Pixel Scroll 3/30/18 Round The Decay Of That Colossal Scroll, Boxless And Bare, The Lone And Level Pixels Stretch Away

(1) WSJ’S TOP SF OF 2017. Congratulations to all the authors who made the Wall Street Journal’s list of best 5 sf novels of the year 2017. Especially Gregory Benford, who sent me the news item. (The list came out in December but is behind a paywall.)

  • All Our Wrong Todays, by Elan Mastai
  • The Berlin Project, by Gregory Benford
  • Change Agent, by Daniel Suarez
  • Artemis, by Andy Weir
  • The Genius Plague by David Walton

(2) THEORIES OF EVOLUTION AND TIME TRAVEL. The Conversation’s Jordi Paps says the answer to the question “Would stepping on the first butterfly really change the history of evolution?” depends on how you believe evolution works.

Science fiction writers can’t seem to agree on the rules of time travel. Sometimes, as in Doctor Who (above), characters can travel in time and affect small events without appearing to alter the grand course of history. In other stories, such as Back To The Future, even the tiniest of the time travellers’ actions in the past produce major ripples that unpredictably change the future.

Evolutionary biologists have been holding a similar debate about how evolution works for decades. In 1989 (the year of Back To The Future Part II), the American palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould published his timeless book Wonderful Life, named after the classic movie that also involves time travel of sorts. In it, he proposed a thought experiment: what would happen if you could replay life’s tape, rewinding the history of evolution and running it again? Would you still see the same movie with all the evolutionary events playing out as before? Or would it be more like a reboot, with species evolving in different ways?

(3) RESOLVED. Rocket Stack Rank will comply with Charles Payseur’s request to drop him from the list of reviewers they track.

Charles Payseur acknowledged their response, and discussed some of comments made by Filers since the request hit the news yesterday. Jump on his thread here:

(4) WFC RATES WILL RISE. World Fantasy Convention 2018 registration rates are due to increase on April 1, from $200 to $250 for a full attending membership. If you become a member now you will still have time to nominate for this year’s World Fantasy Awards (for which the deadline is May 31.)

WFC2018 will be held at the Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, Nov 1–4, hosted by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) and Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA).

(5) THE BRADBURY FAMILY. On April 19, the Pasadena Museum of History presents a lecture by one of his daughters about “Growing Up with Ray Bradbury”.

Ray Bradbury’s daughter Ramona invites you to pull up a chair in her virtual living room as she shares an intimate evening of memories about growing up in the eclectic Bradbury household in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. The format is a conversation with historian Richard Schave (Esotouric Bus Adventures, Los Angeles), followed by a Q & A session.

Ramona will reminisce about life with her famous father, and share rare family photos and stories of weekend excursions to Hollywood Boulevard book shops and the Palos Verdes Peninsula (made more adventurous because her father didn’t drive!), eccentric family friends, special gatherings, and important public events.

(6) TWO ON ONE. Two NPR reviewers take on Ready Player One:

MONDELLO: A Willy Wonka prize worth playing for if you’re a gamer and a movie conceit worth playing with if you’re Steven Spielberg. Ernest Cline’s novel gave Halliday a consuming nostalgia for the 1980s, and who better to bring that to the screen? The filmmaker crams every corner of Wade’s cyberscapes with Deloreans, Batmobiles, aliens, King Kong, The Iron Giant. There’s Prince and Van Halen on the soundtrack and even a sequence where Spielberg lets loose his inner Kubrick. Wade, who calls himself Parzival in the OASIS, teams up with his best buddy, Aech…

Like the popular 2011 Ernest Cline science fiction novel on which it’s based, “Ready Player One” is an extended valentine to those pop culture relics, most of which came out in the ’80s and are thus beloved by people who grew up watching, well, Steven Spielberg movies. Spielberg avoids any allusions to his own films apart from a stray dinosaur who may or may not hail from “Jurassic Park.” But as one of the undisputed high priests of American popular entertainment, he is in many ways enshrining his own legacy. Frankly, I wish he’d been more careful with it.

(7) BOSON PURSUIT. Researchers say a “Higgs factory a ‘must for big physics'”.

Physicists had hoped that the [Large Hadron Collider] would turn up evidence of physics phenomena not explained by the Standard Model. So far, efforts to detect new physics have come away empty-handed, but studying the Higgs in more detail might break the impasse.

A successor to the Large Hadron Collider would be designed in a way that allows scientists to zero in on the Higgs boson.

The LHC works by smashing beams of proton particles together, but the collisions that produce the Higgs also produce many other particles. This makes it complicated to work out which collisions produce the Higgs boson.

A different type of particle smasher, called an electron-positron collider, should produce only a Higgs and another particle called a Z boson.

(8) VOYAGE TO THE MOON. A Kickstarter to fund the English translation of Georges Méliès’ autobiography hit its target in the first couple of days.

81 years ago, at the age of 77, Georges Méliès – the father of narrative and fantastical film – hand-wrote his autobiography; the story of the creation of cinema from not only a firsthand witness but also its greatest innovator. It has been completely unavailable since 1945 and has never been translated into English. This is one of the great unseen texts of cinema history.

I’ve had it translated. And it’s GREAT! Reading it blew my film-loving mind. A voice from history telling me in his own words about how cinema began and his role in it. Now I need your help to rescue this important, illuminating and fascinating testimony, to get it back into print and where it truly belongs – in our hands and on our bookshelves.

…. In 1937, a year before he died, he wrote longhand a 32 page autobiography detailing his life, his work and his observations on both. He sent it to a film historian who was writing a book about him. The first 500 copies of this book were packaged with a facsimile of the manuscript. What remains of that print run exists now only in the jealously guarded collections of film enthusiasts who have been lucky or wealthy enough to secure one.

This memoir is an enthralling story in which Méliès guides us from his childhood into his early career, explaining how all of the elements fell into place to put him in the perfect position to become a pioneer of cinema. He talks about becoming one of the first people in the world to see a projected moving image at a private demonstration by the Lumiére brothers and the international mission this inspired him to take to become a part of the new medium. He explains how and why he became the first impressario of cinema, how he built France’s first film studio and how he invented special effects techniques and helped define the very format of cinematic film. More than this, it’s a human story; at times braggadocios, joyous, humble and bitter. We learn how times and the industry changed, how he became the first victim of film piracy and how he ended up in his old age, forgotten, broke and selling toys and sweets in a tiny stall in Montparnasse train station. Most interesting to me was discovering that he was a man already aware of his legacy and surprisingly unhappy about how he could see he was going to be remembered. His memoir crackles with life and is a vivid account of the dawn of movies from its most colourful participant.

(9) HEAR FRITZ LEIBER. Fanac.org’s new YouTube video pairs a sound recording of Fritz Leiber’s “Monsters And Monster Lovers” talk from the 1964 Worldcon with selected images.

Pacificon II, the 22nd World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Oakland, CA in 1964. In this interesting audio with images, Fritz Leiber speaks eloquently about his favorite literary monsters (from Yog Sothoth to the forest in Peer Gynt), the relationship of science fiction to traditional monsters, why we are drawn to these characters, and on horror in a time of war. The first 10 minutes or so are a loving listing of characters, and the meat of the talk starts after that. This material was provided by The Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (SCIFI), and Jerome Scott, Director of Projects for SCIFI in LA.


(10) MAYNARD OBIT. Bill Maynard (1928-2018): British actor, died March 30, aged 89. Genre appearances: You Too Can Have a Body (1960), The Boy with Two Heads (all seven episodes, 1974), Zodiac (one episode, 1974).


  • March 30, 1988 Beetlejuice premiered. The Hollywood Reporter has reposted its review of the film.
  • March 30, 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit theaters.

(12) BIRTHDAY AUTHOR. Steven H Silver’s “Birthday Reviews” series at Black Gate celebrates “Chad Oliver’s ‘Transformer’”.

Oliver’s writing career began with the publication of the short story “The Land of Lost Content” in the November 1950 issue of Super Science Stories. He published short fiction through his career, with his final story published in 1991. During that time, he also published six novels and collaborated occasionally with Charles Beaumont and Garvin Berry. His 1984 story “Ghost Town” was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

(13) WILD ANIMAL WARNING. Your Charlton Police Department knows some coyotes are more dangerous to themselves.

(14) ACE REPORTER. Jon Del Arroz says he will be on hand for the Hugo finalist announcement at the 7 Stars Bar & Grill in San Jose tomorrow. The bar’s online schedule promises there will be Bottomless Mimosas and karaoke on Saturday – no wonder he can’t stay away!

(15) FREE READ. The winner of the “Quantum Shorts” fiction contest has been posted.

Scientific American and Nature partnered with the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, which organizes the annual competition….

The mind-bending possibilities of quantum physics lend themselves to philosophy—to wondering about the theory’s implications for the meaning of life, the idea of free will, the fate of us all. A talented pool of writers have capitalized on those implications to produce an impressive array of entries in this year’s Quantum Shorts contest, which invites short fiction based on the ideas of quantum mechanics. Scientific American and Nature partnered with the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, which organizes the annual competition. Judges, including Scientific American and Nature editors, selected a winner and runner-up in two categories—“open” and “youth”—and online voting identified a “people’s choice” favorite; all winners will receive a cash award, a certificate and an engraved trophy.

(16) NEW FORNAX. Charles Rector’s 21st issue of his fanzine Fornax [PDF file] is available at EFanzines. Here’s what’s inside —

Among other things is an essay about how I was treated as a handicapped student by gym teachers while I was in the public schools during the 1970’s.  There is also an essay about how the Big Tech companies such as Google, Twitter and You Tube have been using their power to censor political speech by conservatives and socialists and how this all ties in with the allegations that all anti-establishment activity is tied in with Vladimir Putin and his gang in Russia.  There is also an essay about irresponsible rhetoric such as Guy H. Lillian III’s defense of Al Franken and this Daniel Greenfield character who claims that we are on the verge of “civil war” because there is a great deal of opposition to the Trump Administration. There is also a look back at the Solar Empire game of yesteryear.

There are also some essays by both Robin Bright and Gerd Maximovic as well as poetry by Denny E. Marshall.

(17) RED PELT, BLUE PELT. Huffington Post reports “Alt-Right Furries Are Raging Online, And Leftist Furries Wonder What Is To Be Done”.

…However, the vocal subgroup of Alt-Furries has been hard at work asserting their space within the movement of late, and it’s this very spirit of inclusivity they wish to expunge.

“The furry ‘community’ is a fandom that has been overrun by liberal ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ and as a result it’s become sanctuary to hardcore paedophiles and
people with serious mental problems,” the unnamed author of Nazi furry erotica “The Furred Reich” told The New Statesman, which has been doggedly covering the Alt-Furry scene for years.

The core furry community, then, finds itself in quite the bind: Can a group founded upon the idea of consummate tolerance embrace a clique that’s so staunchly intolerant?

For the opposing furries leading an outright fight against the alt-right, the answer is no. Dogpatch Press, a furry news source offering “fluff pieces every week day,” often rails against Alt-Furries and their attempts at indoctrination. In February, a Dogpatch writer with the fursona Patch O’Furr published a “deep dive into the Altfurry mission to ‘redpill’ fandom with hate,” warning readers about the #AltFurry mission to indoctrinate members of the fandom and spread its white supremacist teachings.

According to O’Furr, furry fandom is a perfect venue for alt-right recruiters. Just as Pepe the Frog (RIP) served as a seemingly harmless, comedic package through which to promulgate racist, misogynist and xenophobic beliefs, fursonas can act as effective, hirsute fronts for extreme views. As Furry fandom member Deo elaborated in a Medium post, furry communities ? often populated by “socially awkward internet nerds” ? are prime targets for alt-right trolls, who target young people, outsiders and insecure, white men.

(18) KERMODE. Here are three recent genre film reviews by YouTuber Mark Kermode.

  • Ready Player One

“Really properly good fun!”


  • Annihilation (audio only)

“Shame I didn’t get the chance to see it in the cinema” and “a really fine piece of work”


  • A Wrinkle in Time

“I’d rather a film aimed high and tripped than played it safe, and I think A Wrinkle in Time does that”


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Steve Green, Chip Hitchcock, IanP,Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John A Arkansawyer, Gregory Benford, Ann Marie Rudolph, Brian Z., Charles Rector, with Carl Slaughter as The Beaver for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

61 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/30/18 Round The Decay Of That Colossal Scroll, Boxless And Bare, The Lone And Level Pixels Stretch Away

  1. A pixel sat on the railroad tracks
    Feeling wry and droll
    7-7-0 came round the bend:
    Toot! Toot! Pixel Scroll!

  2. 14) When someone looks up the word Dick in the dictionary it says “see that guy”.

  3. Ahh, an allusion to my favorite poem. Well done, Niall.

    Very excited to attend the #HugoAwards finalists event tomorrow in San Jose as it is open to the public and press (of which I am both) as is my due civil right as a citizen of the State of California.

    Now, see, Mr Del Arroz (who undoubtedly will read this) If you had stopped your tweet with the word press, that would have been fine and good. (The “join me” final sentence would have been okay too)

    This additional verbiage, in my view, sounds to me like “I’m going to go, just you dare try to stop me because you can’t. I have a right!”

    THAT sounds petulant and pissy and petty, in my opinion.

    Anyway, books. Finished Genevieve Cogman’s THE LOST PLOT, which I think I am going to stick with the audiobooks going forward, I really like the narration.

    Just started an arc of THE POPPY WAR by R.F. Kuang, which I am enjoying thus far, too.

  4. 14. JdA is even more tiresome than VD. I didn’t think that was even possible, but VD can’t step foot (well, he could, but….) in the US, so JdA has him beat on that front.

    Go, just don’t be an ass about it. Oops, forgot who I was talking about for a minute.

  5. Fifth!

    Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!

    Just finished the audiobook of ‘The Wasp Factory’ Still brilliant (though of course, not for everyone, full of Banskian violence and angst). Also completed the 19th Foreigner installment, ‘Emergence’ and found it a pleasing comfort read, visiting old and familiar friends, and seeing them mature and grow. Not the best ‘Emergence’ I have read these past 12 months, that prize goes to Ken MacLeod’s conclusion to his ‘Corporation Wars’ trilogy.

    A third of the way through ‘The Belerium Brief’. A fun romp thus far. Bob Howard makes a welcome return.

    ETA Third fifth then…

  6. 14) JDA writes for some far right website, so he apparently considers himself a journalist.

    In other news, I persuaded my Mom to buy a membership for the Dublin WorldCon before the rates go up after Easter. She originally wasn’t sure whether she wanted to go, because she had a health scare last fall, but she enjoyed WorldCon 75 so much that she’d like to experience another one. So yes, there are new WorldCon converts to be made at every age.

  7. 17) I mean, most of the furries I know just go “oh, THOSE assholes.” This makes it sound like a bit more of a culture war than it really seems to be. In practice, everybody seems to think that having your ambition in life be “Fox Hitler” is just kinda sad.

  8. In re. #14, @Paul Weimer: You summed it up well.

    And I don’t believe his “rights as a citizen of the State of California” are relevant, are they? I mean, if it’s open to the public, one doesn’t have to be a Californian to attend. Or even a U.S. citizen! 😛 He really just doesn’t have a single clue.

    (15) FREE READ. I was happy to see Andrew Neil Gray, co-author with J.S. Herbison of The Ghost Line (a Tor.com novella I enjoyed a lot), was runner-up in the “Open” category with From the Ruins of Beijing. I liked his story. All the winning stories are at the Quantum Shorts site.

    @Cora: Yay, great to hear! I hope to see you both there. 🙂

  9. About the heading for today’s entries to FILE770, with apologies to P.B.Shelley:

    I met a traveler–’twas an antique fan–
    Who said, “Two vast and drumless mimeos
    Stand in the slanshack. Near them, on a stand,
    Half torn, a tattered fanzine lies, whose brown
    And wrinkled page’s words of cold disdain
    Tell that the faned well that passion knew
    Which yet survives, stamped on the lifeless page,
    The hand that crankèd, and the paper fed.

    And on the colophon these words appear:
    ‘My Name is Ozymandias, Faan of Faans.
    Look on My Work, Ye Neos, and Despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal shack, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

  10. Amazon recommendation engine goof of the day:

    Amazon recommended “Artemisa / Artemis (Spanish Edition)” (the Spanish-language edition of Artemis) because I rated the English edition of the book!. LOL. Thanks, Amazon.

  11. I do want to check out that bar … some other time, like maybe at Worldcon we can get some Filers together and Lyft/Uber over and get all StarWarsical.

  12. I shall celebrate the Hugo Fools Day-announcements on a bus to Hobbiton. I’m quite sure that fandom still stands fast upon that bridge, facing the Balrog with those immortal words.

  13. The most frustrating part of the altfurries article is how they made it seem like a “split” instead of “100 assholes bothering a million regular friendly animal-people”.

    Me and a few others were unhappy the writer asked for comments, then published the thing without leaving us enough time to answer. She said sorry though.

    Here’s what I said after,

    Oh, JdA is in San Jose… maybe I’ll bump into him. But I won’t buy him a Yiff Me Berry Hard if he already has a bottomless mimosa.

  14. 14) Ye ghods, how pretentious.

    17) The usual right-wing projection. And do we really need to go over the Paradox of Tolerance again?

  15. @Sean Kirk

    14) When someone looks up the word Dick in the dictionary it says “see that guy”.

    Careful. He’ll probably take a screenshot and claim that you compared him to Philip K. Dick.

  16. Meredith moment: Don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet, but The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey is currently 1.99 USD at Amazon in various regions and probably other vendors as well.

  17. 9) Always fascinating to actually hear an audio recording (or even see a video recording) of someone from that generation.

    And someday I’ll successfully convince my brain that the proper pronunciation of his name is LIE-ber, not LEE-ber.

  18. I haven’t seen this elsewhere: The Baffler has an excerpt from the intro to the new edition of Joanna Russ’s How to Suppress Women’s Writing.

    I didn’t recall this argument from having read the book back in ancient history: “Emily Dickinson, who while she is finally seen as a genius is often described as some sort of singular creature without precedent or antecedent in American letters. She has no mothers, she has no daughters.”

    There is maybe the tiniest bit of truth in that idea: I can’t point to anyone who did the sorts of things Dickinson did rhythmically before she did. She creates Something New Under The Sun there. But the idea that she has no antecedents, that “critics assure us, “she had no influence on anyone.””? I avoided criticism when I was an English student, preferring survey classes with broad reading, and writing classes with lots of writing, and there everyone–teachers, students, and textbook authors–took Dickinson to be one of The poets who Mattered. I know and know of literally (if not mathematically literally) countless poets who have Dickinson cooties all over their stuff.

    So I’m not really in a position to argue with whether that’s a common position to take. Maybe I got lucky in who taught me. What I am is genuinely curious: Do people really marginalize Dickinson in that manner? I don’t know the history of criticism, so if they did, do they still? Because the idea of that both boggles me and kind of pisses me off.

    ETA: Almost forgot to quarrel with Joanna Russ’s word choice here. It’s not “those hideously ugly Grove Press Kathy Acker paperbacks”, it’s those gloriously ugly Grove Press Kathy Acker paperbacks”. There’s no better or more beautiful book than Blood and Guts in High School.

  19. Am I the first to notice Samuel Long’s excellent work? If anything it’s understated; I’m reminded that Moskowitz’s The Immortal Storm is described as the only work in which World War II comes as an anticlimax — but where is all that turbulence now?

  20. Meredith Moment: All seven Narnia books are $1.99 each (if you can look past the fact that they keep renumbering Magician’s Nephew as the first book in the series), plus various other Lewis volumes are $2.99 each.

  21. I see from Google Maps that there’s an Ethiopian restaurant across the street from that bar&grill (which describes itself as “laid back”). They’re on Bascom just south of San Carlos, so getting there from the convention-center area should be easy: buses exist that go straight down San Carlos.

  22. While Dickinson is widely read and influential today, that wasn’t true in her own lifetime. So I think she hasn’t got any “mothers” or “daughters” in the sense that she didn’t have any direct contact with other women writing in that period, she wasn’t part of any movement or “family” of writers. She’s seen as very singular and isolated, both as a poet and as a person. As opposed to a lot of nineteenth century poets who knew each other, read each other’s stuff and grouped themselves (or get grouped) into “movements” like the Romantics, the Symbolists, etc. That’s my interpretation of that line, anyway.

  23. Another Meredith Moment: ebook editions of Long List Anthology Vol. 3 seem to be very cheap at the moment. I got a Kindle copy for next to nothing.

  24. And a big congratulations to the Hugo Award finalists! Like last year: Several works I look forward to reading, and some I’ve already enjoyed reading.

  25. Has anyone read Green Lantern: Earth One? While I’m not super into yet-another-origin-retelling, which takes Green Lantern and reimagines him (and how he found the ring) in a SF future . . . without other Earth superheroes, it sounds like? I’m not sure; DC’s confusing me by using Earth One/Earth-1 for some post-52 concept, versus the previous meaning of Earth-1.

    Anyway, the art looks pretty good and if this is really a non-superhero-universe doing a fresh take on GL, I’m a bit curious. The sample looks pretty good, but I’d love a second opinion if anyone’s read it. I used to read a lot of traditional comics, but read very little of that these days (mostly some webcomics). Thanks.

  26. Has anyone read Green Lantern: Earth One?

    I liked it a lot.

    It plays with the pieces of the GL legend in interesting ways; I expect it’d make a very good movie. But then, the co-writeer and artist is a longtime movie storyboard artist, and he knows what he’s doing.

  27. Okay, that’s twice I haven’t thought to check the box but should have. Bleah.


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