Pixel Scroll 3/14/18 Scroll Longa, Pixel Brevis

(1) HERSTORY. James Davis Nicoll, in “Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1970s, Part III”, continues his series for Tor.com.

…Clarion graduate P. C. Hodgell has been active since the late 1970s. She is the author of the long-running Chronicles of the Kencyrath (nine volumes since 1982). Readers of a certain vintage may have vivid memories of the twelve-year desert between the third book in the series, Seeker’s Mask, and the fourth, To Ride a Rathorn. Currently she has the active support of a publisher whose name escapes me. Since the series is continuity-heavy, you will want to start with the first volume, 1982’s God Stalk, in which an amnesiac woman of a race of staunch monotheists finds herself in a city of a thousand gods—none of whom seem to be particularly helpful gods…

(2) CROWDFUNDING AMAZING: AN UPDATE. The Amazing Stories Kickstarter has accumulated $7,811 of its $30,000 goal, with 23 days remaining. Steve Davidson has begun revealing the authors who will be in the first print issue:

We are pleased to announce the following writers have contributed stories; Kameron Hurley, Paul Levinson, Dave Creek, Shirley Meier, Drew Hayden Taylor, and Allen Steele.

While we’re excited about all our authors, let us tell you a little bit about Kameron Hurley and her story…

(3) ANALOG BLOG. From a Featured Futures’ links post I learned about The Astounding/Analog Companion, “the Official Analog Science Fiction and Fact blog.” Last month they published Gregory Benford’s background notes about a piece he wrote for the magazine: “Thinking About Physics a Century Hence”.

I’ve published over 200 short stories and over 200 scientific papers, reflecting a symmetry of sorts.

My career as a professor of physics at UC Irvine has taken most of my working life, with writing as a hobby that has surprised me by success. So I see SF through a scientific lens, focused on plausible futures. But sometimes I just wing it, and speculating on physics a century hence is a grand leap, indeed.

The mock future news report in the current Analog issue [“Physics Tomorrow: A News Item of the Year 2116,” March/April 2018 Analog, on sale now] came from a contest the journal Physics Today ran in 2016: to devise an entry for that journal in a century. I took the challenge, and produced this “story” because the physics intrigued me.

Physics Today did not select my essay, from 230 others. They published much more pedestrian stuff. Since then, I’ve worked with an old friend and general relativity physicist Al Jackson, to calculate in detail how to in fact make a “gravwave transmitter.”

Then I thought, why not try Analog? As a physicist and SF writer, both avenues are natural. Indeed, maybe writing future news items is a new way to think of SF….

(4) ASIMOV’S TOO. There’s also an Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine Author & Editor Blog called From the Earth to the Stars. They recently conducted a “Q&A with Mary Robinette Kowal” about her Asimov’s story “Artisanal Trucking, LLC.”

Asimov’s Editors: What is the story behind this piece?

Mary Robinette Kowal: I was at a conference in a round table discussion talking about automation and privilege. At some point, we were talking about how knitting, which used to be a necessary thing, became automated with knitting machines and now it is a luxury art. It’s expensive to buy wool. It takes time and leisure to make a garment. I said, “I imagine the hipsters of the future will totally do artisanal trucking.” I had more of a point but stopped talking as Story stampeded through my brain.

(5) USING SOCIAL MEDIA. Dawn Witzke begins a series of posts with  “On Professionalism: Part 1” at Superversive SF. No writer can go wrong following this piece of advice:

Social Media

Writers must be on social media, which means that everything, personal and professional is up for examination. How you present yourself online can affect what impression other authors, editors and publishers make of you.

Stick to arguing ideas, not making personal attacks. Most likely this will not be reciprocated. That’s okay. Let them look like the jerk.

Trolling is a whole other ball game. While it’s not seen as professional, some writers use it as a marketing tool (Milo Yiannopolus), which is all well and good if you publish in hotly debated subjects like politics. But in general, it creates as many enemies online as friends. Use with caution.

(6) HAWKING ON THE AIR. Watch Mojo has assembled the “Top 10 Unforgettable Stephen Hawking Cameos in Pop Culture.”

Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking passed away March 14, 2018. But before Stephen Hawking died, he not only made some incredible scientific breakthroughs; there are also many hilarious Stephen Hawking cameos to remember him by. Whether he was supporting Monty Python, speaking to John Oliver or playing poker on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Stephen Hawking was a fabulous ambassador for science.

  • #10: “Monty Python Live (Mostly)” (2014)
  • #9: “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” (1993-2009)
  • #8: Pink Floyd’s “Keep Talking” (1994) & “Talkin’ Hawkin’” (2014)
  • #7: “Stephen Hawking’s New Voice” (2017)
  • #6: “Anyone Can Quantum” (2016)
  • #5: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (2014-)
  • #4: “Futurama” (1999-2013)
  • #3, #2 & #1???


The downside of my celebrity is that I can’t go anywhere in the world without being recognized. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away.

As the world mourns Prof Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, there has been a particular outpouring of emotion in China, where the visionary physicist was revered by scientists, students, the state and even boy band stars.

In 1982, I had responsibility for his third academic book for the Press, Superspace And Supergravity.

This was a messy collection of papers from a technical workshop on how to devise a new theory of gravity.

While that book was in production, I suggested he try something easier: a popular book about the nature of the Universe, suitable for the general market.

Stephen mulled over my suggestion.

(8) FLEISHER OBIT. Michael Fleisher (1942-2018): US comics writer and novelist; died February 2, aged 75. Titles he worked on include The Spectre, Jonah Hex, Shade the Changing Man (created and drawn by Steve Ditko). Famously sued The Comics Journal, publisher Gary Groth and Harlan Ellison over a 1979 interview in which the latter described Fleisher (tongue in cheek, Ellison later claimed) as a “certifiable (..) bugfuck (..) lunatic”; the court found for the defendants. [By Steve Green.]


  • March 14, 1994 Robocop: The Series premiered on television.


  • Born March 14, 1879 – Albert Einstein


  • John King Tarpinian isn’t the only one who remembered this is Pi Day – The Argyle Sweater.
  • Off the Mark also has a subtle play on the day.
  • As a commenter says after reading today’s Lio, “Before buying a book, always check to see if the title is a typo or not.”

(12) THANKS AND PRANKS. CBR.com answers its own question about the Harlan Ellison references in Hulk comics of the Seventies: “Comic Legends: Did A Hulk Classic Pay Hidden Tribute to a Sci-Fi Great?”

Anyhow, amusingly enough, Thomas was so pumped about having Ellison work on these issues that he actually decided to go a step further and, since the issue came out on April 1st, he would do an April Fool’s prank of sorts by working the name of over 20 Ellison stories into the story!

I won’t list all of them here, but I’ll do a few (the great poster, ruckus24, has all of them here).

Most notably is the title of the story, which is an adaptation of one of Ellison’s most famous story collections…

(13) MAD, YOU SAY. At Galactic Journey, Rosemary Benton reviews the newly released (55 years ago) Vincent Price film Diary of a Madman: “[March 14, 1963] Rising Stars and Unseen Enemies (Reginald Le Borg’s Diary of a Madman)”.

It feels as though, no sooner had the curtain fell and the lights came up on February’s horror/fantasy gem, The Raven, that the film reel snapped to life with another genre-crossing macabre film. While last month’s movie was a light, dry and sardonic comedy with a vaguely medieval setting and a cast of horror movie icons, Diary of a Madman, steps forward with a much more sobering aesthetic.

(14) SEMIPRO AND FAN CATEGORIES. Abigail Nussbaum continues a discussion of her Hugo nominating ballot in “The 2018 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Publishing and Fan Categories”. Here’s Nussbaum’s picks to succeed her in a category she won last year.

Best Fan Writer:

(A brief reminder here that I have announced that I would decline a nomination in this category if I received enough votes to qualify this year.)

  • Nina Allan – Nina had a great 2017, with her second novel The Rift gaining wide acclaim and attention.  She also continued to do good work as a critic and reviewer, on her personal blog, at Strange Horizons, and in the Shadow Clarke project.
  • Vajra Chandrasekera – We didn’t see as much of Vajra’s nonfiction writing in 2017 as I would have liked–his focus these days seems to be on his own fiction and on being a fiction editor at Strange Horizons.  But his writing at the Shadow Clarke site was some of the most insightful writing that project offered up, in particular this review of Aliya Whitely’s The Arrival of Missives.
  • Erin Horáková – After nominating Erin’s magnum opus for Best Related Work, you’re probably not surprised to find me nominating her in this category.  As well as that magnificent essay, Erin did other writing for Strange Horizons in 2017, covering movies, plays, and board games.
  • Samira Nadkarni – A lot of Samira’s best work is happening on twitter, where in 2017 she made some incisive comments about works like Star Trek: Discovery or Thor: Ragnarok (she had some equally interesting things to say last month about Black Panther).  In longer writing, some standouts include her review of Deserts of Fire, an anthology about “modern war” whose project Samira argues with vociferously, and of the Netflix show Crazyhead, in which she discusses the genre trope of conflating mental health problems and superpowers.

(15) NEWS TO ME. Those who wish to enhance their terminological education can start the thread here –

Just remember – once you know, there’s no going back!

(16) INFOGALATIC. Did you forget about Vox Day’s intended Wikipedia replacement, Infogalactic? Camestros Felapton hasn’t. He gives a status report in “Revisiting Voxopedia”.

Actor Robert Guillaume is alive and well on Voxopedia despite dying in October 2017 in Wikipedia: https://infogalactic.com/info/Robert_Guillaume as is (for all you Swap Shop fans out there) Keith Chegwin https://infogalactic.com/info/Keith_Chegwin who on Wikipedia died in Decemeber 2017. More famous people are more likely to have their deaths recorded but it is hit and miss.

The majority of pages remain as out-of-date Wikipedia pages from 2016 and the basic issue with Voxopedia remains the same: not enough editors and the editors it does have are mainly working on fringe projects. These are supplemented by one-off vanity pages (e.g. https://infogalactic.com/info/Richard_Paolinelli )

In comments, Camestros says Paolinelli wrote most of his own entry for Infogalactic. I’m fine with that. Never depend on others to make you famous, as Elst Weinstein and I concluded 40 years ago. (You probably wondered why there’s a copy of Weinstein & Glyer’s Discount Hoaxarama in every hotel room.)

(17) UP IN THE AIR. From the BBC: “Archaeopteryx flew like a pheasant, say scientists”. A synchrotron scan shows that the bones were hollow enough to allow short bursts of flight.

The famous winged dinosaur Archaeopteryx was capable of flying, according to a new study.

An international research team used powerful X-ray beams to peer inside its bones, showing they were almost hollow, as in modern birds.

The creature flew like a pheasant, using short bursts of active flight, say scientists.

Archaeopteryx has been a source of fascination since the first fossils were found in the 1860s.

(18) OFF THE SHELF. Our hero: “‘Boaty McBoatface’ sub survives ice mission”. The popular-choice name was passed on to autonomous submersible operating from the officially-named RSS David Attenborough. Boaty is just back from 48 hours exploring under an ice shelf.

The nation’s favourite yellow submarine swam under a near-600m thick ice shelf in the Antarctic, returning safely to its launch ship after 48 hours away.

It was an important test for the novel autonomous vehicle, which was developed at the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

Boaty’s handlers now plan even more arduous expeditions for the sub in the years ahead.

This includes a traverse under the sea-ice that caps the Arctic Ocean.

(19) FANTASTIC DESTINATION. David Doering declares, “This Miyazki-inspired ad for Oregon travel is stupeyfyingly gorgeous!” — “Only Slightly Exaggerated | Travel Oregon”.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Steve Green, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, David Doering, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

94 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/14/18 Scroll Longa, Pixel Brevis

  1. 15) LOL.

    6) If anyone hasn’t read it in some article yet — Stephen Hawking was born on the day Galileo died, and he died on both Pi Day and Einstein’s birthday. I think that’s pretty marvelous, for no particular reason.

    I’m visiting my parents today. Mom and I celebrated Pi Day with some really great chocolate silk pie. Mmmmmm.

    eta — pre-second!

  2. I didn’t have a chance to do a full list of recommendations for Hugo nominations, but I did manage to do a review of the completed. SF. webcomic Always Human. James Nicoll reviewed it last week.

    In a future Australia, where nanotechnology body mods are ubiquitous, Sunati meets Austen, who has an overactive immune system and can’t use mods at all. Day to day things that would be simple for everyone else, like enhanced memory or altering one’s appearance, are frustratingly difficult or impossible for her. On impulse, Sunati asks her out, and despite her reservations about Sunati’s motives, Austen agrees…

    This is a strongly positive slice-of-life lesbian romance, in a hard SF setting. Without contrived drama, it shows the steps and missteps in a relationship complicated by a disability we wouldn’t even recognize. It’s also beautifully drawn and colored.

    I very much enjoyed this story, and even though it’s last minute, I recommend having a look at it.

  3. Matthew Johnson: She put the file in the pixel scroll and drank it all up.

    And said, “Glyer, ain’t there nothin’ I can read?”
    I said, “Glyer, to appease my spec fic need?” 🍸

  4. Now let me get this straight, you put the file in the pixel scroll and drank it all up? You put the file in the pixel scroll and drank it all up? You put the file in the pixel scroll and drank it all up?

    And pinged the Glyer and woke him up?

  5. I can’t scroll, don’t ask me
    I can’t scroll, don’t ask me
    I can’t scroll this scroll with you
    My heart won’t let my pixel do things it shouldn’t do.

  6. (8) Rats! Fleisher’s “Wrath of the Spectre” epoch was my favorite version. Some of the later versions are great and metaphysical and dark. But for me, nothing beats the Fleisher/Aparo stories. Or reading about criminals turned into candles… glass… mannequins… You name it. Somehow they managed to create EC Comics style stories of vengeance in a comic published under the auspices of the Comics Code — albeit at a time when the code had been relaxed. Even then, they managed to snap at the heels of the Code.

    If you remember the original Fleisher/Aparo stories, you should still look for the Wrath of the Spectre graphic novel. It includes stories that didn’t make it into the original issues.

  7. Yon Pixel has a lean and hungry look
    He Scrolls too much; such files are dangerous

  8. rochrist:
    Sorry, but no. Thirds can be major or minor, but the only perfect intervals are unisons, fourths, fifths, and octaves. The rest are somehow sinful and fall short of glory. Well, in theory.

    I’m with you! It’s the kind of day that puts the Ide in Ideal! Unlike Monday and Tuesday, in which I spent hours waiting for vehicle inspections and their consequences at the Honda place. (Dick Ide Honda, of course.) It wasn’t all bad, though. I wrote my sonnet on Monday, and a piano piece for my music theory class on Tuesday, and listened to two or three installments of the BBC “I, Claudius” (radio version), among other things, during the five or six hours I spent in that waiting room. I should put my boots on now and go out and sweep the snow off the car before it becomes plaster again.

    (6.5) I did my own cameo appearance (unauthorized, of course!) of a certain man in a certain chair, back before we left Virginia, so somewhere around 2000. The story sets out to be a tribute to SF of the 1950s, and the pain of being told you can’t do things: IT COULDN’T BE DONE. Dedicated to another absent friend, Bud Webster, who gave it a thumb up).

    (8) I’ll always remember Fleischer for “The Last Jonah Hex Story,” which is a fine piece of work that really confirms Ellison’s pithy epithet of admiration. (Footnote: Elmer McCurdy.)

    (16) I always meant to ask Elst if my clerical status could move along with me. I was the Herbangelist Archbishop (or possibly High Priest) of Colorado, and then I moved. Hm.

    “Pixel the Filer with scrolls.”
    “Pixel the Filer with scrolls.”
    (suddenly vehement)

  9. Wait, has no one said Godstalk yet? Alas, I am beyond the third fifth, and cannot pixel my way back.

  10. This is truly a day for Arean integrated development environments (the so-called “IDEs of Mars”).

  11. Elisa on March 15, 2018 at 3:46 am said:

    Now let me get this straight, you put the file in the pixel scroll and drank it all up? You put the file in the pixel scroll and drank it all up? You put the file in the pixel scroll and drank it all up?

    No: The pixel with the schnitzel is the scroll that is droll.
    The god stalk from the SMOF walk is the file that’s not vile.
    The dragon with the wagon is the fifth that is sniffed!

  12. (17): It flew like a pheasant… but it tasted like chicken.
    @Robert Whitaker Sirignano: I doubt it. Hoyle unfortunately descended into full-blown crankhood in his later years, and never recovered.

  13. Fred Hoyle wrote a dubious book claiming that Archaeopteryx and the fossils were all hoaxes.

    I remember reading about that — it was a photography magazine article, rather than a book. He (and Chandra Wickramasinghe) went to the museum that displayed one particular Archaeopteryx fossil, photographed that at different angles, and argued (based on what, I am not sure) that the feather impressions in the rock were actually chicken feathers in plaster, or something like that.

    Every fossil embedded in lithographic* limestone has two parts, slab and counterslab. The counterslab for that fossil was in storage, but it’s easy to just look at the slab and counterslab, and see mineral features that propagate through from one slab to the other, including those in and around the feather impressions. Every palaeontologist even vaguely familiar with such fossils knew this, and thus knew that Hoyle’s claims were ludicrous.

    In addition, besides the specimen that Hoyle looked at, there were I think at least five or six fossil Archaeopteryx that he ignored (ten or twelve slabs).
    *: The species name honors the matrix it was found in: Archaeopteryx lithographica

  14. I am a bit baffled that having specified a specific letter and time interval, people then suggest authors whose names begin with a different letter who debuted in a different decade. I thought footnote one was clear!

  15. James Davis Nicoll (With belated apologies for misspelling your name the last time I addressed a comment directly to you): It’s been alternately puzzling and amusing to me as well, as this particular article sequence goes along. Sometimes it seems even people who love to read skim a lot … if this is happening by the Z article, that’s when it will definitely be time to pull out your hair.

  16. 6,7,10: it’s weird to me that Stephen Hawking was born on the day Galileo died and died on the day Einstein was born. For those who had kids yesterday, mammas, let your babies grow up to be physicists.

    Kip W: one of my favorite Mr. Mojo moments.

  17. Stephen Hawking

    Lots of flowers left outside the Great Gate of Gonville and Caius College when I went past this morning.

  18. @Matt Y This was awesome, but now I want to visit a place with sky whales.

    The “Pines of Rome” sequence in Fantasia 2000 is gorgeous, and has flying whales. You can get a taste of it here.

  19. @Kip W: (re to @rochrist) there’s no theory (or sin) involved; in Western music, a perfect interval is one that, when inverted, produces another perfect interval — the major intervals invert to minor and vice versa. Yes, I figure you know this, but it’s worth making clear to someone who doesn’t that there is a method.
    re 6.5: ouch. There’s probably 5,271,009 reasons that doesn’t work, but it’s still a good twist.

  20. @JDN: I think it’s been well established that even voracious readers can’t read directions reliably. (Some of us assume we’ve grasped them without actually following all the details — which is why I failed my first driving test: I couldn’t imagine that the entire test took place in a couple of thousand square feet of parking lot with no road work.) But this does seem a bit extreme given the number of columns you’ve run in this thread; I wonder whether all the mis-recommendations you’re getting are from people looking at Tor.com for the first time.

    @Mark: I have a specific quote in October bookmarked, but had forgotten just how RCWilsonian the whole book is — at least according to this review; I shall have to reread it. I do remember it being very strange for Hoyle — not just the musician narrator but the near-mysticism about time. He mostly wrote about encounters with largely-incomprehensible aliens (e.g. the manipulator hypothesized here), but in my recollection was much more hardheaded about the effects of the encounter.

    @Bill: [snortle]. I have good reason to know that wild turkeys can fly (a friend’s exurban property is rotten with them), but the ones sold in supermarkets — not so much.

  21. Bill on March 15, 2018 at 10:42 am said:

    @Matt Y This was awesome, but now I want to visit a place with sky whales.

    The “Pines of Rome” sequence in Fantasia 2000 is gorgeous, and has flying whales. You can get a taste of it here.

    As morbid as it is now I want to see an animated version of Vernon’s Whalefall speech, but with sky whales

  22. You know hard it was , catching an airwhale heading in this direction?

    My favorite quote from The Maxx

  23. @JDN — I wonder if part of the issue is also the strict definition of “first published in the 1970s” that’s bringing in some authors (P.C. Hodgell, for example) who might’ve had short fiction in the 70s but didn’t become more widely known until the 80s, while, at the same time, excluding some authors who we generally think of as being from the 70s but who actually had first publication of something in the 60s.

    Ah, well, regardless I’m enjoying the series.

  24. Dave Doering: Thanks for the link. Do we know who made this Imagine Oregon video? They’re quite talented!

  25. Do we know who made this Imagine Oregon video?

    Credits are in the YouTube description:

    Written and produced by Wieden + Kennedy
    Animation by Psyop & Sun Creatures Studio
    Performed by Oregon Symphony
    Composed by Jim Dooley

  26. @Martin Wooster Dave Doering: Thanks for the link. Do we know who made this Imagine Oregon video? They’re quite talented!

    The credits on Youtube’s website say animation was by Psyop & Sun Creature Studio.

  27. There are stills from the video here:

      traveloregon DOT com/only-slightly-exaggerated/

    In case anyone wants to use an image for desktop wallpaper or something.

  28. @Chip H @Kip W The second I pressed Post I regretted not saying minor third, but I was too lazy to edit it.

  29. Checking with my brother, who’s lived in Oregon for the past 20-ish years, to find out why he never told me about the hot air balloon restaurants or the sky whales.

  30. Chip Hitchcock: Of course there’s theory involved. I learned it in my music theory class, three semesters ago (I’m in the fourth and final semester now).

    Ah, theory! Sweet theory… (segue, as music steals up from underneath):

    Oh, I wish I was in the land of fiction
    Physics there don’t stick on friction
    Fly away, run away, get away,
    Theory Land.

    I’d fain be in the super state
    Where diets help me shed this weight
    In the world, better world, what a world,
    Theory Land.

    Oh I wish I was in Theory
    To stay! To stay!
    On Theory’s strand, I’ll understand
    The simple life, in Theory.
    No worms, no germs,
    To mess things up in Theory!
    No blips, no slips,
    To trip me up in Theory!

    Would that I were spherical and uniform,
    With Reason’s light to keep me warm,
    Fly away, run away, get away,
    Theory Land.

    With friendly nukes to light my house
    And pow’r from wind to wash my blouse
    In the world, better world, what a world,
    Theory Land.

    Oh, it always works in Theory,
    Right way! First day!
    In Theory’s lap I’ll take a nap
    And dream away, in Theory.
    No jolts, no dolts,
    No thunderbolts, in Theory.
    No quirks, no jerks,
    No danger lurks, in Theory!

    Send me where the politicians never cheat
    And honest cops walk every beat,
    Fly away, run away, get away,
    Theory Land

    Where filkers never mess up chords
    And first time list’ners hear the words
    In the world, better world, what a world,
    Theory Land.

    (Well, that verse was good in Theory.
    Don’t boo! It’s true!
    For in my mind, I test each line
    And it works fine in Theory.
    It chimes, it rhymes,
    Most every time, in Theory.
    As planned, it scanned,
    It wasn’t pannnnnned…
    In Theory.)

    (TTTO: Dixie. New words ©2011 by Kip Williams.)

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