Pixel Scroll 2/8/18 I’ve Got A Plan So Cunning You Could Put A Scroll On It And Call It A Pixel

(1) 4SJ. At the Classic Horror Film Board, the webmaster’s reminiscence about Forrest J Ackerman prompted a #MeToo response from Lucy Chase Williams, and since then “Forrest J Ackerman’s #MeToo Moment …” has generated 561 comments.

Speaking of “failures” (!), I guess this is the time to remind the boys here of #MeToo. I and other young women like me were subjected to a different kind of “Forry worship.” How differently would any of you have felt, when all you wanted was to talk about monsters with the “over eager editor” of your favorite monster magazine, if your Uncle Forry had forced wet kisses on you? If he had put his hands all over you, pinching your “naughty bottom” and squeezing your “boobies”? If he had enthusiastically related with a big grin how he wanted to strip off your clothes with everybody watching? And if, in the face of your total refusal of any of his attentions every single time you saw him in person, he never didn’t try again, and again, and again? And if for years, in between those times, he mailed you letters with pornographic photos, and original stories about how naughty you were, and how he wanted to hurt and abuse you, yet all the while make you weep and beg for more? And if he continued that behavior, despite written and verbal demands to cease, entirely unabashed for more than two decades? No, I can’t forget him either — or how he turned my childhood love of monsters into something adult and truly monstrous.

(2) STAUNCH PRIZE. Earl Grey Editing reports on an interesting new non-sff award:

Not strictly SFF or romance, but still within genre, The Staunch Prize has been created to honour crime thrillers where no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered. The shortlist will be announced in September and the winner will be announced on 25 November.

(3) STAR GORGE. Michael Cavna has a roundup of all the current Star Wars projects, with the news being that Disney is also planning a streaming Star Wars TV series for fans who just want more after Solo, Episode IX, the Rian Johnson trilogy, and the Benioff and Weiss trilogy: “A guide to every Star Wars movie and TV show that’s planned right now”.

  1. Potential spinoffs of other characters

Talk continues to swirl around Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Boba Fett getting their own films, according to such outlets as the Hollywood Reporter. At this point of galloping Disney expansion, who’s to say that each won’t one day get his own TV trilogy?

  1. The streaming TV series

Iger’s new announcement comes just several months after he first said a live-action Star Wars series would happen. Expect that TV menu to grow at a significant rate, as Disney gets set to launch its own entertainment streaming services by next year.

(4) MILSF KICKSTARTER. M. C. A. Hogarth says, “I stealth launched my newest Kickstarter yesterday to see if I could keep it from blowing past the goal, but it overfunded anyway. So I guess I’ll advertise it? laugh It’s fluffy first contact sf” — “Either Side of the Strand Print Edition”:

MilSF with an all female crew, in an “Old Star Trek” vein! Because we all love first contact stories, with octopuses.

Having already hit $1,241, when the original goal was $500, Hogarth is far into stretch goal territory —

So, some stretch goals! Just in case, even though this is only a week!

  • $750 – I do a bookmark, and everyone who gets a physical reward will receive it!
  • $1000 – the audiobook! This should open an audiobook reward level (details for that when/if it happens)
  • Over $1000 – I will wiggle a lot! And then tuck that money away to pay for the final Stardancer novel (currently in revision).

But Jaguar! You say. Why are your stretch goals so modest! Why don’t you do Alysha plushes! We would totally be on board with Alysha plushes! And Stardancer t-shirts!

Because, dear backers, I don’t want to fall down on this job for you, and that means humble goals. *bows*

I admit Alysha plushes would be adorbs though.

(5) NEW SFF PODCAST. MilSF Authors JR Handley and Chris Winder have unveiled they latest joint project; the Sci-Fi Shenanigans Podcast. JR and Chris are US veterans (US Army and USMC respectively) that focus on producing MilSF stories. They have released five episodes in the last 2 weeks:

(6) LEAVE THE WHISTLE UNBLOWN. Joe Sherry continues picking contenders in the “2018 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Longlist, Part 4: Institutional Categories”. Although the criteria he gives below disregard the actual rules for the Best Fanzine category, most of his picks are eligible anyway – no harm, no foul.

This time we are looking at what are, for lack of a better term, the “nonfiction and institutional categories”: Best Related Work, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine and Best Fancast. Now, those who follow this blog know how cranky The G can get on the subject of certain categories and their bizarre eligibility guidelines–and we’ve got two of them today (Best Semiprozine and Best Fancast). Nevertheless, I will do my best to stay calm and stick to the rules, frustrating as they can be. I reserve the right, will, however, get a little snarky and passive-aggressive in the process.
There are, however, some sticky issues that made putting this list together a bit difficult. Knowing what does or does not constitute a “fanzine” in the era of blogs, for example–and given that we may already be on the downward slide of that era, it only promises to get more difficult as time passes. Nevertheless, we have tried to create clear and consistent guidelines for inclusion in this category. Thus, to qualify, a fanzine: (1) must be a fan venture (i.e. must not generate a significant amount of money, or pay professional rates for work); (2) must publish a lot of content in a given year; and (3) must publish “award worthy” content. We did not discount single-author blogs from consideration, but criterion #2 makes it difficult for most single-author blogs to  merit consideration. Consequently, while a couple made it, most did not–including some very good ones.

(7) SHADOW NOMINATIONS. The Australasian Horror Writers Association reminds that nominations are open for the Australian Shadow Awards until February 28. See eligibility and submission guidelines at the link.

The Australian Shadows Awards celebrate the finest in horror and dark fiction published by an Australasian within the calendar year. Works are judged on the overall effect of a work—the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance.

[Via Earl Grey Editing.]

(8) BARLOW OBIT. John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), died February 7. NPR paid tribute:“Cyber-Libertarian And Pioneer John Perry Barlow Dies At Age 70”.

A founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, John Perry Barlow, has died at the age of 70, according to a statement issued by the Foundation.

Barlow was a poet, essayist, Internet pioneer and prominent cyber-libertarian. He co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990 after realizing that the government was ill-equipped to understand what he called the “legal, technical, and metaphorical nature of datacrime.” He said believed that “everyone’s liberties would become at risk.”

Barlow described the founding of the EFF after receiving a visit from an FBI agent in April 1990 seeking to find out whether he was a member of “a dread band of info-terrorists.” Shortly thereafter, Barlow and Mitch Kapor, the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, organized a series of dinners with leaders of the computer industry for discussions that would lead to the creation of the EFF.

And the BBC remembers

In 1996, he wrote the widely quoted Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, which asked governments of the world to stop meddling in the affairs of net-centred communities.

“You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather,” he wrote.

(9) POLCHINSKI OBIT. Multiverse theorist Joseph Polchinski died February 2 reports the New York Times.

Joseph Polchinski, one of the most creative physicists of his generation, whose work helped lay the mathematical foundation for the controversial proposition that our universe is only one in an almost endless assemblage that cosmologists call the “multiverse,” died on Friday at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 63. He had been treated for brain cancer since late 2015.

Dr. Polchinski was a giant force in the development of string theory, the ambitious attempt to achieve a “theory of everything,” which envisions the fundamental particles of nature as tiny wriggling strings. The theory has brought forth ideas and calculations that have opened new fields of study and new visions of a universe that is weirder and richer than astronomers had dreamed.

…After months of treatment [for cancer], Dr. Polchinski put his energy into writing his memoir, which he posted on the internet.

“I have not achieved my early science-fiction goals, nor explained why there is something rather than nothing,” he wrote in an epilogue, “but I have had an impact on the most fundamental questions of science.”


  • February 8, 1958Teenage Monster premiered at your local drive-in.


  • Born February 8, 1828 – Jules Verne
  • Born February 8, 1908 — William Hartnell, the first Doctor Who.
  • Born February 8, 1942 – Stephen Hawking
  • Born February 8, 1969 – Mary Robinette Kowal

(12) KOWAL CELEBRATES. As part of her celebration Kowal pointed to a free read short story, “The Worshipful Society of Glovers” that came out last year in Uncanny Magazine. And on her blog she told about how she developed that story:

To begin… When I was writing Without a Summer I was looking at historical guilds as models for the Coldmongers. In the process, I ran across the Worshipful Company of Glovers, which is a real livery company that has been in existence since 1349. Kinda awesome, right?


  • John King Tarpinian finds Yoda remains in character even in this mundane situation, in Off the Mark.

(14) RETRO COMICS. Edmonton’s Hugo Book Club took a deep dive into the comic books that were published in 1942 and are eligible for the Retro-Hugos this summer. They suggest that in terms of Best Graphic Story “Some of the most exemplary works are little-remembered by the modern reader,” and encourage Hugo voters to consider a wide range of lesser-known works.

In 1942, the modern American comic book was still in its infancy. Sequential art published on pulp paper with gaudy CMYK illustrations was hitting the shelves at a furious pace, led by the success of best-selling books like Captain Marvel, The Spirit, and Archie. But for every Mort Meskin, Basil Wolverton or Jack Cole working in 1942, there were dozens more, often filling pages with inflexible five- and six-panel layouts, stilted dialogue, and rigidly posed figures….

Prior to 2018, the only time there was a Retro Hugo for Best Graphic Story was in 2016, when the Retro Hugos for 1941 were awarded. That ceremony saw Batman #1 take the trophy ahead of Captain Marvel and The Spirt, both of which are superior comic books. Joe Simon’s superb first 12 issues of Blue Bolt didn’t even make the final ballot.

Batman as a character may have had more popular appeal in the long-term, but those early stories are not as dynamic or innovative as The Spirit. Batman may have some science fiction elements today, but in 1940 Blue Bolt told better science fiction stories. Batman may be more popular today, but in 1940 Captain Marvel was the leading comic book character….

(15) STACKS OF FUN. The G takes “Altered Carbon, Episodes 1-3” for a test drive at Nerds of a Feather.

Netflix’s new science fiction show, Altered Carbon, is based on a novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan. It’s basically a mashup of neo-cyberpunk, detective noir, milSF and techno thriller. Since I have particular interests in the first two parts of that equation, Altered Carbon looked to be right up my alley. So I decided to commit to 3 episodes, after which point I’d take stock. Three episodes in and I like it enough to continue. It’s not quite as good as I’d hoped, however.

Takeshi Kovacs is, or rather was, a kind of super soldier known as an envoy. Envoys were part of an insurrection against the hegemonic polity, the Protectorate. The insurrection failed and the envoys were “put in ice.” However, in the future your mind, memories and soul are stored on a “stack”–a kind of hard drive that is surgically inserted into your body. As long as the stack isn’t damaged, it can be taken out of a dead body and inserted into a new “sleeve” (i.e. a body). Religious types refuse to be re-sleeved, believing that it prevents the soul from ascending to heaven. Pretty much everyone else who can afford to do it, does.

(16) BUNDLE TIME. The latest Storybundle is The Black Narratives Bundle, curated by Terah Edun:

This month is groundbreaking for many reasons, it represents a clarion call to support and uphold cultural heritage, but more than that Black History Month is a time to celebrate accomplishments of the past and the future. From the moment I was asked to curate the Black Narratives bundle, I knew this one was going to be special. I didn’t want to just reach out to authors who were the pillars of the diverse speculative fiction community, but also the ingénues who were becoming stars in their own right.

(17) CANON TO THE LEFT OF THEM, CANON TO THE RIGHT OF THEM. Entertainment Weekly says “Firefly canon to expand with series of original books”.

It may sound like something out of science-fiction, but it’s true: More Firefly stories are on the way.

EW can exclusively report that Titan Books and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products have teamed up to publish an original range of new fiction tying in to Joss Whedon’s beloved but short-lived TV series Firefly. The books will be official titles within the Firefly canon, with Whedon serving as consulting editor. The first book is due in the fall.

(18) DON’T YOU JUST TELESCOPE IT? At NPR, “How To Pack A Space Telescope” (text and time-lapse video).

As complicated as it as to launch and operate a telescope in space, it’s almost as complex to move a space telescope around here on Earth.

For the past 9 months or so, NASA has been testing the James Webb Space Telescope in a giant cryogenic chamber at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The $8.8 billion Webb telescope is the most powerful telescope NASA has ever built.

(19) SLICE OF LIFE. BBC tells about “Bodyhackers: Bold, inspiring and terrifying”.

Jesika Foxx has permanently purple eyeballs, and an elf-like ear. Her husband, Russ, has a pair of horns under his skin.

Stelarc, a 72-year-old Australian, has an ear on his arm. Soon he hopes to attach a small microphone to it so people can, via the internet, listen to whatever it hears.

Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow – yes, that’s his legal name – has the chip from his Sydney travel card implanted into his hand.

I met all these people during BodyHacking Con, in Austin, Texas.

Over the past three years, the event has become something of a pilgrimage for those involved in the biohacking scene – a broad spectrum of technologists, trans-humanists and performance artists. This year it also attracted the presence of the US military.

(20) FAUX COMPETITION. There should be a contest to caption this photo. My entry: “John Scalzi about to make one of his famous frozen garbage burritos.”

(21) SHARKE’S SECOND BITE. Shadow Clarke juror Maureen Kincaid Speller continues her self-introduction.

I find it difficult to talk about how I write critically because it is a thing I’ve learned mostly by doing. There was never a moment when I actively decided that I would become a literary critic. Rather, my critical practice came into being over a long period of time. Even now it is a work in progress. I always feel I could do better, and I’m forever trying to work out how.

What do I do? I read. And then I write about what I’ve read. It is as simple and as complicated as that. In ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’, an exploration of meaning in Plato’s ‘Phaedrus’, Derrida focuses on the word ‘pharmakon’, paradoxical because it means both ‘remedy’ and ‘poison’. Plato sought to argue that speech was superior to writing because it required an act of memory, an act which was weakened by the use of writing. Derrida prompts us to ask whether writing is a remedy, in that it helps you remember things; or a poison in that it enables you to forget things? And I am going to argue that critical writing is both poison and remedy, depending on how you use it.

(22) VENOM. Marvel’s Venom teaser trailer:

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, M.C.A. Hogarth, Dann, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat  Eldridge, Olav Rokne, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

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79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/8/18 I’ve Got A Plan So Cunning You Could Put A Scroll On It And Call It A Pixel

  1. There’s at least one Winnipegger posting here, and having spent a few Februarys there, I’d just give her the win on cold weather.

    I think I’m going to fall on the side of. @Robert Reynolds when it comes to Ackerman.

  2. @Lis Carey

    Okay, guys, no fooling around. We need to organize an expedition to somewhere near Hell, Michigan, to rescue Dann from inside his CRT. We need to pull together, for a fellow Filer!

    Should we reverse the polarity of the neutron flow?

  3. Yes, Hampus, there must. Are you sure you want to take the risk of opening it? I means, at the same time that we’re reversing ghe polarity field of the neutron flow?

  4. For a fellow filer, everything!!

    (silently leaving for Sydney, putting the blame on Camestros)

  5. @Hampus Eckerman: You are made of sterner stuff than I. I couldn’t even get myself to search all those pages of comments. The searching I did brought me quickly to accounts of unwanted behavior of that sort, so I suppose whether that’s what went on in the one you linked to is more or less moot.

    At that time in America, contraception was illegal a lot of places, as was sight of the naked breast. You couldn’t send Tropic of Cancer through the mail. The language in that report was indistinguishable from the language used then to describe material we take for granted as non-pornographic today. That’s all I mean to say.

  6. Hampus Eckerman: Which sounds more or less exactly like the letters sent to Lucy Chase Williams. But I agree that it is hard to know to what extent they were wanted.

    It wasn’t one woman he targeted; there were several woman, possibly many women, on the receiving end. There are at least a couple of accounts by men who were shown, or told about — by women other than Williams whom they personally knew — unwanted pornography sent to them, along with lecherous personal comments, by Ackerman. Williams still has several boxes in her garage full of the offensive letters and pornographic materials she received — kept in case they were needed as evidence later on.

    Then there are numerous testimonials by men who visited the Ackermansion who were shown, or received offers to be shown, his collection of child pornorgraphy, and at least one man who repeatedly received mailings of child pornography from him, despite repeatedly asking him to stop. And the apparently underage, naked teenager in his bedroom who was inadvertently walked in on.

    There is a great deal more to it than simply a dirty old man whose tastes violated the obscenity laws of the time.

  7. @JJ: That’s really why I found the link not so useful. The mechanics of what it described could be a lot of different things, presented as it was here, bare of context. The very specific account from his biographer of the harassment Ackerman committed against her puts it into context, as do the other specific stories you cite.

  8. The Big Heart Award was renamed after Ackerman in 2006. I can’t figure out who administers it now, so I know who should be contacted about un-renaming it. Can anyone help?

  9. I once flew to Winnipeg from San Jose for a 1994 Worldcon planning meeting. In winter, when Northwest Airlines was willing to give “site inspection” tickets on account of there was a fair bit of excess capacity (i.e. what maniac wants to fly to Winnipeg at that time of the year?). I’d been warned of the cold and bought a brand new heavy coat, with a spec of “If I was going to start snow skiing again.” Overnight lows in Winnipeg that weekend were -40°C, with highs of -21. I’d never before had my glasses frost over from the steam coming off of my eyeballs.

    About eight months later, I realized that I’d left my used-one-weekend heavy coat on the plane when I got back to San Jose. I’d never missed it. It was years before I needed a heavy coat again. Even here where I now live near Reno, Nevada, it rarely gets much colder than -10°C.

  10. @Paul Weimer–

    Ack, orking the production line. Ack, how did my spell check and autocorrect get THAT?

    Your autocorrect used to hang out in rec.arts.sf.written, and flashed back to cow-orkers.

  11. Kevin Standlee writes: Overnight lows in Winnipeg that weekend were -40°C

    I think that was -40° F.

  12. Thanks to one and all for the good thoughts and the smiles.

    As we have a couple of Christmas tree carcasses that are in need of disposal…and enough wood on the pile to keep things going afterward, how about a bonfire instead? We’ve a little wine that could be mulled, the beer fridge is moderately stocked, hot chocolate is close at hand, and our son makes a mean smoked pork butt.

    Hopefully Kevin can miracle up his heavy coat!


  13. @P J Evans: I wonder whether those tourists understand that snow is cold? I’ve found snow ~4000 feet above Vancouver in mild July weather, but only in a deep-shaded hollow; snow visible from below shouldn’t need flagging.

    @Kate Nepveu: I will ask the local list. I’m surprised Fancy doesn’t say who took over from Forry. However, there may be a Hugo-Ceremony manager here who would know.

  14. Niall McAuley on February 10, 2018 at 9:59 am said:

    Kevin Standlee writes:

    Overnight lows in Winnipeg that weekend were -40°C

    I think that was -40° F.

    Technically, yes, but I’m still not wrong. (Go do the math.)

  15. Chip, people who are doing it for the first time probably haven’t thought about it at all – they’re people who have lived in the valleys or along the coast, and snow is something they’ve rarely, if ever, experienced.

  16. P J Evans on February 10, 2018 at 12:50 pm said:

    Chip, people who are doing it for the first time probably haven’t thought about it at all – they’re people who have lived in the valleys or along the coast, and snow is something they’ve rarely, if ever, experienced.

    I get snow, coming from the Sierra Nevada foothills as I do. I was still a tad surprised when it was snowing in August at the top of Pike’s Peak when we took the Cog Railway up to the top on our way back from the Kansas City Worldcon. Fortunately, we did have the necessary extra layers of clothing for it. Great trip, too, but don’t move too fast when you’re up top; it’s a place where they sell small oxygen containers in the gift shop (not joking).

  17. I drove up Pike’s Peak in a rented car wearing a t-shirt on a Labor Day weekend about 30 years ago. It was in the 70s F in Colorado Springs but low 30s at the top of the Peak, though no snow. I didn’t spend much time outside the gift shop.

  18. Kevin, we’d take an extra couple of days when we went camping in the Yosemite back country, so people could adjust to the altitude. (Kids didn’t take as long as adults.) The air gets kind of thin at 8000 or 9000 feet, and even thinner at the top of the pass we crossed (we referred to it as Blowhard Pass; I don’t know, even now, if it has an official name).

    I also remember Frisbie & friends renting a small plane and flying from Orange County to Denver and back in 1981. They had to get O2 bottles for the people with licenses, as the plane they ended up with had no turbocharger; they went through canyons at that end, to stay within its limits.

  19. Chip, people who are doing it for the first time probably haven’t thought about it at all – they’re people who have lived in the valleys or along the coast, and snow is something they’ve rarely, if ever, experienced.

    This reminds me of the Australian physicist who, during a visit to Switzerland in mid winter, wore sandals with thick woolly socks, assuming that the socks would keep him warm, because he had apparently forgotten that snow is not just cold, it is also wet.

  20. @P J Evans: ah, true Western flatlanders. My nephew would be one of them, but both his parents skied (before various damage) so he at least learned what snow is. [later] O2 bottles and turbochargers are disjunct (one is for the passengers, the other for the plane). I’m not surprised that they didn’t rent a pressurized plane; I’m not sure they’re even available for rent rather than charter. I remember when people were unhappy that Smofcon was in Colorado Springs, ~6000 feet up; the successor’s slogan was “We’re at sea level!”.

  21. Chip, they were supposed to get a plane with a turbocharger (and it also somehow supplies cabin pressure, as it was explained to me – but it’s been a long long time). Coming back, they went through Grand Canyon and had a several-hour delay as they had to wait for the temperature to drop enough for takeoff.

  22. Kate Nepveu on February 10, 2018 at 6:21 am said:

    The Big Heart Award was renamed after Ackerman in 2006. I can’t figure out who administers it now, so I know who should be contacted about un-renaming it. Can anyone help?

    When I looked into it last year, the contacts were Sue and Steve Francis.

  23. Thanks–I can’t find any contact information for them, so I think I will ask the Hugo Ceremony email address for WorldCon 76. Appreciate it!

  24. Cheryl S:

    There’s at least one Winnipegger posting here, and having spent a few Februarys there, I’d just give her the win on cold weather.

    Well, I’ve never experienced a windshield cracking from excess temperature difference. And my husband has actually heard it recommended NOT to turn a slightly crotchety heater on for a few blocks’ drive at least, so the engine has time to warm enough that the air that blows really does warm up the car.

    Winnipeg can be bad, but it’s not like it lingers on weekends like the one Kevin Standlee described all winter. Despite someone implementing a way to record wind chill that makes it look like we hit -40 more often than we do, we can have some fairly nice-for-winter weather. (The forecast for Tuesday is -5, and for Wednesday is -2 and snowy. For you Faranheit peeps who know winter but not the temperature system, that’s just below freezing, and -2 is the kind of weather where it might get slushy. -5 is on the low end of temperatures where making a snowman or snowballs is still an easy job.) I’m thinking about taking Elder Son or the full family back to see the Ice Castle again on one of those days (we went when it was close to -20 last time, and Younger Son was in a state where all he wanted to do was stand around by the fire pits).

    It’s not like we’re Churchill…

    (then again, there is a reason I spend most days recently INDOORS.)

  25. @Lenora Rose, I hadn’t seen the Churchill story. I hope they get their rail line back soon, but in the meantime, what an amazing effort!

  26. Cora:

    ”This reminds me of the Australian physicist who, during a visit to Switzerland in mid winter, wore sandals with thick woolly socks, assuming that the socks would keep him warm, because he had apparently forgotten that snow is not just cold, it is also wet.”

    He, I met some people from the north of Sweden with the same problem. Up there, it is too cold for the snow to be wet. So when they came down to Stockholm with our on-off snow, there were several pairs of ruined boots.

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