Pixel Scroll 2/8/17 With Many Alternative Facts About The Square Of The Hypotenuse

(1) TOUGHER THAN IT LOOKS. Sue Duff thought it would be easy to destroy the Earth, but noooo! She explains the difficulties in a guest post for SFFWorld.

When I plotted out my five-book series a couple years ago, I knew that by book four, it would be time to give my characters a break and began to torture my worlds. I needed to increase the stakes across both dimensions for the big finale in book five. It took quite a bit of research, in spite of my amateur earth and space science interests, and found that it’s not easy to make reality align with your imagination! The challenge was to have my antagonist destroy Thrae, Earth’s mirror dimension, while salvaging enough of the planet to support life. Luckily, I sat on a panel with two NASA scientists at Denver Comic Con and cornered them afterwards to verify my research. I was thrilled, and more than a little relieved, to discover that the details were accurate!

(2) LOCUS AWARD POLL IS OPEN. John Scalzi has beaten me to a pair of headlines today – I’m lucky he spends most of his time on books. John was first with the Audie Awards, and now this —

(3) SHADOW CLARKE. Paul Kincaid tells how he thinks the shadow Clarke jury will operate.

I have never been involved with a shadow jury before, so I’m probably going to be making it up as we go along. But my take on it is that the Clarke Award has become central to the way we see science fiction in Britain, so the shadow jury will use it as a jumping off point from which to expand the discussion of science fiction.

We’ll be starting with the submissions list, which is due to be published shortly and which is probably the best and most convenient way to discover what science fiction has been published in Britain during any particular year. From this we will each, individually, draw up our own preferred shortlists, based on what we’ve read and what we want to read. (No plan survives an encounter with the enemy, so I assume that as we read through our chosen books our views about what should or should not be on the shortlist will change. In many ways, I suspect that will be the most interesting part of the exercise.) We will also, of course, be reading the actual shortlist when that is announced, so the whole exercise will be a scaled-up version of Maureen Kincaid Speller’s wonderful Shortlist Project from a few years back.

(4) THE RIGHTS. Read “SFWA Statements on Register of Copyright and Copyright Reform” at the SFWA Blog.

On January 31, SFWA submitted two sets of copyright-related commentary (authored by SFWA’s Legal Affairs Committee) — one to the Librarian of Congress offering recommendations for choosing the new Register of Copyrights, and one to the House Judiciary Committee regarding its first proposal for copyright reform. SFWA also signed onto a submission from the National Writers Union to the US Copyright Office concerning Group Registration of Contributions to Periodicals.

(5) HEAR THIS ONE BEFORE? From the “Traveler” essay in Larry Niven’s Stars and Gods collection:

Lost luggage? Air France lost a passenger in the Soviet Union, because he annoyed them. They dropped Tom Doherty in Moscow when he only had an internal passport for Leningrad.


  • Born February 8, 1969 – Mary Robinette Kowal


  • February 8, 1828 — Jules Verne

(8) SQUEE. Walter Jon Williams has signed the contract for three more books in the Praxis series. He discusses the deal in “Unto the Breach”.

And so (I hear you ask) why seek publication by the Big Five after all?  Because (1) they offered me money, and (2) I don’t want to put all my career eggs into a single basket.   Ebook sales are volatile, many sales are generated by gimmicks that quickly grow obsolete, and I’m in competition with a couple million self-published authors who can’t write their way out of a paper bag, but who get just as much shelf space as I do.  If you’re published by a traditional publisher, it demonstrates that someone cared enough for your work to pay more than taxi-fare money for it.

And if the books fail, I’ll get them back, and then I’ll market them myself.  Win/win.

The headline was JJ’s reaction to the news.

(9) CONGRATULATIONS. Jason Sanford’s short story collection Never Never Stories has been translated and released in China by Douban Reads.

The collection is being released as two separate books with similar but different covers. Here’s the link to Never Never Stories Book 1 and here’s Book 2.

(10) MAKE YOUR OWN KESSEL RUN. Graeme McMillan at The Hollywood Reporter says Disney has announced that Star Wars Land will open in Disney World’s Hollywood Studios section in 2019, with a smaller one in Anaheim. They’re mum about what will be in it, but it’s 14 acres!

It’s like ‘La La Land,’ but with less dancing and more Jedi.

Disney is planning something big to mark the conclusion of the current Star Wars trilogy. How big? The size of a theme park.

On a call with investors, Disney CEO Bob Iger on Tuesday revealed that the 14-acre Star Wars Land attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando will open in 2019, the same year as Star Wars Episode IX, the final chapter in the current “Skywalker Saga” arc of the beloved space opera.

Construction started on the Hollywood Studios attraction last April, following its August 2015 announcement. Until Iger’s statement on Tuesday, Disney had remained quiet about the attraction — which will be paired with a similar one in Disneyland Anaheim — beyond the release of concept artwork last summer. While it’s still unconfirmed just what the attraction will include, a Disney Parks blog post promised “guests will get the opportunity to pilot the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” after climbing on board a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon.

(11) THE BOX SCORE. These are the authors who wrote the most short fiction in 2016 that was published in any of the eleven publications or eleven anthologies Rocket Stack Rank reviewed last year. — “2016 Prolific SF/F Short Fiction Authors”

Here are Rocket Stack Rank’s 35 most prolific science fiction & fantasy short fiction authors of 2016. Click on their names in the two tables below to see their stories, and use the Score and AvgScore columns to try some authors you might not have read before. They were selected from the 818 original stories reviewed by RSR in 2016, which include 568 authors who wrote 5.8 million words published in 11 SF/F magazines and 11 SF/F anthologies. (RSR does not read horror magazines or horror anthologies.)

Greg Hullender adds, “Not a surprise to see Rick Larson and Robert Reed at the top in terms of number of stories. The counts by number of words are strongly affected by novella writers, but still interesting.  Could be a useful resource to people looking for a new author to try out.”

(12) THE BOOKS YOU LOVE. Biblio.com has tips on “Storing A Book Collection”.

We routinely hear from customers who want to know the best way to store collectible books. Sadly, even more commonly, we hear from customers who have inadvertently stored their books improperly, eroding the value of their beloved book collection.

We thought we’d take an opportunity to share with you some tips for proper storage of books, gleaned from not only our own personal experience, but that of seasoned professional booksellers. But before we dive right in to the stacks, let’s preface the whole thing by reminding you that:


Even the most scarce of titles is rarely worth much when it is in poor condition or beyond repair. Mildew, broken spines, torn or faded dust jackets, cocked bindings and similar issues can conspire to move a desirable book from the display case to the bargain bin.

Ok, that said, let’s learn how we can keep your book collection from ruin when you need to put it in storage for a period of time…

(13) OB SF. The Washington Post’s Michael E. Ruane, in “An American filmed the German army in WWI — until they became the enemy”, has an interesting article about the Library of Congress’s restoration of On the Firing Line with the Germans, a documentary Wilbur H. Durborough did on the Eastern Front in Germany in 1915.

The sf connection is that Durborough’s cameraman, Irving G. Ries, had a long, distinguished career in Hollywood capped by an Oscar nomination for his work on the special effects in Forbidden Planet in 1956.

(14) THE MATRYOSHKA TWEETS. It began when Cat Rambo reminded SFWA members to make their Nebula nominations.

(15) DISBELIEF SUSPENDERS. College Humor poses the question — Which Is Nerdier: Star Wars or Star Trek?

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster,JJ, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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43 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/8/17 With Many Alternative Facts About The Square Of The Hypotenuse

    Let the Dragoning begin?

    Would be an interesting conversation starter. But I would be shocked(!) if the shadow jury agreed completely (or even mostly) with the actual jury.

    (8) SQUEE.
    Congrats WJW! He deserves to sell more.


  2. alt-fifth!

    (3) this is the first I’m hearing of shadow juries – but I’m not one to pay too much attention to things like that anyway.

  3. 3) I’m in Britain, and I read SF (or the newspaper, which amounts to the same thing these days), and I don’t think I could name a single Clarke award winner off the top of my head. That is, I’m sure I’ve read many of the stories, but without knowing they’d won the award…. I’m sure this “shadow jury” thing will prove interesting, but I’m not convinced the Clarke award is quite as “central to the way we see science fiction in Britain” as Paul Kincaid thinks it is.

  4. @Steve Wright

    I could name Children of Time from last year, but that’s mostly because I read it on the back of its Clarke win and really regretted not having got to it earlier. I was also going to say I remember Declare winning, but Wikipedia tells me I’m wrong about that, so make of that what you will!

  5. Are shadow juries like alt-juries? Shadow puppies with their alt-awards? I shadow-read an alternastory in an alt-book the other alshadowday. I’m alt-shook up.

  6. 8) Great news for WJW. It was a pleasure to return to the Praxis-verse with his recent novella IMPERSONATIONS. (which I do think, Filers, does work well as an introduction to the Praxis verse, BTW)

  7. Looking at the award site, many of the books are familiar to me… but as to the award itself, all I tend to remember is a) it exists, and b) the Great Chris Priest Explosion of 2012. I suppose, if it generates argument, umbrage, Internet hissy-fits and publicity, the award may be said to serve its purpose – whatever purpose literary awards serve, anyway.

  8. @Steve Wright

    Yes, the Chris Priest rant is a bit of a memorable feature isn’t it? You know, to this day I’m still not sure what on earth the title (Hull 0, Scunthorpe 3) had to do with the rest of it.
    Hopefully this year’s conversation will be more constructive than that was.

    @Paul Weimer

    I didn’t read Impersonations totally cold but it had been a long time since I’d read the original trilogy, and it held up very well as its own story, so I’d agree with you there. (I’ve re-read the rest since then, so I’ll be mashing the pre-order button on the new books)
    I hope it does well for him, but it’s good to see him protecting his rights as well. It seems like making good use of your backlist is an essential skill for midlist authors nowadays

  9. Start out scrollin’ but I’ll take my time
    A friend of the pixel is a friend of mine

  10. Tony C. Smith, Hugo award winner for the StarshipSofa podcaset fanzine has a new project, presenting an anthology of diverse SF.

    “The District of Wonders will draw upon its incredible network of authors and actively seek new voices to bring you a scintillating showcase of what it means to value everyone. With talent and tales from diverse nations, cultures, races, and experiences, this anthology will explore and celebrate how we are greater together – and, conversely, the need to tear down walls of ignorance, prejudice, and injustice.”


  11. alexvdl asks … did Tom Doherty ever make it back from Russia? ?

    That alas was the sum total of what Niven had to say on this matter. If you like grouchy old conservative males expressing their opinions, I wholeheartedly do suggest you read this collection. Otherwise you can give it a pass as a lot of it is excerpts from works already published.

  12. I see a little pixel-etto of a fan,
    Scroll-a-Post, Scroll-a-Post, will you do the Fendango?

  13. Did it ever get scrolled?
    No it never got scrolled
    And its trail’s gone dark and cold
    It may wait forever
    ‘Neath the ‘7-0 file:
    The pixel that never got scrolled

  14. “If you like grouchy old conservative males expressing their opinions”

    The real question is there a way to avoid them from doing it?

  15. Alt.Facts #1

    As recently documented* – the Square of the Hypotenuse was forged by a covenant of dark filers during the shadow wars. It was shaped in the fires of Mount TBR and quenched in the spit-take of an eldritch abomination. It can only be destroyed by being cast back into the flames of Mount TBR from whence it came.

    *See: Pants on Fire: The Arc of the Covenant from Thomism to Pixel Scroll, Lyre & Lire, Low Key Press, 2016

  16. For my science fiction knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
    Has only been brought down to the middle part of the century
    But still, in matters pop cultural, televised, and lexical,
    I am the very pixel of a vile intellectual

  17. Steve Wright on February 9, 2017 at 2:17 am said:

    3) I’m in Britain, and I read SF (or the newspaper, which amounts to the same thing these days), and I don’t think I could name a single Clarke award winner off the top of my head. That is, I’m sure I’ve read many of the stories, but without knowing they’d won the award…. I’m sure this “shadow jury” thing will prove interesting, but I’m not convinced the Clarke award is quite as “central to the way we see science fiction in Britain” as Paul Kincaid thinks it is.

    China Mieville won it three time, once with The City and The City, but mostly I remember two years ago, when I bought all the finalists and loved all of them – except Station 11, which won. But I was left with the indelible impression that the Clarke short list is a good pointer to good books.

  18. Mark on February 9, 2017 at 3:23 am said:

    @Steve Wright

    Yes, the Chris Priest rant is a bit of a memorable feature isn’t it? You know, to this day I’m still not sure what on earth the title (Hull 0, Scunthorpe 3) had to do with the rest of it.

    Wasn’t it just his intentional misreading of the Greg Bear title Hull Zero Three with a sardonic allusion to a contest that would seem important to some (a derby between Hull City and Scunthorpe about which nobody outside of Humberside* would give a shit). Alternatively a way of referencing the Scunthorpe Problem.

    True story: I had to exist for a time in Grimsby and on the local radio there was an advert that went “Scunthorpe, Scunthorpe, There’s Lots Lots More in Scunthorpe” Spoiler: there wasn’t.

  19. @Darren Garrison

    So, are the shadow jury’s findings enforced by The Shadow Proclaimation?

    Only the Shadow knows.

    Hey, how about “Who knows what pixels lurk in the heart of scrolls?”

  20. We talked about SF songs the other day. Apparently Black Sabbath played the last concert last week. They had the song Iron man, which could be a tragic superhero:
    I am iron man
    Has he lost his mind?
    Can he see or is he blind?
    Can he walk at all,
    Or if he moves will he fall?
    Is he alive or dead?
    Has he thoughts within his head?
    We’ll just pass him there
    Why should we even care?

    He was turned to steel
    In the great magnetic field
    Where he traveled time
    For the future of mankind

    Nobody wants him
    He just stares at the world
    Planning his vengeance
    That he will soon unfold

    Now the time is here
    For Iron Man to spread fear
    Vengeance from the grave
    Kills the people he once saved

    Nobody wants him
    They just turn their heads
    Nobody helps him
    Now he has his revenge

    Heavy boots of lead
    Fills his victims full of dread
    Running as fast as they can
    Iron Man lives again!

    (When i was younger, I thought “paranoid” was called “android” and the last lines of the song “ill tell you to enjoy life…” was because he us not a “living human”…)

  21. @Camestros

    I think you must be right – seems rather obvious now!

    (And I too can give a comparison of the relative merits of Grimsby and Scunthorpe, and you are correct on all counts)

  22. Since the topic of SF-related songs came up again, here’s another interesting one I just happened upon. In 2007, Chicago jazz flautist/composer Nicole Mitchell and her Black Earth Ensemble debuted the work “Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler” at NYC’s Vision Festival. I haven’t heard this work yet but am looking forward to it.

    You can find the CD or MP3s at Amazon:


  23. Mark on February 9, 2017 at 11:26 am said:


    I think you must be right – seems rather obvious now!

    (And I too can give a comparison of the relative merits of Grimsby and Scunthorpe, and you are correct on all counts)

    Grimsby is unjustly maligned I think. There are some nice pubs.

  24. Re. Walter Jon Williams: always happy to hear he’s putting out more stuff. A fantastically underrated writer, IMO. And revisiting one of his existing universes may be good for him–one of the things which has, I suspect, kept him from building the sort of fan base he deserves is the wide varieties of styles and subgenres he explores, which makes him difficult to pigeonhole. And pigeonholes are a key to marketing.

    That said, I’m curious about the thing he discusses in that article–the publishers’ attacks on reversion rights. Is this something that SFWA (and MWA/HWA/RWA and the like) have on their radars? Seems like the sort of thing they should be addressing. You shouldn’t have to have a career as long and successful as Williams’, nor agents as persistent and perceptive, in order to get a decent deal.

  25. @Rob, I really liked Mitchell’s recording, and highly recommend it. She put on a performance in Pasadena recently, but I missed it because I was in Arizona.

  26. Regarding (1), wow. From start to finish, it doesn’t make sense:

    what does happen when a powerful being drains some of the planet’s core energy? The rotation of the liquid nickel slows, triggering a domino effect that weakens the magnetic field, our first-line of defense from those nasty meteor showers. The distance between Earth and the moon increases with the change in mass of the planet and time changes with the rotation of the planet, winters are longer, and summers, too. Oceans shrink with the increase in heat and expansion of deserts from the meteor destruction. And that’s just the beginning . . .

    Among many other things, the Earth’s magnetosphere is not a defense against meteor showers. There aren’t massive clouds of rock just waiting to hit Earth, but if enough hit the Earth to cause the oceans to vaporize, nothing would be left alive on the planet. I don’t even know where to start with the Earth’s mass and rotation changing – what’s supposed to be causing that? Apparently the mass is supposed to be decreasing significantly?

    I feel sorry for the NASA scientists. That’s not an appropriate time or place to corner someone and start asking them about something like this. You’d want to ask experts (which don’t need to be NASA scientists) when you’re much earlier in the research phase, when they have time to discuss it properly, and where they would feel free to say what they really think.

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