Pixel Scroll 2/6/17 Darling, You Give Kzin A Bad Name

(1) BEWARE STOLEN VALOR. Cat Rambo issued a warning on Facebook today:

Be aware if you’re publicly claiming that you’re a former Nebula nominee or winner, and you can’t back that up, SFWA is going to come after you like a bat out of hell with me riding its back, a flaming sword in my hand.

I’d pay money to see that.

(2) REAL OR FOOLS’ GOLD? Inkican has heard – “Long-Lost Philip K Dick Manuscript Found?”  Lifted from Christian Brunschen’s comment.

Hey, this is pretty cool. Someone over at Reddit is claiming to have found a lost manuscript from Philip K. “The Guy Who Wrote the Stories Behind ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Total Recall,’ ‘A Scanner Darkly,’ and ‘Minority Report’” Dick. PKD’s influence on science fiction is tremendous. The fact that people know him for his work, rather than his notoriously-phallic name, is proof-positive of the evocative, prolific stories he told.

And now they seem to have a lost manuscript of his. Authentication is in progress, but you can enjoy the story now. They’ve posted “Whatever You Do To The Rest Of You, Your Mind Belongs To Lasconte” to Dropbox in PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats. Stay tuned as we follow the story … for nerds, this is like discovering a long-lost Renoit or Mattisse painting. Instead of hording it and teasing us, this nerd is sharing the story with us immediately. GG, anonymous geek! It’s stuff like this that makes the sci-fi community what it is.

(3) WAY OUT WET. “Scientists Find That Water Might Exist in a Whole New State”. Yeah, California, after all the rain we’ve had in the past few weeks.

Okay, the Smithsonian is really talking about something else.

…Because the phase of a substance is determined by how its molecules are configured, many physical properties of that substance will change abruptly as it goes from one state to another. In the recent paper, the researchers measured several telltale physical properties of water at temperatures between 0? and 100? under normal atmospheric conditions (meaning the water was a liquid). Surprisingly, they found a kink in properties such as the water’s surface tension and its refractive index (a measure of how light travels through it) at around 50?.

…If confirmed, the authors’ findings could have many applications. For example, if changes in the environment (such as temperature) cause changes in a substance’s physical properties, then this can potentially be used for sensing applications. Perhaps more fundamentally, biological systems are mostly made of water. How biological molecules (such as proteins) interact with each other likely depends on the specific manner in which water molecules arrange to form a liquid phase.

(4) INFORMED GUESSER. On Recode, journalist John Markoff shares some of the sci-fi books that helped him get a leg up as a tech reporter for the New York Times over the past 30 years.

On the new podcast, he praised one non-fiction book, 1980’s “The Micro Millennium” by Christopher Evans, and one movie, 2013’s “Her,” for their prescience about tech.

“He just walked through, in a really prophetic way, how the emergence of the microprocessor was going to transform society,” Markoff said of Evans. “So I looked at that, and it really kind of intrigued me.”

He also peppered the conversation with recommendations of sci-fi books that helped him get a leg up on other reporters in the field:

  • “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson (1992): “The premise is, America only does two things well. One is write software, and the other is deliver pizzas. [laughs] What’s changed?”
  • “The Shockwave Rider” by John Brunner (1995): Markoff said he built his career on an early understanding that the internet would change everything. He said, “[The Shockwave Rider] argued for that kind of impact on society, that networks transformed everything.”
  • “True Names” by Vernor Vinge (1981): “The basic premise of that was, you had to basically hide your true name at all costs. It was an insight into the world we’re living in today … We have to figure it out. I think we have to go to pseudonymity or something. You’re gonna participate in this networked existence, you have to be connected to meatspace in some way.”
  • “Neuromancer” by William Gibson (1984): Markoff is concerned about the growing gap between elders who need care and the number of caregivers in the world. And he thinks efforts to extend life are “realistically possible,” pointing to Gibson’s “300-year-old billionaires in orbit around the Earth.”

(5) SOUNDS SUPER FAMILIAR. Flickeringmyth reports tonight’s Supergirl’s title is “The Martian Chronicles.”

‘The Martian Chronicles’ is the title of the eleventh episode of Supergirl season two, and will see the two heroes teaming up to battle a White Martian. Check out the official episode synopsis here…

WHITE MARTIANS ATTACK THE DEO — Armek (guest star Terrell Tilford), a White Martian, descends on National City intent on taking M’gann (guest star Sharon Leal) back to Mars to face her punishment as a traitor. Hank (David Harewood) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) determine the best way to keep M’gann safe is to bring her to the DEO. However, when it is revealed that Armek shape-shifted into M’gann and is now loose in the building, the team realize he could be disguised as any one of them

(6) NASA GETS IN ON THE ACT. For some reason there are a lot of football references in today’s Scroll, like in this NPR article “Want To Throw A Football More Than 500,000 Yards? Just Head To Space”.

Matt Ryan is no slouch.

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback, who will be vying for Super Bowl LI on Sunday, drew plaudits all year for what many have called an MVP-caliber season. By the end of the season, Ryan racked up 4,944 passing yards.

Still, it took Ryan 16 games — and more than 500 throws — to get to that number.

Astronaut Tim Kopra just threw for 564,664 yards. And he did it on a single throw. Underhand.

Kind of.

In new video shot on the International Space Station, NASA posed the question: How far can you throw a football in a zero-G environment?

The answer, it turns out, is really, really far.

Chip Hitchcock comments, “I wonder whether that was their first try or their 20th; it would be more impressive if the ball at least made it from one end of the ISS to the other, but the pictures are pretty.”

(7) MEASURING THE UNSHINE. Galactic X-rays could prove the existence of dark matter.

A small but distinctive signal in X-rays from the Milky Way could be key to proving the existence of dark matter.

That is the claim of US scientists who analysed the energy spectrum of X-rays gathered by Nasa’s Chandra satellite.

They found more X-ray photons with a particular energy than would be expected if they were produced only by familiar processes.

Those photons could in fact have been generated by the decay of dark matter particles, say the researchers….

(8) NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS. I decided it was worth running the best sf movie spots shown during yesterday’s Super Bowl. The trailer for the next Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers sequels didn’t make the cut.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Extended Big Game Spot

  • Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Big Game Spot – Paramount Pictures

  • Logan | “Grace” #SB51 Commercial | 20th Century Fox

(9) LAST MONTH IN HISTORY BUT I CAN STILL SMELL IT

  • January 6, 1945 — Pepé Le Pew made his first appearance in Warner Bros. cartoon, “Odor-able Kitty.”

(10) IT’S BRADBURY. Recently updated from its original 2012 appearance in the San Francisco Chronicle “Susan Steinberg’s Most Treasured Book”. (Note: Contrary to my usual practice, I have copied the entire post.)

Susan Steinberg is the author of the forthcoming story collection “Spectacle.”

When I was 13, my mother put me on a plane to visit my aunt and uncle in New Hampshire. My parents were going through a divorce, and I had been dealing with it by screaming and repeatedly slamming doors throughout the house.

It was fall. It rained the whole time I was in New Hampshire. My aunt and uncle, now looking back, were pretty young. They didn’t even have kids yet. They didn’t know what to do with me. I slept on a couch in my uncle’s study, which was filled, floor to ceiling, with books. They were mostly science fiction paperbacks. The covers had rockets and robots and Martians on them. I wasn’t going to read those books. I liked to read books about girls and drugs, and girls and guys.

I watched a lot of television. There was a day my aunt and uncle drove me to Boston to get me out of the house. They took me to a bookstore and said they would buy me a book. I wanted the kind of book I liked, but my uncle bought me a book called “The Stories of Ray Bradbury.” It was huge and hardcover. I was like, “Why are you buying me this?”

But late that night in my uncle’s study, I started to read it. And it was terrifying. It was a different kind of terrifying. I was totally into the terror. I felt like my life was another life. I mean, I was 13. And sheltered. I hadn’t known there was more to the world. Or more in the world. I mean more than my own sad self.

(11) BRINGING MORE LIGHT. Adam Savage (of Mythbusters) takes you behind the scenes of The Expanse and gives you a look into Season 2, which airs February 8.

(12) NZ NATCON UPDATE. LexiCon, the 38th New Zealand National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention (NatCon). has announced that a draft programme for the event is available.

LexiCon will be held at the Suncourt Hotel in Taup? from June 2-4, 2017 (Queen’s Birthday Weekend).

(13) VOCATION. Armed with 3 years of experience at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters and a recommendation from Steven Spielberg, Hugh Jackman applies for a job at Harlem Village Academies.

(14) IF I HAD A HAMMER. Another Carl Slaughter find —

Carl says: “In this superhero comedy skit starring Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo, Thor travels to Australia for some me time, hammer in hand.  He visits a local elementary school and his roommate’s office.  He offers to help Tony Stark resolve the conflict with Steve Rogers.  Stark does not reply.  Then Thor discovers that Stark has invited Bruce Banner, who has no interest in the brewing civil war, to join his team.  Thor feigns to not be offended.   I give up, who’s the guy sitting down in the purple suit?”

(15) COMING TOMORROW. Speaking of…  This book comes out tomorrow: “Neil Gaiman Busts Out Thor’s Hammer For ‘Norse Mythology”.

While the new book, out February 7, 2017, won’t connect to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Thor, it will feature Gaiman’s own unique retellings of the ancient Norse Myths from which Thor derives.

Putting Thor’s hammer on the cover is a smart move by Gaiman, as it allows his dive into myths to potentially crossover into mainstream culture. People who are only familiar with Thor through the Marvel Cinematic Universe probably describes a vast majority of potential readers. This high/low combination on Gaiman’s part isn’t exactly a new move for him — he’s adapted Norse Myths before.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Christian Brunschen, John King Tarpinian, JJ, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit inspiration goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP.]


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89 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/6/17 Darling, You Give Kzin A Bad Name

  1. It’s a Kzin to scroll a lie.

    Forgive me for using the same exact pun as the scroll title. It’s late. I’m tired. I still have to do stuff. I will be witty some other day. Perhaps Thursday.

    Seriously, Thursday’s good for me. I’ll be witty.

  2. Brunner’s “The Shockwave Rider” was 1975, not 1995 – way ahead of all the other books mentioned.

  3. Cat Rambo: Be aware if you’re publicly claiming that you’re a former Nebula nominee or winner, and you can’t back that up, SFWA is going to come after you like a bat out of hell with me riding its back, a flaming sword in my hand.

    Presumably the bat would be dyed in a rainbow of vibrant colors.

  4. As I understand it, the claims of being a Nebula “nominee” and a Hugo “nominee” were related. You can basically get away with calling yourself a Hugo Award “nominee” because it’s impossible to prove or disprove, so we simply try to make it clear that it’s a meaningless term. (It’s similar to being a “Nobel Prize nominee,” which is to say the bar isn’t very high.) Claiming to be a finalist (or a winner), however, is something we can verify objectively, and claiming it when you don’t qualify is a violation of WSFS’s service marks (now registered in both the USA and the EU!) and is something that the Mark Protection Committee would not take lightly.

  5. Kip W; Seriously, Thursday’s good for me. I’ll be witty.

    Witty, and pretty, and bright?

  6. (11) Season 2 of The Expanse started last week, with a double episode. What airs on February 8 is the third episode (though they’re also rerunning the first two earlier in the day).

  7. (2) These stories always remind me of David Elys Time Out `(Im not sure if I could give a reason without spoilers? I mean, it is an old book, so I probably could).

    Scroll here for a seat on the national security pixel:________

  8. On (1): Indeed, as I understand it, under the circumstances – The Pact is… to avenge.

    It is uncanny how accurately that clip mirrors my usual morning. Though mine has coffee floating around in there too, usually.

  9. Vinge’s “True Names” is a bit of an underrated gem, IMO. I re-read it fairly recently, and it’s definitely changed over time, but still holds up quite well.
    —-
    The BBC, while an above-average source for news in general, is pretty iffy on science topics, in my experience. (Not that that makes them particularly unusual–mainstream news is generally a bit allergic to accurate science reporting.) So I hunted down a slightly better source for the X-ray story: NASA itself.
    —-
    As for Gaiman tackling Thor? Cool beans! I remember how excited I was as a kid to discover, via de Camp and Pratt’s Enchanter series, that Thor was actually a red-head with a beard–and a bit of a buffoon. It was the first clue I had that maybe the Marvel version wasn’t so reliable. And let me know that the real story might be pretty interesting too. So maybe Gaiman can do the same for a new generation of kids.

  10. Re #2, wouldn’t any PKD story still be under copyright and owned by his heirs? He hasn’t been dead for 70 years. To announce the find makes sense. To post the story online sounds fishy.

  11. (2) I’ve downloaded the PDF and have concluded that this is a fake, and a bad one. Nothing here is characteristic of how he would write, even in the earliest part of his career. Dick has been accused of sometimes-clunky prose, but the clumsiness here is of a different order altogether. If this turns out to be authentic, I’ll be very surprised.

  12. Xtifr:

    “I remember how excited I was as a kid to discover, via de Camp and Pratt’s Enchanter series, that Thor was actually a red-head with a beard–and a bit of a buffoon. It was the first clue I had that maybe the Marvel version wasn’t so reliable. And let me know that the real story might be pretty interesting too. So maybe Gaiman can do the same for a new generation of kids.”

    As I’ve said before, the best version of the norse gods can be found in Peder Madsens comic book series Valhalla. Where Thor is indeed a redheaded buffoon. And Loki actually kind of likeable.

    Never really been a fan of the Marvel-version, even if the movies are the best version yet. The ordinary Thor is so pompous that it hurts.

  13. Today was the birthday of Sinclair Lewis…who we all know I can’t seem to untangle from Upton Sinclar. 😉

  14. 1) Let me get this straight. You’re equating someone pretending to have been nominated for an award with the type of scumbag who pretends to be a fucking veteran? Seriously? Did you not know what “stolen valor” refers to or are you just so fucking vapid you think theres an equivalence. Heres a hint santa. Nebula nominees dont get shot at, dont have to deal with IED’s, and dont risk their fucking lives.

  15. Paul Weimer on February 7, 2017 at 2:47 am said:
    Today was the birthday of Sinclair Lewis…who we all know I can’t seem to untangle from Upton Sinclar.

    Well, there’s a mental image that will haunt me to my grave….

    2) … Colour me unconvinced. It reads like a Dick pastiche – there are definite Dickian stylistic tricks, but nothing a half-decent imitator couldn’t manage. It’s also very rough, writing-wise – lots of basic mechanical errors. Now, I have no idea how clean Dick’s early drafts tended to be (and a first draft of an early Dick story might look very like a pastiche), but some of the errors – “shined” instead of “shone”, “honed in on”, for example – look like things that have gained currency fairly recently. So I’m inclined to be dubious, on that probably-not-very-scientific basis…. Is there a known hole in Dick’s oeuvre that this story would fit into? (References to an unsuccessful submission, or something like that?)

  16. Paul Weimer on February 7, 2017 at 2:47 am said:
    Today was the birthday of Sinclair Lewis…who we all know I can’t seem to untangle from Upton Sinclar.

    If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to create an elaborate hoax to convince the world of the existence of early 20th century American writer Lewis Upton.

  17. Peer Sylvester
    We are among people who read old books with the same enjoyment as new books. My policy (which I hope I’ve managed to keep to) is to avoid spoiling the ends of books, movies, operas, poems, testaments, whatever, because they are new to someone. ROT-13 or simple warning labels should suffice in most all cases.

  18. @Kip : Yes, thats why I didnt give a reason, although now my comment is probably just rambling now 🙂
    But if you find the book – its short and amusing… (Does ANYBODY here has read it and knows what Im rambling about?)

    Hate the Kzin, Love the Kzinner?

  19. Check out Monday night’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He and Paul Giamatti go back and forth with a lot of science fiction authors’ names, and they seem to know what they’re talking about. They both like Cordwainer Smith.

  20. There are three missing PKD novels. None of them sounds remotely like this one, and no where did PKD ever visit South Carolina.

    Recall How the World Changed when they uncovered that lost Heinlein novel?

  21. Just finished The Reflection by Hugo Wilcken. Not really genre, although it was nominated for a Kitschie last year I believe. Probably slipstream. I dont know. Difficult to say anything about this story without going to spoilers, but I say this: While trhe story is completly different, it does remind me of David Lynch “Mulholland Drive”. A lot. Like that movie you dont really know what happens, what is real and what not, which is equally fascinating and frustrating. On one hand I feel myself absorbed and forming theories, on the other none of them quite fit _everything_. Like the movie. And like the movie this book will divide readership. I dont quite know where I stand with this. I dindt quite like it, but it does quite stay with me.

    “Look!” Behind you! A three-Headed Pixel!”

  22. More catalog Cherryh! Now available on Kindle is The Deep Beyond, an omnibus collection containing Serpent’s Reach and Cuckoo’s Egg, two more Alliance/Union novels from the 1980s. (Well, TBH, at the time it first came out, I was never quite certain whether Cuckoo’s Egg was part of A/U, but apparently it is?)

    Both highly recommended; Serpent’s Reach in particular is a favorite of mine.

  23. Like that movie you dont really know what happens, what is real and what not, which is equally fascinating and frustrating.

    I used to say that I would love to have seen a collaboration between Satoshi Kon and Terry Gilliam, because both of them loved playing with the borderline of ‘what is real’, and would often leave you wondering how much of the movie ‘actually happened’ (at least within the context of the movie).

    Then again, they probably wouldn’t have made it all the way through any collaboration. While I don’t know Satoshi Kon’s personality all that well, I’ve been at interviews with Gilliam, and he was notoriously stubborn about his creative vision.

  24. Pixel Scroll? I thought you were taller.

    I enjoy slaughtering scrolls and think of my pixels constantly

  25. (1) With or without a Meat Loaf soundtrack?

    I’d rather be a pixel than a scroll/yes I would/If I only could/I surely would

  26. Joe H – thanks for the heads-up. Both of those are favourites of mine in their own ways, although I think I have a very slight preference for Cuckoo’s Egg. (Fun fact: Cherryh’s Masters’ dissertation was a survey of Roman court cases and their recorded results. Cuckoo’s Egg is basically Roman inheritance law plus Plato’s philosopher-kings plus ninja.)

  27. “You scroll like a dairy Filer”
    “How Fitting – You scroll like a cow!”

    (Didnt know that the original was written by Orscon Scott Card)

  28. Mars Ultor: See, you got my analogy right away. I mark that as a success. Feel free to pretend to lose your shit about my appropriating a term that Google Ngram can’t even find before the mid-90s.

  29. Lis Carey: Or let me sleep. There’s a plan.

    By all means knit up your raveled sleeve of care!

  30. (1) I think it should be obvious that the theme for that excursion should be the title track from Aurelio Voltaire’s Riding a Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking from a Chalice Filled with the Laughter of Small Children. The album art is, naturally. just what you’d expect.

    https://youtu.be/yjJDBP292rM

    (8c) I still associate “Amazing Grace” in movie promotion with Silkwood. Then again, the X-Men are “Children of the Atom,” so…

    “Files are like a scroll of pixels. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

  31. 6) That feels like cheating to me — it’s like me claiming that I could walk a mile in 60 seconds by doing so from one end to the other of a train car moving at 60 MPH. I’m glad to see that there’s at least a nod to this at the end of the article.

    I will set my scrolls of silver and I’ll sail toward the pixel…
    (source)

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