

    After Amber, probably my favorite Zelazny work (though it’s possibly the least spoken about of them all). Quick summary: the last Navajo tracker engages in a death hunt as the prey of an alien he once captured. I’m not sure if Zelazny got the mythology right or not (and obviously there is potential conversation there about cultural appropriation on his part). For tone, pacing, and lyricism it stands out as one of his best.

  19. Holy crap 2016. Will you just go quietly already?

    Some us are still not entirely used to Christmas in summer.

    Hrk. I still (partially) remember one Christmas where it broke 50 degrees Celsius (apparently 122 in Fahrenheit). Partially as that temperature along with copious amounts of champagne doesn’t actually do wonders for long term memory.

  20. Nowhere near 50C here in Minneapolis, but it’s been raining all day and got closer to 50F than we’re used to seeing on Christmas Day.

    (And the rain bodes not well for when the temperature does drop and everything freezes over again.)

  21. @Joe And I’ve heard thunder tonight here. Most definitely not normal. And I do think that when it all freezes, its going to be a mess

  22. The forecast predicted low-70s around here for Christmas, but I don’t know how accurate that was as I didn’t get outside. That wasn’t the plan, but I got put on some new meds last week. So far, they’ve had two key effects: wake me up earlier than normal, and knock me out around midday.

    Neither of my video Christmas gifts are what I’d consider festive (Vincent Price, Bill Hicks), so I picked up where I left off with Get Smart some time ago. Just finished watching the episode where Carol Burnett guest-starred as “Ozark Annie.” Funny stuff, as expected.

  23. Hello Merry Christmas to you all.

    My brother just managed to confuse me.

    He told me about this new fantasy show, he has seen a trailer of. The Problem I can’t find anything on the internet that this thing even exists.

    He said it was called Midland Chronicals, and was about a Preacher who comes to a town and has to organise some defense (I think)

    What was he talking about?

    About the List: I think it is cool that there are german writers on it. Clark Darlton has i think the same problem that many clasic writers have: It is nearly imposible to get data for older writers. Then there is the fact that he was a “heftromanauthor” very looked down and that a lot of his work was for Perry Rhodan where numbers aren’t that easily found.

  24. Going with the belated Yule greetings, and just in case there’s anyone who hasn’t seen this: a belated link to Susan Cooper’s The Shortest Day. (Click on the card to see text; apologies for the commercial link, but unlike several others Google digs up I can expect that this one is authorized.) Unfortunately the reading-out-loud link I used to have for this is no longer accessible; the Sol Invictus link isn’t bad overall, but it’s a shadow of the original recording (by WGBH programmer/announcer Robert J. Lurtsema).

  25. @StefanB.

    About the List: I think it is cool that there are german writers on it. Clark Darlton has i think the same problem that many clasic writers have: It is nearly imposible to get data for older writers. Then there is the fact that he was a “heftromanauthor” very looked down and that a lot of his work was for Perry Rhodan where numbers aren’t that easily found.

    The circulation figures I have seen for Heftromane, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, are huge and put the print runs of many respectable “proper” books to shame (Heftromane are something of a research interest of mine). Hence, SFFH Heftroman writers like Jason Dark (a.k.a. Helmut Rellergerd), Clark Dalton (a.k.a. Werner Ernsting) and A.F. Morland (a.k.a. Friedrich Tenkrat a.k.a. a couple of other pen names) certainly do belong on the list, unless the length and publication method of the Heftromane disqualifies them.

    For international filers, Heftromane are digest-sized fiction magazines popular in Germany and Austria. They’re similar to dime novels and pulp magazines in the US and penny dreadfuls in the UK, except that Heftromane still exist. A standard Heftroman is about 32 pages long, printed on woodpulp paper with glossy covers, and contains one short novella. Heftromane sold at news stands, supermarkets and train stations and come in a variety of genres. Romance is the most popular genre with the subgenres medical romance (doctors and nurses), aristocratic romance (lords, ladies, princes and the like), Heimatroman (stories with a strong regional slant, usually set in the Alps), children and family (single mother finding love, families reunited and the like) and gothic romance. Other Heftroman genres are westerns, crime and mystery, war and – of particular interest to Filers – SF, fantasy and horror. Perry Rhodan is a Heftroman series and there are other SFFH series such as Ghost Hunter John Sinclair, Professor Zamorra, Maddrax, Jessica Bannister, Dark Land, Irrlicht, Gaslicht, Geisterroman, etc…

  26. Re Midnight, Texas: I just recently read the book, and I am Not Impressed with that trailer. There’s a bunch of shit in it that they’re just flat making up, and none of the characters look much like their descriptions. Get the book, it’s better.

  27. Thanks,
    so my brother is out of luck.
    I don’t know if Midnight, Texas is somethink for him, but I am afraid it was a trailer for Preacher. (he first mentioned it at last a mounth ago, and there doesn’t seem to be a german trailer for Midnight, Texas on youtube)
    Now my brother and Garth Ennis I don’t think that is a good combo. (Just remembers how he reacted to the more tame Game of Thrones)
    Well I got his Deadpool DVD and the tipp to enjoy the film, switch of my brain and don’t listen to a word the protagnist is saying…

  28. @Lee —
    Accurately casting Manfred’s appearance as described in the books might be a little tricky 🙂
    But I need to reread the books some time soon. I meant to do a reread from the beginning after the 3rd one came out, but I think I got distracted.

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