Pixel Scroll 2/28/17 There Are No Pixels Like Scroll Pixels

(1) SF AND THE PARTY. In New Scientist Lavie Tidhar explains why “In China, this is science fiction’s golden age”.

In the 1980s, science fiction once again fell foul of the ruling party, as a new “Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign” emerged as a backlash to Deng Xiaoping’s modernisation and liberalisation policies. Deng’s opponents in the party railed against Western “bourgeois imports” of all kinds, and with sci-fi seeming to fall firmly in that category, it was all but wiped out for a time.

The genre’s recovery was partly led by the emergence of Science Fiction World magazine in Chengdu, and its energetic editor, Yang Xiao, herself the daughter of a prominent party member. Having such influential backing allowed Science Fiction World to bring together many young writers for an “appropriate” reason.

By the end of the century, Chinese sci-fi entered its own golden age. Although the authorities still raised the issue of literary “appropriateness”, the old restrictions had gone. One prominent contemporary sci-fi author is Han Song, a journalist at the state news agency Xinhua. Many of his works are only published outside the mainland due to their political themes, but Han is still widely recognised at home. His fiction can be dark and melancholy, envisioning, for instance, a spacefarer building tombstones to fellow astronauts, or the Beijing subway system being turned into a graveyard in which future explorers, arriving back on Earth, find themselves trapped on a fast-moving train. Along with Liu Cixin and Wang Jinkang, he is considered one of the “Three Generals” of Chinese sci-fi.

(2) SHARING THE MUSIC. The LA experimental hip-hop group Clipping, reported here the other day as seeking a Hugo nomination for their sci-fi oriented album Splendor & Misery, has raised the ante. Now they are giving away free copies to Hugo voters.

Their goal is to be nominated in the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) category.

They are distributing free download codes via Twitter, but voters are allowed to share.

I figure it wouldn’t be fair to post it online – Clipping could have done that themselves – but i you’re a Hugo voter who’s not on Twitter and want to get the DL code, email me a mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com and I will send it to you.

(3) IMADJINN TIME. Nominations are open for the 2nd annual Imadjinn Awards given to small press and independently published authors. Authors nominate their own titles (a form Is provided at the site).  A professional jury determines the finalists and the winners. The awards will be announced Saturday, October 7 at the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. (See last year’s winners here.)

(4) GUNN THEME. A book about 2013 Worldcon guest of honor, Saving the World Through Science Fiction: James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar by Michael R. Page, has just been published by Macfarland.

One of the major figures in science fiction for more than sixty years, James Gunn has been instrumental in making the genre one of the most vibrant and engaging areas of literary scholarship. His genre history Alternate Worlds and his The Road to Science Fiction anthologies introduced countless readers to science fiction. He founded the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction in 1982. But Gunn has also been one of the genre’s leading writers. His classic novels Star Bridge (with Jack Williamson), The Joy Makers, The Immortals and The Listeners helped shape the field. Now in his nineties, he remains a prominent voice. His forthcoming novel is Transformation. Drawing on materials from Gunn’s archives and personal interviews with him, this study is the first to examine the life, career and writing of this science fiction grandmaster.

(5) CHUCK TINGLE, VOID WHERE EXHIBITED. I tell you, they can’t give this man a Nobel Prize too soon. The only delay will be thinking up a category for it.

Hugo nominated author Dr. Chuck Tingle is well known for his thoughts on love and romance, but there is another side to this revered modern philosopher that is needed now more than ever. Dispensed within this non-fiction volume is everything that you need to know about The Void, a terrifying place outside reality that is constantly overflowing with cosmic horror. Will you know what to do when The Void starts leaking into your timeline? Within Dr. Chuck Tingle’s Guide To The Void you will find multiple strategies for battling The Void, as well as survival techniques that could save your life, should you ever find yourself lost within The Void’s infinite grasp of existential dread. Most creatures of The Void are covered in detail, including Void Crabs, worms, Ted Cobbler, and The Man With No Eyes And Wieners For Hair. Also included within this guidebook is important information on Void related subjects like reverse twins, Truckman, the lake, and the call of the lonesome train. For anyone interested in the darker planes that lie just outside of The Tingleverse, this book is for you. Warning: This book includes mind-bending depictions of existential cosmic horror. Read responsibly, and stop immediately if you begin to suffer any symptoms of Void Madness.

(6) MEMORIES. Connie Willis added two new posts to her blog this month.

But certainly not to us. My family and I have known him for over forty years. He had dinner with us countless times (and especially one memorably snowed-in Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house), taught my daughter Cordelia to hang spoons from her nose, and loved talking to my husband about science, especially on the trip to the total eclipse we took to Montana in 1979. (I feel so bad he won’t be here for this summer’s eclipse. It’ll be right in his hometown, Wheatland, Wyoming.)

He was one of my best friends, and I’d rather have talked to him than anybody. He was smart, witty, and full of fascinating stories about horror movies and urban legends and weird news articles. At our last dinner a mere two weeks ago at Cosine, an SF convention in Colorado Springs, he had all sorts of wry and insightful comments about Saturday Night Live, the movie Hidden Figures, and Donald Trump.

But he was not just a friend. He was also a mentor to me before that term even became popular. He taught me how to write, how to critique, how to find my way around the complex maze of the science fiction world without getting in trouble. He encouraged me to go to conventions, introduced me to everyone he knew (and he knew everybody from Jack Williamson to Harlan Ellison to George R.R. Martin) and got me onto panels. He even got me my first Hugo nomination by relentlessly talking me up to everybody.

  1. A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith.

This book about a girl growing up in New York City in the early 1900s was loaned to me when I was ten or so, by somebody who thought I’d like it, and I adored it, even though I was probably too young to really understand it. But I totally identified with Francie, who loved to read and spent all her time in the public library. At one point, she decided to read her way alphabetically through the library, so I decided to do that, too, and discovered all sorts of books I’d never have read otherwise: Bess Streeter Aldrich’s A Lantern in Her Hand, Margery Allingham’s A Tiger in the Smoke, Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place (about which more later), and Peter DeVries’s Washed in the Blood of the Lamb, which had the memorable line, “The recognition of how long, how long is the mourner’s bench upon which we sit, arms linked in undeluded friendship, all of us, brief links, ourselves, in the eternal pity.”

Unfortunately, I’d only made it through part of the D’s when I discovered science fiction and I abandoned Francie’s plan to read everything with a spaceship-and-atom symbol on the sign.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 28, 1965 Dr.  Terror’s House of Horrors premieres in North America.

(8) REFERENCE BOOKS. People are still buzzing about Sunday night’s Oscar mixup, especially those hoping to leverage social media attention by mentioning it. But librarians?

(9) ARMAGEDDON ACTOR. Heritage Auctions is auctioning celebrities’ collections in Dallas on March 18. One of the items of genre interest was owned by Bruce Willis.

Among his top offerings is a French Movie Poster from Forbidden Planet (est. $3,000). This large-format poster in French “grande” size (47 by 63 inches), from the 1956 Metro-Goldwyn film, features one of the most iconic images from the science fiction genre: Robbie the Robot carrying an unconscious beauty. All text, including the film’s title, is written in French. The poster includes a letter of authenticity signed by Willis.

 

(10) NEVER SEEN. The following week at the Vintage Movie Posters Signature Auction a rare Invisible Man poster will bring top dollar.

Perhaps one of the most impressive of all of the great Universal Studios horror posters, a terrifying, 1933 one sheet teaser poster for The Invisible Man could sell for as much as $80,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Posters Auction March 25-26 in Dallas. “Even the most advanced collectors have never seen this poster in person,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Posters at Heritage Auctions. “(Artist) Karoly Grosz does a hauntingly wonderful job capturing the insanity that slowly takes hold of the film’s mad scientist. In only a few instances did, the studio produce a teaser for their horror greats but when they did they were often outstanding.”

(11) WOMEN OF LEGO The proposed “Women of NASA” LEGO set covered in last July in the Pixel Scroll has been approved for production the toy company announced today.

Design, pricing, and availability

We’re still working out the final product design, pricing and availably for the Women of NASA set, so check back on LEGO Ideas in late 2017 or early 2018 for more details.

(12) PROMO. Kameron Hurley sent supporters custom dust jackets forThe Stars Are Legion, released earlier this month.

She also has done a blog tour to promote the book. The posts are listed here.

(13) MAINTAINING HIS IMAGE. French campaigner uses tech to be in two places at once: “Holograms, mistrust and ‘fake news’ in France’s election” from the BBC.

The communications coup of the French presidential election so far goes to far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon who, with a flick of his fingers, appeared at two simultaneous rallies 350 miles apart and created more internet buzz than he could have imagined.

The technology required was nothing new – he does not have the money – but the performance was done with panache. Walking on stage in Lyon, Mr Melenchon materialised at exactly the same moment in hologram form before supporters in Paris. He then made a speech to both audiences for 90 minutes. He likes to talk.

Afterwards Mr Melenchon claimed 60,000 live followers of the event on Facebook and YouTube. Millions more in France and around the world read about the exploit afterwards and clicked online for a taster. In publicity terms it was magisterial.

(14) SHELF SPACE RACE. History of an object important to many fans.

The Billy bookcase is perhaps the archetypal Ikea product.

It was dreamed up in 1978 by an Ikea designer called Gillis Lundgren who sketched it on the back of a napkin, worried that he would forget it.

Now there are 60-odd million in the world, nearly one for every 100 people – not bad for a humble bookcase.

(15) THE ADULTS IN THE ROOM. Were Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi channeling their inner McCalmont and Glyer when they had this Twitter exchange?

(16) TERRIBLE PUN. Wish I had thought of it first….

(17) A SPACE TAIL. Spark, a teenage monkey and his friends, Chunk and Vix, are on a mission to regain Planet Bana – a kingdom overtaken by the evil overlord Zhong. Voices by Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, and Patrick Stewart. In theatres April 17.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Eric Franklin, JJ, Cat Eldridge, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Karl-Johan Norén.]

85 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/28/17 There Are No Pixels Like Scroll Pixels

  1. It’s very late in the day, but a team headed by the heroic Jake Kerr is putting together a 2017 Campbell-eligible anthology. The submission form is here for any Campbell-eligible authors (first pro publication in 2015 or 2016) who want to submit a sample of last year’s work. Submissions due by March 10 – granted, that won’t leave much time until the nomination deadline, but imagine all those stories in one place.

  2. So many allusions! “There’s No Business Like Show Business” is fighting with the Peter Gunn theme to see which one can drown out “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All?”! And I’m remembering Chengdu, and… damn it… Ed Bryant is still gone.

    Also, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN is on TCM tonight. What a world.

  3. (11) Yay! I voted for that! This may be the first Lego set I actually buy.

    (12) I don’t know if that’s true in one way, though, seeing that as far as I can tell from the text, the XY chromosome doesn’t even exist in that universe.

  4. PS: @2 has a font slip — missing /em (/i?) after “…& Mystery”. If I get I beverage, I’ll take it next week — still dealing with the Boskone Bulge.

    PPS: first \and/ fifth?!? Or does fifth not count if you’ve already claimed first? Are there any inquiring minds left at this hour?

  5. (4) Continuing Kip’s co-incidents, I had just gotten to my Jan/Feb Analog (when my already late issue of the Mar/Apr issue finally arrived) and the first guest editorial of the year is by the esteemed James Gunn.

    (8) Clever.

    (16) Even more clever. (Apparently twice as clever.) That’s really a great one – the best are multi-part and simultaneously outrageously contrived and utterly natural. 🙂

  6. Jason, that reminds me that I also intended to mention that Gunn’s name rang a bell because he was GoH at the con our tiny SF club threw in Fort Collins around 1979. Indeed, this is a scroll full of resonance for me. (I thought of mentioning that I’d been to Chengdu, but that seemed like a stretch. Panda capital of the world, I’d say.)

  7. 13) I vaguely remember reading a short story in which a hologram of the president visits every house in the country.

  8. I haven’t seen “There’s No Business Like Show Business” in a long time, but that clip really cheered me up. Thanks!

  9. 11) I call foul! Everyone knows that Margaret Hamilton has green skin and goes into space on a flying broomstick. But an excellent Lego set.

  10. @bookworm

    First Tuesday by Robert Reed?

    I want to read Hurley’s book but there’s no Audible OR text-to-speech which is how I do 90% of my reading 🙁

  11. Some Ray Charles filkitude for Mardi Gras

    Georgia, Georgia
    Kindle loves you
    Just the ease of uploading
    Keeps Georgia my default font (Georgia my default fooooo–onnnttt)

    I said Georgia
    Georgia
    Your serifed grace
    Comes as sweet and clear
    As coffee through my face
    Other fonts reach out to me
    Other styles smile tenderly
    Still in formatted dreams I see
    Normal template leads back to you

    I said Georgia
    Ooh Georgia, no comic sans for me
    The fact Kindle loves you
    Keeps Georgia my default font (Georgia my default fooooo–onnnttt)

  12. (14) SHELF SPACE RACE

    I account for about 24 of those Billy bookcases. (Fortunately, by the time I was setting up the library in my current house, a significant number of people in the bay area were selling used ones cheap on Craigs List and the like.)

  13. (14) SHELF SPACE RACE. “These are all the parts to Billy.” (I’m not sure how my college acquaintance, Billy, felt about this.) I believe a few of our basement bookcases are still Billy ones. 🙂

    Meredith Moment a.k.a. ebook sale: Rachel Caine’s Ink & Bone is $1.99 at (some?) U.S. ebookstores.

  14. At Short Story Squee & Snark, we’re discussing a whole bunch of the Nebula nominees for Best Novelette. (Cat Rambo’s “Red in Tooth and Cog” has been decreed part of the discussion as well, because we can!)

    It’ll be fun to address a whole shortlist, and my Hugo nom list for novelette ain’t set in stone yet… 🙂

  15. Meredith Moment for UK filers: Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoats Book 1) by Sebastian de Castell is currently £0.99 on Amazon. (Hat tip to Dann and a few others for talking about it enough for me to add it to my ereaderiq watchlist)

  16. Whoever and whatever Chuck Tingle really is…they’re a mensch. I suppose we have to thank (!) Mr. Beale for bringing him to greater attention and prominence.

  17. (14) That statistic goes along with that one about the average number of books in houses – some of us skew the numbers really, really badly. (I wonder if there is any house that only has one Billy bookcase? I mean, it strikes me as a product that you either have none of, or multiples.)

  18. (14) Only have one Billy in the house, in the kid’s bedroom. The shelves in the main library are all wall mounted, full height ones I built myself.

  19. Currently listening to the audiobook of Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone. I could make you a list of things that ought to make me roll my eyes at it, but I’m really enjoying it.

    It’s a fantasy, with a dire prophecy apparently about to come true, and bad guys prepared to do dire things to prevent that.

  20. (14) 16 Billy at home. I try to avoid IKEA otherwise, but it is almost impossible.

    Also: ALL AWARDS for Chuck Tingle.

  21. @NickPheas

    Mike’s email address is conveniently mentioned in item 2 today.

    I’d be more impressed by that guy’s “I’m just a nerd, honest” defence if he was producing anything SF looking, but he seems to have been producing imitations of contemporary weapons. (No idea how that relates to Australian law, but as he’s in court for it I’d guess ‘not well’)

  22. I realize that I’m tilting at a windmill here, but that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram.

  23. unrelated to anything I thought I’d throw a book rec out …. am about halfway through Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky and am enjoying it very much. Short for a book, perhaps would count as a novella .. anyway published Feb 2017 so will go on my list for next year. Found it by following a link from Winchell Chung’s excellent (and massive) website Atomic Rockets on his page for authors who used his site to “get the science right”.

    On yet another unrelated note … I’m looking for some mood music to play as I set up a sort of romantic/dramatic evening with my significant other. I’m introducing her to a new board/card game … Arkham Horror the Card Game. I thought brass candlesticks with lit tapers, darkness, and some spooky Lovecraftian music would do the trick … any suggestions??

  24. @clif

    I am ninja’d by Paul, but +1 for James Semple. I think I have his Trail of Cthulhu album from a Humble Bundle.

    I recently played Mansions of Madness 2nd edition, which is the new “app assisted” version. I was a bit skeptical about but it actually works brilliantly, and among other things the app plays some nicely atmospheric music for you.

  25. @David Brain: Fans are stereotypically packrats, so they could have one Billy from a sale or hand-down or because they had the money to buy new to fill one corner. I have four (half-height, one with extensions) but forget how many I first bought; originally hardcovers went in the three cases my father built 80-90 years ago (and 2000 miles away) and one acquired elsehow. Paperbacks go in unfinished cases that were originally intended for videocassettes — sufficiently right-sized that I ordered more made after the store had stopped stocking them due to DVDs; reference are also on unfinished (which have held up better than the Billies, which sag after years under three feet of ordinary hardcovers); sheet music and TBR on adjustable wall mounts, because they fluctuate.

    @Mark: yes, those look very ordinary. I wonder whether the net sale mentioned in the story described them as usable or as futuristic — my bet is the former.

  26. He was also a mentor to me before that term even became popular.

    Back before Homer wrote the Odessey?

  27. Scroll on through the wind
    Scroll on through the rain
    Though your files be tossed and blown
    Stalk on, stalk on
    With fifth in your heart
    And you’ll never scroll alone
    You’ll never scroll alone

    Liverpixel?

  28. @ clif:

    If you’re looking for spooky/weird background music, might I suggest either “Heresy” or “Place Where The Black Stars Hang” by Lustmord, a one-man dark ambient project.

    In my experience, the only music that ever actually scared someone was a recording of “Quattro pezzi per orchestra” by Giacinto Scelsi. The host had to turn the Scelsi off because it made him feel like “someone was sneaking up on him.”

  29. Of all the pixels in all the scrolls in all the world, she files into mine.

    Scroll up the usual pixels.

    @Darren Garrison
    I realize that I’m tilting at a windmill here, but that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram, that is not a hologram.

    It’s a Pepper’s Ghost illusion.

  30. Is Chuck Tingles Twitter feed eligble for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form?

  31. Peer Sylvester on March 1, 2017 at 10:22 am said:

    Is Chuck Tingles Twitter feed eligble for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form?

    I don’t know, but Fan Writer would be a good match for it.

  32. Just finished: A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab, wrapping up her Darker Shade of Magic series very nicely. It gets very intense and pretty dark in places. To be picky, the plot requires some not-previously-introduced plot tokens being thrown in to save the day, which isn’t my favourite thing, but tbh the things I’ve liked about the series are the worldbuilding and the characters (need moar Lila) so this isn’t a great issue.

    Quick read: The latest Clarkesworld has a Naomi Kritzer story called Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty’s Place Cafe which I obviously had to skip right to. It’s a nice but short piece whose title an entirely and totally accurate description of the story. (I also noticed the bio says that she’s signed up to write a YA novel based on Cat Pictures Please)

    Now onto: New Penric novella!

  33. There will be a New Neal Stephenson novel coming this summer: The rise and fall of D.O.D.O. Its cowritten by Nicole Galland.
    I read everything by Stephenson, but couldnt finish the Mongoliad triology (the second book was far too slow and had far to many weak parts), but I have preordered nevertheless…

    Re background music: How about Explosions in the sky? ( The band, not the explosions)

  34. Just finished the new Penric. I liked it, but it looks like Lois is planning on torturing poor Penric just like she tortured poor Miles Vorkosigan across several books. Hopefully the resolution is as happy as that one was, if not as drawn out.

    Which doesn’t mean there won’t be angst and such along the way.

    Lois does have imaginative uses for those previous partners of Desdemona, I will admit.

  35. @ clif

    unrelated to anything I thought I’d throw a book rec out …. am about halfway through Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky

    By pure coincidence, I’ll be hosting a guest blog from her tomorrow at alpennia.com.

  36. Peer: There will be a New Neal Stephenson novel coming this summer: The rise and fall of D.O.D.O. Its cowritten by Nicole Galland.

    Thanks for mentioning this. I am dubious. This looks like one of the new trend of slapping a wildly-famous author’s name on the front of a book alongside the name of the book’s actual author, who is pretty much unknown (such as “Tom Clancy’s…”, “James Patterson and…”), in order to sell loads of books to the famous author’s fans.

    However, my library has it on order, so I’ve put myself on the list for it, and will be happy to report back on what I thought (hopefully, that my first impression was wrong).

  37. I agree with Camestros that Fan Writer would be the best category for Tingle, though he himself was suggesting Related Work, I think, and there was earlier a movement for him (not a work of his, him) to be nominated in Dramatic Presentation.

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