Pixel Scroll 1/4/17 Four Scrolls And Seven Pixels Ago

(1) GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. SF Crowsnest reviewer Eamonn Murphy isn’t a big fan of Uncanny Magazine. His review of issue #13, which is still online, passes such judgements as —

The non-fiction in ‘Uncanny Magazine’ usually consists of essays complaining about the lack of one-legged Mexican lesbian heroes in films because of the white Anglo-Saxon phallocentric conspiracy that controls the media or about how difficult it is to be a ‘Star Wars’ fan if you have a big nose.

At this hour, however, Murphy’s more recent review of Uncanny Magazine #14 is a 404-sized hole in the internet. It was yanked in response to the outraged reaction provoked by Murphy’s sarcastic comments about the transgender and gay characters in Sam J. Miller’s story “Bodies Stacked Like Firewood.”

Murphy’s review is still available as screenshots in Sarah Gailey’s Twitter feed.


Uncanny Magazine’s editors declared: “A review website published a hateful, heavily transphobic review of Uncanny Magazine 14. They will no longer be receiving review copies.” and “We normally don’t comment on reviews, but we will when there is hate speech in the review directed at the content & the creators.”

Jim C. Hines answered with what I’d call a fisk of Murphy’s review (although Hines doesn’t).

Not only does Mr. Murphy start frothing at the mouth when a story includes a queer or trans character or talks about tolerance, he keeps frothing even when he thinks the story isn’t about those things. We’re talking about a man set to permanent froth, a cross between malfunctioning espresso machine and a dog who ate too much toothpaste and shat all over your carpet.

(2) UP ABOVE THE WORLD SO HIGH. The Nature Conservancy’s Photo of the Month for January pictures the Milky Way over Mount Rainier, positioned so it looks like Rainier is erupting stars. The photographer explains:

This shot was a year in the making. That’s the Milky Way galaxy appearing as if it’s erupting out of the Mount Rainier volcano, with the headlamps of climbers on their way to the summit.

…Once I acquired a good camera from a friend I began tracking the phases of the moon and waiting for that once-a-month new moon when the skies would be darkest. I tracked satellite images of where light pollution was located, tracked weather patterns, and waited for a clear enough sky to perfectly align with the new moon.

I also scouted locations for the exact time and placement in the sky of the core of the Milky Way relative to where I would be hiking. I experienced a lot of trial and error, but finally the ideal location, weather and moon phase all lined up perfectly for a galactic eruption.

(3) FLAME ON. Launched this month — Fiyah Magazine of black speculative fiction.

P. Djeli Clark tells the history behind the magazine and the significance of its title in “The FIYAH This Time”.

Excerpts from the stories in the first issue are available online.

  • Long Time Lurker, First Time Bomber // Malon Edwards
  • Police Magic // Brent Lambert
  • Revival // Wendi Dunlap
  • The Shade Caller // DaVaun Sanders
  • Sisi Je Kuisha (We Have Ended) // V.H. Galloway
  • Chesirah // L.D. Lewis


(4) SFWA ELECTIONS. Cat Rambo answered my questions about when the process officially begins:

The official call for candidates goes out January 15, administered by our able Elections Commissioner, Fran Wilde and that’s when we open up the section of our discussion boards where people can post their platforms and answer the inevitably lively “Ask the Candidates” thread. This year the election will be for President, Secretary, and a couple of Director positions.

File770 readers who are SFWA members who’ve never been on the board might want to think about running for Director at Large. The team is super, the organization is moving towards doing some cool stuff, and it’s a great way to pay things forward.

(5) IN BOOKS TO COME. Making sure your TBR stack remains as high as Everest, the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has posted “96 Books Sci-Fi & Fantasy Editors Can’t Wait for You to Read in 2017”. Lots of new authors – but at least one of them is far from unknown:

Talon of God, by Wesley Snipes and Ray Norman (July 25) It’s one thing to hear that Wesley Snipes (yes, that Wesley Snipes!) has written a novel. It’s another thing to find out that it’s one of the best new urban fantasies you’ve read in a long time. Beyond its star appeal and great angels versus demons mythos, the thing that Wesley and Ray Norman do that really drew me in was give us some powerful black heroes at a time when the call for diversity has never been higher—or more necessary.

(6) SHORT FICTION ROUNDUP. The Tangent Online 2016 Recommended Reading List” contains 379 stories — 296 short stories, 65 novelettes, and 18 novellas.

Jason Sanford created a scoreboard showing how many stories various SFF publishers placed on the list.

Sanford personally landed four on the list “including three stars for my Beneath Ceaseless Skies novelette ‘Blood Grains Speak Through Memories.’ This made my day!”

(7) AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE BUT CALIFORNIA. From the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America discussion board:

By now virtually everyone in ABAA knows about how Easton Press is no longer shipping autographed books to California. To see this for yourself, just go to the Easton Press website and click on a specific autographed item for sale.

You will see this message:

Sorry, this product cannot ship to California.

No explanation for this is given on the website. Scott Brown reports that Easton Press won’t confirm it has anything to do with the new California law. But what else could it be?

So many well-known authors are represented by Easton Press that this could be the break we have needed to get legislators to understand what is at stake because of their new law:

No one in California can buy an autographed book from Easton Press any more!  

Easton Press is currently offering 127 signed items.


  • Born January 4, 1785 — German folklore and fairy tale collector Jacob Grimm.

(10) LE GUIN FELLOWSHIP. Theodora Goss announced she is one of two recipients of a Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship. The fellowship will pay for her to travel to Le Guin’s archives at the University of Oregon so she can research the Le Guin book she’s writing for University of Illinois Press.

I contacted the University of Oregon to ask who is the second recipient and have not had a reply.

(11) DOCUMENTING FANAC. Joe Siclari shared with readers of his Fanac.org newsletter —

We’re starting to get some notice.  Cory Doctorow picked up on our posting of the mid-80s fannish mystery “FAANS” to the FANAC Youtube channel, and wrote about it for BoingBoing.net.  The MAC Video Archeology Project contributed some choice pieces of 1976 video, including a truly entertaining interview with Alfred Bester. The interview has had more than 700 views and FAANs is up over 400.


FANAC.ORG website: Our Newszine History Project is still going strong. Since our last update, we have added 200 new issues. We still have 100s more to do and could certainly use some help with  missing issues. We’re not ignoring the rest of the fan publishing world though – we’re adding some choice fanzine titles, like Greg Benford and Ted White’s 1950s VOID and Dave Kyle’s 1930s Fantasy World (credited with being one of the first comics fanzines).

(12) TENSION APPREHENSION. James Gleick’s review of Arrival and Ted Chiang’s new story collection for the New York Review of Books is behind a paywall. It begins —

What tense is this?

I remember a conversation we’ll have when you’re in your junior year of high school. It’ll be Sunday morning, and I’ll be scrambling some eggs….

I remember once when we’ll be driving to the mall to buy some new clothes for you. You’ll be thirteen.

The narrator is Louise Banks in “Story of Your Life,” a 1998 novella by Ted Chiang. She is addressing her daughter, Hannah, who, we soon learn, has died at a young age. Louise is addressing Hannah in memory, evidently. But something peculiar is happening in this story. Time is not operating as expected. As the Queen said to Alice, “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”

(13) SMALL BUT LOUD. Astronomers have pinpointed the location of an enigmatic celestial object that spits out brief, but powerful, blasts of radio waves. Nature says the mysterious cosmic radio blasts have been traced to a surprising source.

The latest work, published on 4 January in Nature, is the sharpest look yet at the home of a fast radio burst known as FRB 121102. Located in the constellation Auriga, the intermittent signal was first detected on 2 November 2012. Since then, it has flared up several times, making it the only fast radio burst known to repeat.

A team led by Shami Chatterjee, an astronomer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, began with the 305-metre-wide Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Its sensitivity allowed the scientists to detect multiple bursts from FRB 121102. The team then used two sets of radio telescopes — the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, and the European VLBI Network across Europe — to narrow down the location of FRB 121102 even further.

The bursts originate from a dwarf galaxy that emits faint radiation in both radio and visual wavelengths. Follow-up observations with the Gemini North telescope, on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, showed that it is less than one-tenth the size and has less than one-thousandth the mass of the Milky Way.

”The host galaxy is puny,” says team member Shriharsh Tendulkar, an astronomer at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “That’s weird.” With fewer stars than many galaxies, dwarf galaxies would seem to have less of a chance of hosting whatever creates fast radio bursts. That would include neutron stars, one of the leading candidates for the source of fast radio bursts.

But much more work is needed to pin down the physical mechanism of what causes these mysterious bursts, says Chatterjee. For now, FRB 121102 is just one example.

That need could be filled later this year when a new radio telescope comes online in British Columbia, Canada, dedicated to hunting fast radio bursts.

(14) FORD PERFECT. Movie Pilot introduces a clever fan-made Star Wars video

What would you do for your best friend? The 13-minute video follows Solo, yet again being confronted for one of his smuggling antics — but at least this time he’s got a very precise mission in mind. Chewbacca has been captured, and he needs a valuable item to make the trade.

JJ calls it, “A spot-on imitation of Ford’s mannerisms by this actor, and just a fun little film.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, Dawn Incognito, JJ, Mark-kitteh, and Bruce D. Arthurs for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson, who may justly complain that I trimmed half his joke.]

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110 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/4/17 Four Scrolls And Seven Pixels Ago

  1. You guys are too good for me. I looked up the original link on Wayback Machine and drew a blank. I forgot about Google Cache.



    Also, the last paragraph of that scroll item trails off…
    Presumably, the next words are “Phase 3: Profit!!!”.

  3. 1) I saw the uproar on Twitter and managed to read the review before it was taken down. It was really a piece of work.

    Coincidentally, the Sam J. Miller short story Eamon Murphy hated so much was the first story to go on my ongoing 2017 Hugo longlist.

  4. JJ: Yipes, that typo really is mine — I added the internal link to save from duplicating the information in a separate sentence. And I’ve fixed the Kyle sentence. So by all means appertain yourself your favorite beverage — make it a double!

  5. Soon Lee: All too true. Though in this case, the tweet you list is the one that’s already in the post.

  6. @7 The new California Gold Rush.
    “Book Smuggling” and the rise of the bibliomafia!

  7. (12) TENSION APPREHENSION. James Gleick’s review of Arrival and Ted Chiang’s new story collection for the New York Review of Books…

    Mike you tease! There is no new story collection by Ted Chiang. It was first published in 2002. It has been re-released with a new cover image from the movie “Arrival”.

    (I was briefly very excited.)

  8. *tick*

    “A man set to permanent froth” – A+ description of this kind of nonsense pedlar.

  9. Very nice video! Amazing how much the field has changed to where small-scale productions like this can emulate what was cutting-edge a generation ago.

    Mind you, the production values on the two amateur Doctor Who videos I made in the 1980s were said to be comparable to the production of the early original series in the 1960s, wobbly sets and all.

  10. (2) UP ABOVE THE WORLD SO HIGH. Wow, that’s an awesome photo!

    (5) IN BOOKS TO COME. Ninja’d by the Pixel Scroll. ;-P Time to see what my corporate overlords have indicated I should buy. Hmm, Wesley Snipes, you say? Or is it really just written by Ray Norman? (Sorry to be skeptical, but there’s a history of celebrities writing books where the co-author really did most of the work.) Anyway, I recall a similar post last year from B&N, and I like this info. I’ve heard of a handful of these, but not a lot of them. And holy carp a new fantasy series from Donaldson?!?!?! Some interesting looking stuff coming in 2017. 🙂 (I left a comment there about the ones that caught my eye.)

    (6) SHORT FICTION ROUNDUP. . . . including something by Ursula Vernon. 🙂

    (14) FORD PERFECT. A little slow, but I liked it, and wow, very well done and professional looking.

  11. @Kevin Standlee: Heh, early Who production values were part of its charm! 🙂 So I’m sure your amateur videos were great.

  12. @Soon Lee:

    Mike you tease! There is no new story collection by Ted Chiang. It was first published in 2002. It has been re-released with a new cover image from the movie “Arrival”.

    (I was briefly very excited.)

    Seconded. This was me, exactly, too 🙂
    (Except I also scrolled immediately down to the comments, hoping somebody had a link/explanation. So thanks 🙂 )


    Looks like SF Crowsnest is sticking its head down and hoping it all goes away, but right now their silence is just saying “we know that review was bad but we lack the class to apologise for it”.

  14. There is no new story collection by Ted Chiang.

    Bit of a shame that the opportunity to release one hasn’t been taken, I think he’s got enough published for another collection now.

  15. James Moar: I think he’s got enough published for another collection now.

    Nah, there are 8 pieces in Stories of Your Life and Others, and only 7 others have been published, near as I can tell — and one of those is from a VanderMeer shared world anthology, so I don’t know whether and how well it stands alone.

  16. @JJ: That’s OK! They could pad it out with a dozen essays from people despondent over how long it is between new Ted Chiang stories.

  17. 1) I came across the Murphy review yesterday evening, when I heard people in and around Uncanny mentioning it obliquely. Read it, and then started to read back on the site. As OGL above noted, issue 13, and other issues were still up.

    There was and is a clear “raising the temperature” over the reviews, as if Murphy was trying to provoke a reaction by being more and more hyperbolic with each successive issue. The positives fell away with each successive issue he reviewed, until the current hatchet job.

    And so it goes.

  18. 1) to me the most telling part of the issue 13 review is where the author refers to Hao Jingfang as “he”. Fair enough not being able to establish gender from name alone, but 1 why would you assume (is it because she wrote an article you approved of or because you think a Chinese woman would be too delicate and busy with flower arranging to write sci fi or…?) and 2 she won a Hugo and accepted it in person at a well publicized ceremony in 2016 are you really paying that little attention??

  19. … or 3) it’s just one more way to pile insults on the people of various minorities who are published in that issue.

    I’m betting on 3).

    I agree with PrinceJvstin, after doing some poking around at SFCrowsnest; there’s definitely a pattern of escalation in Murphy’s Uncanny reviews, until he’s finally pretty much gone Full Puppy.

  20. Having now read Murphy’s review… if I were a cynic, I might think that he’s decided from the outset to lambaste Uncanny for excessive “political correctness”, has realized that the issue in question doesn’t actually support that charge, and has decided to cover himself by announcing that his review is meant to be funny. Because that always works, of course – if you say something’s “sarcastic”, then anyone who dislikes it is just too dull and humourless to “get” how clever you are, right? – Maybe I’m dull and humourless, but Murphy’s article didn’t raise any more laughs with me than any other heavy-handed political rant.

    Anyway. That’s what I might think, if I were a cynic. Thank goodness I’m not a cynic.

  21. @Oneiros–

    Just saw news of a new prize for writers of colour, which may be of interest to some here:


    Question. Nowhere explained in the article, I assume because it’s so widely understood and used, is the acronym BAME. Context makes the general intent clear, but what does it actually stand for?

    Honestly, I’m feeling a bit slow right now. Possibly 7am expeditions into 22°Fahrenheit to let the little dogs potty are not ideal for the just-awakened thinking process. Want to know; am just now thinking, “maybe Google…”

    And yes, I found it. “Black, Asian, & Minority Ethnic.” I like it!

  22. @Lis Carey: Actually I had no idea what it stood for, but assumed it related in some way to PoC. Thanks for finding it! (I should have looked for it myself but also feeling a little slow today)

  23. No, I’m not miffed. I knew it was a long one…but then that’s a difference between Amazing Stories and File 770…Amazing is not afraid to publish the long headlines…we’ve no fear of retribution and think that it is about time that overly long headlines get the respect and print time they deserve. Which of course brings up the sad state of affairs regarding discrimination against OLHs…liberal media conspiracy? HAH! The mainstream media has been discriminating against OLHs since Ben Franklin first turned a crank!

    The entire thing was this:

    Four Scrolls and seven Pixels ago, our fore-fans brought forth upon this continent a new genre, conceived in New York and dedicated to the proposition that all fans are slans.

    Truth be told, for historic accuracy, it should have read

    Four Scrolls and Ten Pixels ago…

    I’m finishing up the rest of the Gernsbackberg Address and will pub here shortly

  24. The Gernsbackberg Address

    Four Scrolls and ten Pixels ago, our fore-fans brought forth upon this continent a new genre, conceived in New York and dedicated to the proposition that all fans are slans.

    Now we are engaged in a great puppy war, testing whether that genre, or any genre so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who wrote here, that the genre might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave fans, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they wrote here.

    It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored words we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full paragraph of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these writers shall not have written in vain, that this genre shall have a new birth of freedom, and that awards of the fans, by the fans, for the fans shall not perish from the earth.

  25. BAME is Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic – a common establishment-political (e.g. used in censuses and the like) term covering the same ground as PoC in the UK. I can’t speak to whether it has the same usage among activists and other political communities, however.

  26. Sorry Lis, just noticed you’d already answered your own question!

    (Oh and NOW the edit link shows up on my previous post…)

  27. (10): Theodora Goss is researching a book on LeGuin that Mike is writing?
    ETA: Lois Tilton got there first.

  28. (13) If this were a bad horror movie, the radio waves would be coming from within the Solar System. Get out now!

    Probably an angry Pluto.

  29. Lois Tilton: Eau the humanity! Theodora Goss is writing it – I didn’t catch one of the pronoun changes when I copied the quote…. Fixed now.

  30. Just read the hit piece on Uncanny. It’s now time to call a dick an asshole.

    I’m sorry he was teased for his big ears…maybe if he’d gotten counseling, he wouldn’t be such a dick.

  31. That sort of column might come from someone established, perhaps, as a parody figure, but here it was a stupid cartoon of a review that, frankly, makes it difficult to take anything on the site seriously. It’s like it came pre-fisked, because you couldn’t make it much stupider.

    On the other hand, I’ve run a magazine and I know it’s hard to get reviewers and interesting nonfic stuff. But that doesn’t mean you have to print every glob of shit that happens to pass through your mailbox. Someone was asleep at the wheel and not thinking about the magazine’s overall mission here. Running that reflects pretty badly on the site and certainly bumped it down a solid notch in my estimation.

  32. @Cat Rambo

    That sort of column might come from someone established, perhaps, as a parody figure, but here it was a stupid cartoon of a review that, frankly, makes it difficult to take anything on the site seriously.

    Definitely. I strikes me that he was very careful to be as insulting as possible while avoiding outright defamation. He never uses terms like “abnormal” or “unnatural” much less any explicit slurs. I was expecting something that suggested the suicide of a trans person made the world a better place, but he steered completely clear of any of that. The closest he got was when he said that cis men used to be just called “men.”

    What’s actually wrong with his review (I claim) is that the reviewer has let his own personal message overwhelm his review. The result is 2/3 message and only 1/3 review (at best). Yes, he was insulting, yes, I disagree with his message, but the people he really screwed here were the people at the magazine who trusted him to write an honest review. Instead, he used them as a platform for his own agenda. That would have been wrong no matter what his agenda was.

  33. @2: that is an amazing picture.

    The BBC discusses why cats are as obstreperous as fans.

    @5: the list-to-look-for gets longer … but what is a “clean teen” book (the first words describing The Amber Arrow)? Is Baen deliberately offering books that are safe from narrowminded parents?

  34. Arifel, Oneiros etc. Similarly there is a NZ official term (mainly used in Census summaries I think?) ‘Pacific Peoples’, as ‘Islander’ has negative connotations, and ‘Polynesian’ excludes eg most native Fijians (and includes Maori in some circumstances). I’ve just realized that I don’t know for sure if it includes Fijian-Indian, I think not.

  35. In the latest newsletter from David Drake he talks about the relaunch (has to be the 2nd relaunch as Ace tried to do it a few years ago) of the Thieves’ World series. He asserts, with no details, that SFWA (and past SFWA president John Scalzi) tried to “kill” the relaunch.

    No details, but I wonder if this was less an implied vendetta by Scalzi against the series than a complaint about the publisher for the relaunch, one Conlan Press? Did SFWA file a complaint about them regarding, say Peter S. Beagle or their other practices? Thanks!

  36. I know nothing about this, but for reference this is the exact passage

    Several years ago, Lynn Abbey with promoter Connor Cochran made an effort to refloat Thieves’ World. In the ’80s TW was one of the hottest properties out there. It was the first shared universe, and at its peak it was paying 24 cents/word for short stories. Jim Baen, the commissioning editor, claimed it had saved the original anthology from the mire into which Roger Elwood had driven it in the ’70s by over-production.

    I was never hugely taken by the TW concept, but I did a couple stories for the series at Bob Asprin’s request (it was Bob’s concept) and was very pleased at the money. More important to me was the fact that I did Dagger, a novel in the series (it incorporated a third story), and was paid $30K for it, a real breakthrough for me. Dagger gave me a chance to use an ancient story (the original was Egyptian) in a modern fantasy. As such it was a dry run for the Northworld Series.

    Because of that background I was pleased at the fact that TW was being brought back, though I didn’t (and don’t) have any intention of writing further material for the series. Out of left field, SFWA (or possibly just the organization’s then president, John Scalzi) tried to torpedo the relaunch. I haven’t the faintest idea why. I do know that Mr Scalzi didn’t bother to discuss the matter with CJ Cherryh, a previous president of SFWA and one of the writers who had the most to gain from a relaunch.

    Despite SFWA, the project seems to have finally gotten back on track. The original TW collections and two novels (Dagger and one by Lynn) will be going on line shortly from Conlan Press, and there are moves toward bringing out new material and entering other media. Connor is very excited about the possibility of filling the gap left when Game of Thrones ends its run on cable.

    Me–well, I’ll be perfectly happy to cash any checks that flow from this, but I’m not expecting TW to affect my lifestyle. What really does please me, though, is that fact that something positive seems to have survived a motiveless attack. I was afraid that SFWA really had killed the project.

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