Pixel Scroll 12/26 May The Fives Be Few With You

(1) PLASTIC FANTASTIC. “That’s No Moon: The Models and Miniatures of the Original ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy” at One Perfect Shot.


Death Star under construction.

They were aged to perfection, they had had battle scars and blaster marks, grime and grit. Vehicles, ships, cities and worlds felt fully populated when they were nothing more than brilliant creations on a work bench. If the biggest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, the biggest trick a model maker ever pulled was convincing us that a world existed. Before CGI was a practical tool, George Lucas and his team at ILM created some of the most amazing moments in cinema using models and miniatures. Here is a gallery of over 100 photos to highlight their efforts and contributions to the art of effects.

(2) 52 MILES OF THE TWILIGHT ZONE. There will be two marathon showings of The Twilight Zone this coming week.

(3) MORE RETRO FICTION. “The Best of Amazing Stories: The 1940 Anthology” is out. Available in an Amazon Kindle edition for $2.99.

Featuring a kicking cover by Robert Fuqua, illustrating Eando Binder’s Adam Link Fights a War.  (Adam Link was featured in not one, but TWO Outer Limits episodes and, historically interesting, is the first robot character to appear under the title I, Robot.  (Ike’s publisher’s would borrow that title a few years later for a small collection of short stories….), The Best of Amazing Stories, The 1940 Anthology brings you four short stories, five novelettes and a novella.

The contents are: Don Wilcox – “The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years”; David Wright O’Brien – “Truth is a Plague”; Ralph Milne Farley – “The Living Mist”; A. W. Bernal – “Paul Revere and the Time Machine”; Malcolm Jameson – “Monster Out of Space”; Nelson S. Bond – “Sons of the Deluge”; Ed Earl Repp – “The Day Time Stopped Moving”; Ross Rocklynne – “The Mathematical Kid”; Richard O. Lewis – “The Strange Voyage of Dr. Penwing”; Donald Bern – “The Three Wise Men of Space”; with interior illustrations by Frank R. Paul, Julian S. Krupa and H. R. Hammond.

(4) YOUR FAKE STAR WARS NEWS. “Man Who Spoiled New Star Wars Movie Beaten In Theater” from TheGoodLordAbove.

A 20-year-old man named Raymond Chatfield walked out of a premiere of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ on Thursday night and shouted out a major spoiler, which was heard by almost a hundred people waiting on line in the lobby.

“I was waiting on line to see the 10pm showing,” said witness Robert Selvidge. “Then this snot-nose kid walks past the line, shouts out the ending and starts laughing. He totally ruined the movie for everyone…what a jerk!”

Chatfield was immediately assaulted by a Wookie, a Stormtrooper and Boba Fett.

However, this story of fannish rough justice was so compelling that Snopes.com felt the need to announce it is bogus.

(5) IT HELPS TO BE CRAZY. Is fandom a mental illness? “Star Wars fans and video game geeks ‘more likely to be narcissists’, study finds”.

Was the first clue that 100% of fans responding agreed they deserve to be studied?

Those who take part in “geeky events” are more likely to have an “elevated grandiose” level of narcissism, according to a study conducted by the University of Georgia.

Psychologists examined the personality traits of those who turn to “geek culture”, developing a Geek Culture Engagement Scale and a Geek Identity Scale to help quantify the figures.

It was found that those who scored highly on both scales were more likely to narcissists.

Subjects are scored on a scale of one to five, depending on how often they take part in activities such as live action role playing games, Dungeons and Dragons, cosplaying, puppetry, robotics – and enjoying things such as video games and Star Wars.

Or maybe there’s only an issue with fans who attend Dragon Con? The article doesn’t say that’s where the survey was done, but it’s suggestive that “The research was conducted across 2,354 people attending a science fiction and fantasy convention in Georgia.”

(6) SAD BUT TRUE. Andrew Liptak, who has the right date of George Clayton Johnson’s death in his io9 obituary, is being forced to endure “corrections” left in comments by people telling him that George died on the 22nd because they read it in the Wikipedia….

(7) STRIPED PUPPIES? Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson thinks “Puppies Won’t Change Their Stripes Even If GRRM Wants Them To”.

I don’t really like to criticize (or even disagree) with Mr. Martin (he was adamantly opposed to my No Award strategy last year and that was no fun).  Not only do I run the risk of pissing off his legions of fans, but I also run the risk of giving puppies fodder for their wood chipper;  ‘oh look, the SJWs are fighting amongst themselves;  take heart, puppies, we’re winning’ and that’s most definitely not fun.

But when it comes to the Hugo Awards, Worldcon and Fandom, I’ve got feelings.

Those feelings tell me that Mr. Martin’s good will is misplaced.  I can say this with a fair degree of confidence because they’ve already been rejected by the people who were the intended recipients.  GRRM wasn’t talking to anyone other than puppies.  It is a given that Fans already share his sentiments.  We would all be more than happy to put this sad affair behind us and move on to find something less visceral to argue about among ourselves, like whether Star Trek or Star Wars is the greatest SF property of all time (apologies to Firefly, Stargate, Babylon 5, Battlestar and fans of other epics, and a side nod to those Trekkies who will always ask “TOS or Nextgen?”).

(8) WHALE OF A TALE. The Vault displays the crew list of the whaling ship Acushnet from 1840, containing the name of a future author (and Bradbury inspiration).

This crew list for the whaler Acushnet, filed with the collector of customs in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in December 1840, incudes the name and physical description of the 21-year-old Herman Melville. The list marks the beginning of the epic trip that was to provide the author with material he used to write his maritime novels Typee (1846); Omoo (1847); Mardi (1849); Redburn (1849); White-Jacket (1850); and Moby-Dick (1851).

(9) SHE WAS FANTASTIC. AND AMAZING. “Cele Godsmith Lalli” remembered at Sweet Freedom.

A photo (oddly a rarity online) of Cele Goldsmith Lalli and her husband Michael, along with photographer and Science Fiction Chronicle editor/publisher Andrew Porter’s obituary for this key magazine editor…she who “discovered” or first professionally published in fantasy and sf such writers as Ursula K. Le Guin, Sonya Dorman (as a prose writer), Thomas M. Disch, Ben Bova, Piers Anthony, and Roger Zelazny, among others…as assistant editor of Fantastic and Amazing, earlier, she had pulled out and accepted Kate Wilhelm’s first story.

After Ziff-Davis sold their fiction magazines in 1965, Goldsmith Lalli went on to work on Modern Bride and served as editor-in-chief for an noteworthy, lengthy term, and an award in the wedding industry is named in her honor.

(10) ADDITIONAL RED CRAYONS NOT INCLUDED. The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book came out in October.

Game of Thrones coloring bookIn a world where weddings are red, fire is green, and debts are paid in gold, countless images leap off the page thanks to the eye-popping intricacy of the vivid settings and details. Now, for the first time, fans of this blockbuster saga can fill in the blanks and marvel as this meticulously imagined universe comes to life, one sword, sigil, and castle at a time. With dozens of stunning original black-and-white illustrations from world-renowned illustrators Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomi?, Adam Stower, and Levi Pinfold….

(11) DEL TORO’S PICKS. “Guillermo del Toro’s Top 10” at The Criterion Collection contains a lot more than 10 movies because “he decided on ties or rather, ‘thematic authorial pairings.”

One of the “ties” is between Brazil and Time Bandits.

Terry Gilliam is a living treasure, and we are squandering him foolishly with every film of his that remains unmade. Proof that our world is the poorer for this can be found in two of his masterpieces. Gilliam is a fabulist pregnant with images—exploding with them, actually—and fierce, untamed imagination. He understands that “bad taste” is the ultimate declaration of independence from the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie. He jumps with no safety net and drags us with him into a world made coherent only by his undying faith in the tale he is telling. Brazil remains one of the most important films of my life, and Time Bandits is a Roald Dahl–ian landmark to all fantasy films. Seeing Time Bandits with my youngest daughter just two weeks ago, I was delighted when she laughed and rejoiced at the moment when Kevin’s parents explode into a cloud of smoke.

(12) EDIBLE BOT. ”How to bake a droid” displays a gingerbread BB-8 on Imgur. (Keep scrolling down.)

(13) TRANSFORMATIVE MELTDOWN. Archive of Our Own (AO3), the fan-run fanfiction archive, hit a new milestone — 20,000 fandoms — despite the fannish organisation that runs the AO3, the Organization for Transformative Works, having a bit of a meltdown involving almost the entire board quitting, leaving only two very new elected board members.

The proximate cause, according to the Fanlore wiki overview, was a decision of the outgoing directors to fill a vacancy on the board with the candidate who finished last in the recent election rather than a higher-placing runner up. At the open online meeting of the directors on November 22, there was substantial pushback – here is a transcript.

The directors resigned en masse in an announcement that also tried to justify their actions.

The OTW Board of Directors voted at its regularly scheduled meeting on 22 November to appoint Andrea Horbinski to serve the remainder of the term vacated in 2014 by Anna Genoese, ending 31 December 2016. Filling board vacancies by appointment is a normal part of board work provided for in Article V §4 of the OTW Bylaws, and the Board has done so at multiple points in the past.

After discussion with the rest of the Board, Andrea Horbinski has decided to decline the appointment to the OTW Board for 2016. She has tendered her resignation from the Board effective 15 December 2015. Soledad Griffin, Jessica Steiner, Eylul Dogruel, Cat Meier, and M.J. MacRae are also resigning from the Board effective on that date. Those who currently serve as members of OTW committees will remain with the organization in their staff roles but not their Board roles.

The remaining directors have coped with the help of OTW’s volunteer committees.

The OTW and its projects, including the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, and Transformative Works and Cultures, are operating normally. Our volunteers are still carrying out their work and will continue to do so throughout this process. Rest assured that everyone’s first priority is to keep the projects and the organization running smoothly.

We, Matty Bowers and Atiya Hakeem, new Board members elected earlier this month, will take office on December 1st. We should have access to all the tools and information available well before the 15th.

Some of the board of directors vacancies have now been filled.

Over the past couple of weeks we have considered the possibility of holding another election. However, after reviewing the organization’s by-laws, consulting the Elections team regarding the workload and demands related to the electoral process — both for candidates and for the Elections team, which has just reached the end of a complex season — and considering the likelihood that the only people stepping forward to run in a theoretical election may have just gone through an election in November, we have decided to maintain the regular election schedule.

Instead, in accordance with the organization’s by-law provisions regarding the filling of Board vacancies, we’ve appointed the top three runner-up candidates in the November elections, Alex Tischer, Katarina Harju and Aline Carrão, to fill the Board seats left vacant by Jessica Steiner, Margaret J MacRae and Soledad Griffin’s resignations for the remaining two years of their terms. The seat previously occupied by Anna Genoese will be kept empty during the next year and will be up for election in 2016 along with a seventh Board seat.

[Thanks to Meredith, Michael J. Walsh, Andrew Porter, David Doering, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

109 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/26 May The Fives Be Few With You

  1. It’s not as simple as “makeup = high narcissism”. It’s “makeup = one of many factors that tend to partially correlate with narcissism”. You can’t draw conclusions about personality from a single factor; you have to look at the whole picture, and even then your conclusions will be population-level generalities rather than individual absolutes.

    Personality measures are always like this; it’s all clues and correlations, rather than clear and obvious data. It’s a difficult and slippery subject, which tends to lead researchers into a reliance on some very complicated but rather abstract mathematical techniques of questionable validity (AKA factor analysis).

    But that isn’t because the researchers are lazy or incompetent; it’s because they’re chasing a very elusive target. As Jared Diamond once put it, “the soft sciences are often the hardest”.

    BTW, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_triad to get an idea of what they mean by “narcissism”. Despite the name, they aren’t actually discussing Greek mythology.

  2. As far as the word “crazy” goes, it’s not a term of art, it’s a common word used to mean all sorts of things. Ditto for “mad”, really. One can be clinically insane without exhibiting much or any behaviour that would make a lay person call you crazy, and you can be colloquially “crazy” without suffering anything diagnosable under DSMs I–V.

  3. @DLS – *sniffle* and thanks

    @Rev Bob – waka waka waka

    @lurkertype – devoured the first two of the Expanse series, got pissed as hell at the ending of the second – fucking cliffhangers! I’m going through the novellas now. Kinda want a change of pace before I get too far into the third. Thinking of embarking on “The Elven”, which I bought based on a file 770 recommendation a couple days ago. Really digging the Expanse series, but don’t want to overdo it and burn out.

  4. Love seeing your kitties, Bruce. I feel like we’re going through the same things right now, what with brand new kitties in the 7 month old area, bonded pairs… It’s difficult to overstate how great they are to have around.

  5. @Soon Lee:

    No cookie? Then I’ll have to settle for cake. Or maybe microwave burritos. 🙂

    I’ve had the first two seasons on Blu-ray for a while, after getting them in a BBC Amazon sale. Had some real trouble figuring out where the first episode was supposed to take place, between the “train to New York” and the British accents, until I saw the Ontario license plate. (The funny-colored bills in “dollar” currency made a lot more sense then, too.)

    So far – that being halfway through the second episode – the show’s got promise. Very worlds-collide, many awkwardness, such whoa.

  6. I’ve received my copy of David Steffen’s The Long List Anthology. I’m really looking forward to reading stories that came so highly recommended they almost made the Hugo ballot.

    In such a huge and diffuse category as short fiction it takes a lot of brilliance and a little luck to even make the long list. So congratulations to all the authors.

  7. @NelC: you could say the same thing about “retarded”. Yeah, it has a common colloquial use. But that colloquial use is harmful to some.

  8. On the OTW meltdown: I’m not seeing much discussion of actual OTW misbehavior. There appears to be some general dissatisfaction with the organization’s sketchy budgeting and fiscal management, and imperfectly transparent reporting of same; also with their appointment of Andrea Horbinski to fill a vacated board position, which was done in accordance with OTW rules.

    The nub of the argument appears to be that (1.) OTW’s management practices could someday allow hypothetical person-or-persons to engage in hypothetical wrongdoing; and (2.) there was no proof that various OTW board actions weren’t evil. (Not that I’ve seen any proof that any board actions were evil. I’ll keep looking.)

    Still a mystery: how this grew into a dust-up serious enough to make the OTW board resign en masse.

  9. The pTerry obit (thanks, DLS) is the opposite of the usual rule: read the comments, they’re full of the warm and affectionate memories of his fans.

  10. @Hampus,

    My translation program provided a somewhat less than smooth Swedish to English version of the article. Am I correct in understanding that the perpetrator managed to set himself on fire in the process? I assume alcohol was involved?

  11. Cathy:

    The perpetrator was caught with soot in his face, singed hair and clothing smelling of petrol. And yes, he was drunk.

    UPDATED: If you watch the video from the start, you can see him running away. And yes, he is on fire then.

  12. Please forgive me for doing a bit of jumping up and down in excitement here, as elsewhere in my social media: I have just completed the first draft for Alpennia #3 (Mother of Souls). This puts me more than a month ahead of my original schedule, which is quite a relief because I’m already cringing and how much revision it needs.

  13. @Hampus: How long is the goat supposed to last, till Epiphany? And what happens to it on the rare occasion it does survive? And why NOT burn it at the end of the season, I say! I thought that’s what giant straw figures were FOR.

    @TNH: I don’t even know enough to have an uninformed opinion. Appointing the last-place winner sounds legal, but tin-eared.

    @Heather: huzzah!

  14. lurkertype:

    “@Hampus: How long is the goat supposed to last, till Epiphany? And what happens to it on the rare occasion it does survive? And why NOT burn it at the end of the season, I say! I thought that’s what giant straw figures were FOR.”

    There are no fixed date for how long it should last. Usually it is over christmas and new year, but in 2014 (when it survived), it was dismantled two days before New Year to be sent to China where it would be used to celebrate Year of the Goat. Other years, if it survives, it is dismantled to use again next year.

    There has been a vote if they should burn it at the end of each year, but it was downvoted as they didn’t want to condone arson.

  15. Included in the list of “geek culture” interests addressed in the survey: Broadway, theater, internet, social network sites, “real life”, lolita, BDSM … that seems like a mighty broad brush to me.

    @Bruce — I am mesmerized by your tuxedo kitten’s four white paws.
    @Heather — congrats!

  16. Teresa Nielsen Hayden: Still a mystery: how this grew into a dust-up serious enough to make the OTW board resign en masse.

    lurkertype: I don’t even know enough to have an uninformed opinion. Appointing the last-place winner sounds legal, but tin-eared.

    There were eight candidates.
    six who had never served on the Board before:
    Atiya Hakeem
    Matty Bowers
    Alex Tischer
    Katarina Harju
    Aline Carrão
    Daniel Lamson

    and two who had previously served on the Board:
    Andrea Horbinski
    Nikisha Sanders

    The first two names above were elected to the Board, the next 3 names were later appointed to open positions. However, instead of appointing newbie Lamson to the additional place, they appointed Horbinski, who has previous Director experience. So they’ve hardly bypassed a bunch of candidates who ranked higher in the election; they only bypassed an inexperienced one in favor of an experienced one.

    It sounds to me that current Board members felt it would be good for the new Board to have at least one experienced member for continuity purposes. A group of members apparently did not agree with this decision (based on the toxic FFA post which was ill-advisedly linked here some months ago by a commenter, Horbinski apparently has some detractors who are severely lacking in maturity), and threw a hissy fit about her appointment.

    It all sounds incredibly childish and grade-schooley cliquish to me. It will be interesting to see how well (or if) the OTW survives, given the circumstances.

  17. @Bruce Baugh: Cuteness engaged – video test successful! 😀 Is the mostly-balck one part Manx? The tail’s unusual, and IIRC Manxes can be tailless or have stumps.

    @Hampus Eckerman: What the heck, is that an animal or an animatronic creation of yours?! 🙂 Also: impressive goat fire!

    @Heather Rose Jones: Congrats!

  18. @Kendall: Well, if the boy is part Manx, so’s his sister. 🙂 I don’t really know, though at the pet store they said the pair have a brother who was also born with the lil’ tail.

  19. @Hampus: Freaky! 😉 Cool – did a quick Google – I didn’t know ravens could ‘talk’. I learn something new every day.

    @Bruce: Groovy. My spouse’s Manxes (well, I believe part Manx) had hind legs almost like rabbits. 🙂

  20. @ Bruce Baugh
    Lurve the kitty video! As I mentioned before, your girl’s coloring is similar to the tortie part of my torbie cat’s markings. It’s hard to tell in pictures, but are all her light parts cream or is there some light orange? Have they got names yet?

    @ Heather Rose
    Congratulations on the manuscript!

    @ Hampus
    Looooved the raven. “Say nevermore”

    I perused the study a bit (I don’t have Camestros’ skills, but I noodled out some of what they did) and thought they were biasing their criteria somewhat, too. (Serious question – is BDSM and polyamory part of the definition of SFF/comic fandom? Not that I have any objection to the activities, just never thought of them as being central to geekdom!)

    People who enjoy performing in any manner are probably, on average, going to be more extroverted (and maybe a bit more narcissistic). What is the ‘normal’ distribution for all these character traits in the general population and then what is the distribution in this hobbyist group, then among another hobbyist groups like local basketball tourneys/teams or gardening clubs or historical reenactment societies or local theater groups? Or marching band competitions (we have a very good friend who’s been doing this since high school and is now in his early 60s! Having been there, nothing was nerdier than being a band geek.) 🙂

    I, too, wondered at their assumption that attending Dragon Con was some generalized criteria for geekhood. Just being at the con would seem to exclude many, if not most, of the introverted, non-joining citizens of geekery. It was also silly to equate the make-up and dress and demeanor of people at a con where dressing up and costuming is part of what people engage in is an appropriate way to determine if you’re a narcissist and whether someone else can identify you as a geek from a photo! It would be almost as ridiculous as taking a picture of people at a Halloween party and deciding that’s the way they act and dress all year!!!!

    The study authors do explain in one of the closing paragraphs that the traits they found were not at clinicallly significant levels and may be correlated with more creativity among a population.

    I was a little miffed at their assumption that having a hobby wasn’t participating in real life, too!?! /rant I’m done.

  21. junego:

    “is BDSM and polyamory part of the definition of SFF/comic fandom”

    They’d be very surprised to know at our munches. What I can say is that there is a proportionally high amount of LARPers among BDSM practicioners and – as far as I know – also among polys.

  22. @IanP @Hampus

    I like the one about the American tourist who was convinced he was taking part in some traditional custom….you know there were at least a few locals convincing him on that note!

  23. snowcrash: Oh, that poor guy. He was the first person who was caught and convicted for goat burning. 10 000 euros in fines. And no, he knew quite well what he was doing. He’s said quite strange stuff during the years to get attention, wanting 1000 euros for an interview. Some kind of artist.

  24. Nah, more like he was a bit drunk after dinner with his friends and did it kind of spontaneously. Was caught directly afterwards. According to his own version, he panicked and tried to put out the fire. Impossible of course.

  25. Bruce Baugh said:

    Well, if the boy is part Manx, so’s his sister. 🙂

    Not necessarily– littermates can have different fathers.

  26. @Junego: The girl’s orange is all cream. We are closing in on names, but not quite there yet.

  27. Wanderfound — If you’re offended by such terms, I won’t gainsay you, but I’d say that “crazy” is more like “idiot”: it may have had a technical meaning in the past, but now it’s just a word, that carries no insulting baggage outside its intended target. And I’d say it’s a useful word for describing thought processes one doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to. But I’m open to alternatives.

    I was in a bookstore today and happened to notice they had both a Tolkien colouring book, a Sherlock colouring book, and a Dr. Who colouring book. Apparently franchise colouring books is a thing. (Didn’t spot a Star Wars one, though.)

  29. I’d say that “crazy” is more like “idiot”: it may have had a technical meaning in the past, but now it’s just a word, that carries no insulting baggage outside its intended target. And I’d say it’s a useful word for describing thought processes one doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to. But I’m open to alternatives.

    Many people in the disability rights and neurodiversity pride movements argue that “crazy” is ableist language and far from neutral. There are also some questionable aspects about how women get called crazy to delegitimize them, which is further reason to avoid using it.

    It’s also not terribly descriptive, and replacing it can help make one’s language more precise and vivid.

  30. Vasha :

    I just coincidentally had some similar thoughts about the expression “mad scientist”. These literary characters are too often called insane when they evidently are not; (who can pin a medical or legal diagnosis on them anyway)?

    Have you considered that “mad scientist” may well mean “someone who practices mad science” instead of or as much as “someone who practices science and is mad”? John Nash isn’t held up as a good example of a “mad scientist”, despite the obvious fit – maths and game theory lacks the pizzazz of huge sparking Jacob’s Ladders, death rays, and apes with televisions instead of heads.

  31. @Bruce Baugh wonderful cat cuteness in the video. 😀

    @Hampus Eckerman thanks for the Nevermore Raven. Rarely get to see those.

    @Lexica thank you for the great resources on why Not to use crazy love the last one 🙂

    @JJ keep in mind from the outside looking in puppygate looks pretty childish for the amount of outrage it’s gotten. I’m going to wait for more information before making judgments on someone else’s kerfluffle.

  32. @Bruce re: kittens — they could have different fathers, depending on mamacat’s location and attractiveness. Or it could just be incomplete expression of the trait. I had a cat with a stumpy tail who had a Manx daddy, but the other kittens in the litter had regular tails. My current tuxedo is handsome, but not too bright and suffers from anxiety, since I am 95% sure his father was also his grandfather. At minimum; there may have been another generation in there. The other 5% probability involves his father being his half-brother/uncle. Inbreeding really isn’t a good idea. I eagerly await your kittens’ names.

    While I have a big personal stake in pushing back against ableism*, I gotta admit I’m not offended when someone says, “Florida is cray-cray.”

    *not just us people: see aforesaid intellectually challenged and anxiety disorder-having kitteh. The other cat was almost put down as a kitten because she has a club foot, which is one of the reasons we took her in.

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