Pixel Scroll 2/8/16 One Scroll I Sing, A Simple Separate Pixel

(1) WHEN GRAVITY DOESN’T FAIL. NDTV headline: “Announcement Thursday On Albert Einstein’s Gravitational Waves”:

“My earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting,” said a message on Twitter from Arizona State University cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, who does not work with LIGO.

His words sparked a firestorm of speculation.

An announcement will be made Thursday at 10:30 am (1530 GMT) at the National Press Club in the US capital Washington.

The event brings “together scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration to update the scientific community on efforts to detect them,” a National Science Foundation statement read.

They will provide “a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves — or ripples in the fabric of spacetime — using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO),” it said.

LIGO is a dual set of identical detectors built by scientists at MIT and Caltech to pick up “incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves,” said the statement.

(2) CHINESE STAR WARS. “Red ‘Star Wars’: How China used pirate comic to promote science in 1980s”  at Japan Times.

Song Feideng

Song Feideng

A long time ago in a country far, far away, Chinese authorities managed to obtain a copy of America’s ultimate cultural weapon: a blockbuster movie with enough special effects to wow an entire planet.

Summoned to a small theater in the southern city of Guangzhou in 1980, artist Song Feideng was shown “Star Wars” and instructed to transform it into a traditional Chinese comic book, known as a “lianhuanhua,” to promote scientific achievement in China.

Song was one of the first people in China to see George Lucas’ magnum opus at a time when it was still banned — a marked contrast to the status of the series’ most recent installment in a market that Hollywood increasingly sees as crucial to success.

“The objective was to take the world’s advanced science and popularize it in China,” Song, who worked for a state-owned publisher at the time, said in an interview.

He replaced the movie’s X-wing spacecraft with Soviet rockets and jet fighters. In one illustration, Luke Skywalker wears a cosmonaut’s bulky spacesuit and rebel leaders are dressed in Western business suits. Darth Vader appears alongside a triceratops.

(3) AND YOU CAN READ IT IN ENGLISH. The whole comic has been translated by Nick Stember — Star Wars comic part 1-6.


(4) GENIUS CLUSTER. “Alice Cooper on His Dinner With David Bowie and Ray Bradbury” at Rolling Stone.

After Cooper’s initial meeting with Bowie in the late Sixties, they later forged a friendship. Once, they even had dinner together with Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury. “It was really interesting, because these guys were in outer space somewhere,” he says. “They were talking about quantum physics, and I’m going, ‘So … what kind of car are you driving?'” Cooper laughs.

Does Cooper know how funny that question really was? Despite living in LA, Bradbury famously didn’t drive.

(5) NUMBERS THAT MATTER. What File 770 reader can resist a series titled “Five Books About”? Marc Turner’s contribution is “Five Books Where Dragons Are Put In Their Place” at Tor.com.

Dragons may be a trope of the epic fantasy genre, but they are a trope I suspect I will never tire of. My new book, Dragon Hunters, might just have one or two of the creatures lurking within its pages.

Whenever you encounter a dragon, it’s usually the apex predator of its world. But invincible? Certainly not. There’s a quote I recall from Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton) that goes: “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

His first choice is Smaug.

(6) WHERE SAWYER BEGAN. Robert J. Sawyer’s first SF publication was in The Village Voice in 1981.

I’d had an earlier fantasy publication (“The Contest,” in the 1980 edition of White Wall Review, the literary annual of my alma mater, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, edited by Ed Greenwood, who created the “Forgotten Realms” for Dungeons & Dragons), and I’d sold a science-fiction story to be produced as a a planetarium starshow), but that was my first science-fiction publication — and it came out exactly 35 years ago today.

That story appeared in the 14-20 January 1981 issued of The Village Voice: The Weekly Newspaper of New York, as a winner in a ten-week contest they were running called “Sci-Fi Scenes,” featured in the “Scenes” column by Howard Smith & Lin Harris.

The rules required a story of exactly 250 words — no more, no less (title words didn’t count, a fact I took full advantage of).


  • Born February 8, 1828 – Jules Verne.

(8) EVEN BAT DURSTON LOST? Charlie Jane Anders tells the story of “That Time When a Fake Science Fiction Author Won a Major Novel-Writing Prize” at io9.

Back in 1953, Galaxy Science Fiction and Simon & Schuster launched a huge contest to find a great new science fiction novel. The prize was $6,500 (a lot of money in those days). The winner? A brand new writer named Edson McCann. Except for one thing: Edson McCann did not exist.

It was a pretty disgraceful scam, everything considered.

(9) PUPPIES MARCH ON. Vox Day announced the next addition to his slate – “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Editor (Long-form”).

  • Anne Sowards, Penguin
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt, independent
  • Mike Braff, Del Rey
  • Toni Weisskopf, Baen Books
  • Vox Day, Castalia House

(10) LURKER REQUEST. People are welcome to ask questions like this in a comment on the Scroll. I received this one as an e-mail query:

I was wondering if you recognized this summary, or would be willing to post it (a long shot, I know), to see if someone recognizes it and can give title or author.

Our main character is a women who is involved in a profession that shows a lot of skin; I don’t recall if it’s actress, dancer, sex worker, or what. One day she wakes up in a thick, gray, sack-dress with no recollection of how it could have gotten on her. She can’t take it off and, when she tries to bathe, it sheds material but doesn’t wash away. It turns out that a Moral Majority opponent of hers has figured out how to program nanobots to turn out this cloth, and has set it in a cloud around her. He and his congregation wear it as well, I think? I know that the climax of the story involves that as a plot-point, along with some clever reverse-engineering on what wavelengths the nano-cloth passes or reflects…

Sound familiar to anyone?

(11) HIS FIELD OF EXPERIENCE. Never let it be said that Neil deGrasse Tyson missed a chance to talk science.

(12) SPORTS JOKE. For those who are interested enough in US sports to get the joke, a parody of a series of NFL promos aired during yesterday’s Super Bowl broadcast.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Alan Baumler for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Henley.]

201 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/8/16 One Scroll I Sing, A Simple Separate Pixel

  1. Third
    VD and I have one possible person in common this time around:
    Anne Sowards who Ilona Andrews has lots of good things to say about

    ETA: Laura Resnick added link to 5 year ago info on Mike Braff. But I’d never heard of him before and his comments about the UF genre were… Less than matching my tastes.

  2. Trying to avoid the syndrome of posting just to get to fifth, I’ll note that my new treadmill book is Letters to Tiptree. One of the interesting part about reading the first section (current SFF folk writing letters to Tiptree) is not peeking to see who the letter is from until I’ve read through it. I’ve only guessed one correctly at this point, and the clues were pretty hard to miss on that one.

  3. @Heather Rose Jones
    One of the highlights of my day today was reading The Mazarinette and the Musketeer. Thanks for the freebie. I’d seriously consider putting it up on retailers to get to a wider audience.

    ETA: Fifth!!

  4. Review of Castle Hangnail posted. Splitting headache, so I’m not staring at screen long enough to post link, but will do so tomorrow if no one else does.

  5. @ Tasha

    Thanks! I’m still at the wading-to-the-ankles stage of self-publishing. Working on getting the logistics of actually producing an e-book version at the moment but not quite ready to tackle distribution. I have to do these things at my own pace or I freak out from the complexity. I’ll be working on an actual for-sale self-published collection later this year, so I’m still building up the skills.

    I’ll admit that there are a lot of things I could be doing in the way of self-promotion that feel like they’d suck up more of my time and energy than they’d return. (Keep in mind that my day-job is fairly intense and engrossing.) At the moment, I’m happy to use the free stories as a gift to people who are sufficiently within my social network to know about them, and also as a way to drive traffic to my website (which will become more relevant in a few weeks when I start rolling out the New! Improved! website).

  6. Huh. I would love to have been able to tell the person who scanned the Chinese ‘Star Wars’ comic about putting a sheet of black behind originals that are not perfectly or sufficiently opaque when scanning them (including the part about how I made my sheet of black on a copier at work by putting nothing on the glass and raising the lid before copying) (did this on both sides, and then laminated it, also at work).

    I keep thinking one of my scanners may have even had black inside the top lid, instead of white, like all the ones I can specifically remember. Why is this too sane for manufacturers?

  7. @Heather Rose Jones – You’re probably hip-deep in well-meaning advice, but if there’s anything I can help with on the self-pub side, please feel free to shoot me an email!

  8. how I made my sheet of black on a copier

    I’ve done it by copying a sheet of red construction paper, and by copying a dark-colored binder cover. At work we sometimes had to deal with ancient (as far back as 1915) pieces of paper that were not as opaque as they appeared to be, and nearly all had information on both sides, even if only one side was printed.

  9. @Kip: I independently invented that trick when I was working at CopyMat. I didn’t waste toner making a black sheet, though: I just grabbed a sheet of the black vinyl that we had for use as document back covers. (We stocked vinyl in a number of colors, but black was by far the most popular.) If you have occasion to do that again, you might stop by some local copy shop. I’m sure they’d sell you a sheet — we charged $.65 for one, if memory serves me right.

  10. (9) PUPPIES MARCH ON. – I’m disappointed at the lack of additional 5s in this slate. It goes completely against the Puppy standard set last year,where I believe the Hugo worthy standard was a minimum of two.

    ETA : JJ, I believe that was in the Special *Special* Edition

  11. You watched the film but you wanted more,
    Like Darth Vader on a Dinosaur,
    But you don’t care much for Lucas Do You?
    It goes like this
    The Fourth
    The Fifth
    The prequels and and revenging sith
    The baffled comic drawing Vader’s dino,
    Vader’s dino
    Vader’s dino
    Vader’s dino, Vader’s di-iii-nooooo

  12. @JJ

    You mean the Special Cretaceous Edition?

    Oh gods, that’s amazing. Forget Field of Dreams‘s “If you build it they will come”. The Internet has summarised that to “If you think it (even if you didn’t!), it exists!”

    But I must say that my favourite of that style remains Badass Presidents

  13. snowcrash: The Internet has summarised that to “If you think it (even if you didn’t!), it exists!”

    I confess that I can’t quite bring myself to search for an intersection of the “Darth Vader”, “Triceratops”, and “Rule 34” sets.

  14. I’m not sure all filers will be familiar with the Scottish New Wave beat combo The Rezillos, so I include this video from the 1970s

    And alternative lyrics for the occasion
    Hold Tight – Now I’m on the Death Star
    Cue fight – Now it’s travelling far
    Tonight – How I’ve waited for…. aggravated for…. years
    It’s fun – To blow up Alderaan
    Hold on – Time to kill Obi Wan
    Your on – I’ll do anything if that’s the right thing to be

    Doesn’t matter – who I kill
    Just so long as the Emperor knows
    What is evil – what is wrong
    The dark side will keep me strong

    Kill the rebels – and ewoks
    Darth Vader’s on Triiiiii-cera-tops

  15. (10) That sounds a bit like Mack Reynolds ‘Earth Unaware’, though it is a psychic-based curse rather than nano-bots, and the preacher doesn’t know what affect his ‘curses’ have…

  16. @ Camestros:

    The Force was strong but you needed proof
    Light saber versus dino tooth
    George Lucas went ahead and listened to you
    He went into
    The edit suite
    And soon the films were “New! Complete!”
    For with CGI they’d added Vader’s dino
    Vader’s dino, Vader’s dino
    Vader’s dino, Vader’s dino-o-o

  17. (3) & (4).


    In other news, finished Molly Tanzer’s “Vermilion”, a story about Lou, a crossdressing half-Chinese psychopomp, set in a historical San Francisco (& West) that never was. And added it to my Hugo longlist.

  18. Is it just me, or does the “Transuniversal Carrier Ship” in panel 2 of Part 1 look an awful lot like the Star Cruiser Yamato to you?

  19. @RedWombat, I thank you for your selfless act of selflessness in posting the link to my review. Both my eyes and my brain thank you.

  20. Arse, I think I left my Kindle on the train on Friday. I’ll need to check the flat to be sure but it isn’t in my work bag which is a bad sign. Been using the app on the ipad at home more recently as the kindle isn’t a backlit one. Low energy bulbs and winter evenings make reading a pain this time of year.

    Check at home tonight and try the lost property office thereafter.

    ETA: at least one space after that period…

  21. @Heather Rose Jones

    I really enjoyed The Marizanette and the Musketeer also. If Julie hadn’t already existed it would be necessary to invent her. Thank you for that story.

    @Ian P

    Oh dear. I hope you find your Kindle. I am finding mine very useful for transferring short stories etc to for later off-net reading.

  22. NickPheas: Those are covers that Bujold have worked on herself.

    A woman with a sense of style. I don’t know why I’m surprised.

  23. “Someone has picked up UK ebook rights to the Vorkosigan books with covers that don’t make the eyes bleed.”

    He, taste varies. I find that cover totally horrible. Even the font makes me want to cover my eyes. 😛

  24. #3.
    Yes, that ship is the Yamato; the capsule is a Mercury capsule and this panel – http://www.nickstember.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Chinese_star_wars_comic_manhua_llianhuanhua-56.jpg
    is a re-work of this Frazetta-Burroughs cover –
    Luke looks an awful lot like Conan in the first few panels he appears in. Someone, I think, had a bunch of US books/comics and a LOT of tracing paper. (So much so that Vader appears to have inherited Dejah Thoris’ breasts….)

  25. @Hampus: Bujold’s book covers are famously bad. Some of the European ones even outdo Baen covers. The French one with the blue troll was … particularly memorable.

  26. Space Battleship Yamato (memory failed me) is an anime.

    It was exported to the US as Star Blazers, so the immediate source might still be American.

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