Pixel Scroll 3/17/16 The Weirdscroll of Puppygeddon

(1) SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS WHO WERE NEVER DRUNK ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY. Here are a few of the genre’s known teetotalers – doubtless there are others…

Asimov was a teetotaler in later life, mainly because in all of his experiences with drinking alcoholic beverages, just one or two drinks were sufficient to get him drunk. On the day he passed the oral examination for his Ph.D., he drank five Manhattans in celebration, and his friends had to carry him back to school and try to sober him up. His wife told him that he spent that entire night in bed giggling every once in a while and saying “Doctor Asimov”.

(2) OB IRISH. For a more substantial tribute to St. Patrick’s Day, we recommend James H. Burns’ tribute to Disney’s Darby O’Gill movie — “And A Moonbeam To Charm You”.

(3) FANHISTORY OF GREATER IRELAND. David Langford (coincidentally) chose St. Patrick’s Day to trumpet the forthcoming update of Rob Hansen’s history of UK fandom.

Wearing my Ansible Editions hat, I’ve been copyediting the final sections of Rob Hansen’s expanded (though not, as he says, extended), corrected and source-noted THEN: A HISTORY OF UK FANDOM 1930-1980. The final word count is around 211,000, about 20% more than the original. Our planned trade paperback is up to 410 pages, which will grow a bit more when the awaited 1970s fan mugshots go in (dread chore). To be published … Summer 2016?

(4) RECOMMENDED GREEN READING. At the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, “5 Fantasy Novels That Go Full Emerald Isle” not only gives you Ireland but the magic number 5!

Ireland isn’t just a country, it’s a repository of myth and legend that has been mined by genre writers for decades. Even today, Ireland seems to be bursting with magical energies that other countries couldn’t hope to match—I mean, who would imagine an epic fantasy set in the wilds of New Jersey? Naturally, that means that not only have some of the best works of fantasy ever written taken inspiration from Irish history, but several are explicitly in Ireland. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are a five fantasy novels exploring the Emerald Isle.

The Book of Kells, by R.A. MacAvoy As with all of MacAvoy’s novels, The Book of Kells is difficult to pin down. Time travel, ancient Ireland, Viking invasions, and a saint or goddess meddling in mortal affairs? You’ll find all of it here, as an accidental confluence of ancient music and the tracing of an ages-old pattern by a modern-day artist transports first a screaming young woman from the past into the artist’s bedroom, then the woman, the artist, and a companion back in time a thousand years, into a medieval Ireland grounded in historical fact—which doesn’t lessen the fantastical nature of the ensuing adventures. It might lack wizards and dragons, but that doesn’t make it any less fun, and part of that is down to exploring a raw, roiling Ireland of old, populated by characters who act intelligently, considering (one even nips back to the modern day in order to convert all his cash into material that would be valuable in the tenth century)…

(5) MOVIE MAKING TECHNOLOGY. Lucid Dreams of Time is a short from Disney’s Zurich research division (and yes, Disney has an alliance with the Gnomes of Zurich) which is a time travel story but also a way of showcasing new Disney technologies.

The film portrays a moment of transition, from life to afterlife, with the story being told from three different perspectives – a mother, her son, and the messenger who can alter time. Simona and her son Gabriel travel through three realms – a present moment, supernatural world and a lucid dream – to discover purpose after a series of events change their lives forever. Through an afterlife mirror, Simona views the last few minutes of life with her son. Later, as Gabriel falls asleep, Simona receives a small gift from the Messenger – to talk to her son for exactly one minute. As the sands of time quickly run out, she appears to Gabriel in his dream to deliver a message that he will never forget.


(7) SILICON VALLEY COMIC CON. Steve Wozniak has brought a Comi Con to Silicon Valley reports smofnews. The Los Angeles Times previews his plans in “Silicon Valley Comic Con comes with an extra dose of tech”.

Kicking off Friday at the San Jose Convention Center, the inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con will bring the internationally recognized comic, science fiction, fantasy and video gaming convention to the Bay Area.

Although the event will be smaller than the flagship San Diego Comic-Con, which last year drew nearly 170,000 attendees (the three-day Silicon Valley event is expected to draw 30,000 per day, with many attendees attending multiple days), Steve Wozniak, the event’s host and pioneer of the personal computer, said it would be for the same audience.

“It’s for people who are local who haven’t been able to get to the San Diego one,” said Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs. “It’ll be a full Comic Con in terms of the sorts and booths, presentations and celebrities that we have.”

The key difference? There will be more technology — the kind that “carries over into pop culture,” Wozniak said — and a greater focus on science fiction.

The convention will have a dedicated virtual reality zone where attendees will be able to play with the latest VR gadgets, and there will also be science-driven panels, such as one about whether artificial intelligence or “super babies” will be the greatest threat to humankind.

But Wozniak made clear that Silicon Valley Comic Con is “not just a tech conference.”

The event will also feature a “Back to the Future” cast reunion, a presentation by actor William Shatner, appearances by “Mythbusters” co-host Adam Savage and science fiction authors and artists.

“I wanted to be a part of Silicon Valley Comic Con because for me this show highlights what the Valley has meant to science, technology and innovation and encapsulates what ‘Back to the Future’ is about,” said Christopher Lloyd, one of the film’s stars.

(8) ERIN ON HUGOS. If you want to know what Alexandra Erin’s thinking about Hugo nominating season, check out Blue Author Is About To Write.

I haven’t been talking about the Sad and Rabid Puppies much this year because the Hugo Awards are going to happen every year and I don’t want that to be my life, but I understand they’re still at it, still spinning the same narratives, still spreading the same propaganda, still appealing to the biases and suspicions of the biased and the suspicious. I don’t know how much impact they’ll have.

For nominations, there are three possibilities: they’ll have another walk in the park, their machinations will be shut out entirely, or they’ll have some impact but not be able to seize as total control as they did last year. I think if everybody who was mobilized to get involved and vote on conscience and merits rather than politics stays involved, their ability to unduly influence the process will be nullified, but that depends on a big if.

My name has come up in a few circles as a possible nominee. By that I mean, I know that some people have nominated me, but that’s not the same as making it onto the ballot, even without any puppies piddling in the box. In truth, it is an honor just to be nominated, even if I don’t make the short list. It is an honor to have my name being mentioned in conjunction with some of the giants of the field…..

(9) THE EARLY RETURNS. Here are some reactions to the Sad Puppies 4 list, which was posted today.

The G at Nerds of a Feather

Given last year’s caustic battle over the Hugo Awards, as well as the generally caustic nature of U.S. politics in 2016, you might be forgiven for assuming that the 2016 Hugo Awards would be yet another battleground in the never-ending (and endlessly tiresome) culture wars. Only it isn’t looking that way, in part because the Sad Puppies have followed up last year’s politically partisan and highly divisive slate with a longlist of recommendations that…isn’t partisan or divisive at all.

Rachael Acks


Eric Franklin


Brian Niemeier



It may have been a mistake to post a recommended reading list with probably over a million words of content two weeks before nominations close.  Unless it was a clever trick to say “aha!  Sad Puppies was about the discussion, not the final list!” in which case, well played.  That means that those who came over from places like File770 to leave comments and votes are now Sad Puppies.

Without the synergy between Sads & Rabids this year, I think we’ll see less of a direct impact this time around, but I think that it gives a pretty good look at how the Hugo noms would’ve shaken out with or without the Puppies. Plus, it may give the statisticians out there a better look at just how much pull Vox has.  There was a lot of talk last year that there were actually only a handful of Sad Puppies and the 500 or so Vile Faceless Minions were the deciding factor.

And where the list was posted, Mad Genius Club commenters have been submitting a large number of copyedits and arithmetic corrections.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP.]

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224 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/17/16 The Weirdscroll of Puppygeddon

  1. Alastair Reynolds is not happy that SLOW BULLETS is on the Puppies Not-A-Slate and has asked to be removed from such.

    The really interesting thing about that post isn’t the post itself, but Snidely Whiplash’s comment: “So, will you post on your book pages on Amazon this:
    “I hate conservatives so much I would rather you not buy my books”? Cause that’s what you’re saying here.

    Given all of the pixels various Pups have spilled angrily decrying any statement made that the Puppies are a conservative movement, this seems like a quite interesting conflation. Reynolds asks not to be associated with the Pups, and within a few hours a Pup shows up to say that this must mean he hates conservatives. Just more evidence that the Pups lie so much that they can’t keep their story straight.

  2. Aaron
    Welll… could also mean they don’t all see themselves the same way. I don’t say it’s more likely than your hypothesis, mind.

  3. @David Stever

    Best line ever from Mork & Mindy:

    I should have known he was evil when he laughed at Old Yeller

  4. I’m not much of a Jerry Lewis fan. I think his best movie is Funny Bones (which benefits from having Oliver Platt and Lee Evans as well).

    Regarding “Baby Got Back”, somebody pointed out that it passes the Bechdel-Wallace test.

    I’ve read in various places that root beer/sarsaparilla is a quintessentially American flavor and folks from elsewhere in the world tend not to be fond of it. Possibly because sassafras is from the Americas, so the flavor profile is unfamiliar to people who grew up elsewhere? One joke I’ve read is that “To like peanut butter, you have to have grown up in the US. To like root beer, your parents have to have grown up in the US.”

    On the topic of vegetarian pizza, “broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots” sounds questionable, but I’ve had roasted cauliflower on pizza and it was outstanding (white pizza with roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic, arugula, and fresh ricotta — so good). Roasted broccoli would probably be good too; I think you’d want a bright, zesty sauce to help balance the deep flavor it develops while roasting. Of course, as a Californian my pizza judgment is apparently suspect. The first time I made pizza for my NYC-born-and-raised husband (with my favorite toppings: zucchini and chèvre) he took a bite, said “… you really are a Californian, aren’t you?” and then muttered under his breath about “abominations against the pizza gods” for the rest of the meal.

  5. I’ve made pizza with spinach or kale or ‘country greens’ and mushrooms (and cheese, because not pizza without cheese). I usually let the dough rise a bit before decorating it with the veggies, so ti’s semi-thick crust.

    If you make your own, try it with real water-buffalo mozzarella some time (I think it’s ‘fior di latte’ in Italian).

  6. A DUFF winner from Australia visited HaRoSFA back in the 80s, and he had been (as he would put it) subjected to root beer, and still couldn’t get over the flavor, which he compared to liniment. To each his own! Bringing the threads together, I will probably be consuming some 50 ml of root-beer flavored whiskey soon, to go with my sunflower seed feast. (99¢ a bottle at Georgetown Liquors, which always amuses me because it makes me think of the Kricfalusi character “George Liquor.”)

  7. For my part, my grandparents grew up in the USA and I don’t like root beer. Nasty medicinal-tasting stuff. Maybe I just haven’t had the really good stuff — until I attended ConJosé, I thought I didn’t like Scotch whiskey.

  8. I like root beer fine, but I generally won’t seek it out. Though I have to say that root beer floats (root beer poured over vanilla icecream in a glass) are sublime.

    My grandmother grew up very poor, and she told me once that she despised root beer because it tasted just like the tea that was cheap and readily available to her family growing up (it was unclear to me whether their tea was made from sarsaparilla or sassafras — the latter seeming more likely in terms of common availability).

  9. When I was a kid, my dad would make home-made rootbeer (from commercial extract rather than scratch, but still with the mixing and bottling and the taste of actual yeast). It gives me a rather strong association of nostalgia, although I stopped drinking sodas a couple decades ago. (I can’t stand any of the available artificial sweeteners and I made a health choice to cut out sugar-based drinks.) I’ve sometimes had thoughts of learning to brew it from scratch–with all the tinkering and fiddling with the various components that would require–and making the alcoholic version. But it’s just never been a high enough priority.

  10. I don’t like root beer, and my family has been in the States for many generations (the most recent immigrant came over in 1812 or thereabouts). But tastes vary. Just because many Americans don’t like it doesn’t mean most people who like it aren’t American.

    I didn’t like regular beer, either, until one very warm Spring day after I had marched in Washington DC with the very liberal Baptist church I was then attending. I was parched and headachy. The preacher (a crewcutted former marine) had taken some sturdy folks to the liquor store and brought back cases of cold beer (probably something dreadful like Budweiser) for the bus home to NYC. One of the other people on the bus solicitously handed me a can and said I might feel better if I drank it. Well! Medically speaking I don’t know why it worked, but it tasted just like nectar from heaven, and I did feel ever so much better. And that’s how I acquired my taste for beer. Thank you, Howard Moody, wherever you are!

  11. Our Aussie choir director (don’t ask me how he ended up in a small town in southern Ohio) likes root beer quite well. He’s recently developed a taste for the alcoholic version that’s been popular recently.

    Used to be when I worked at the the A-plant (aka the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant), the engineering group I was in would order lunch from a pizza place on Fridays. During Lent I’d order what I called a compost heap pizza – had every vegetable they offered on it except green pepper. A mushroom-onion-black olive-green olive-tomato chunk-banana pepper pizza.

  12. Oh! I do have a root beer story, which shows that some in my family did like it. My father tells that when he was a teen, he and his nearest older brother got root beer making kits, and brewed up a bunch of root beer. They put them into reused bottles and corked them, and put them in the pantry to cure, I guess. Then they forgot all about them and went away to the mountains for the summer with the family, leaving the root beer in a sultry un-air-conditioned unattended house. You can imagine what happened. When they got home In the Fall, they found exploded over-fermented root beer all over the pantry. Oops! They got in trouble, of course, and had to clean it all up, but Dad says there were a couple of unexploded bottles which they managed to sneak out under their mother’s nose, and they enjoyed them very much.

  13. a root beer story

    My mother had a similar one involving her father’s home-made ginger ale. (Went away on vacation, and came home to bottles that had blown open.)

    I’m one who does drink root beer, and a root beer float in hot weather is very tasty. (7-Up with citrus-flavored sherbet is a treat.)

  14. a root beer story

    My first root beer was from A&W which was one of, if not actually, the first of the fast food franchises in Malaysia. Laksas, pot stickers, sweet & sour pork were boring everyday food. Root beer floats & Coney Island dogs & shoestring fries? Those were magnetically attractive exotic treats.

  15. Kip W on March 19, 2016 at 11:38 am said:
    Welll… could also mean they don’t all see themselves the same way. I don’t say it’s more likely than your hypothesis, mind.

    That many of the fans at Mad Genius are politically conservative doesn’t make Sad Puppies a conservative political movement. It makes Sad Puppies a drive to increase participation in the Hugos that is hosted at a popular website where many, not all, of the blog community consider themselves conservative or libertarian.

    That poster objected because it seemed offensive that Reynolds appears to be disassociating himself from his own fans and their rec list because he doesn’t like their politics. A lot of other authors have complained about the allegedly uniformly objectionable politics of “the puppies.” Since Reynolds initially didn’t state his reason for dissociating himself from Sad Puppies, his motive wasn’t clear.

    He followed up by saying he doesn’t object to anyone’s political beliefs. He objects to any campaign to “stuff the Hugo nominations,” whether it is done by Mad Genius Club, the Guardian, or anybody else.

    But “stuff the Hugo nominations” is not well defined. Kate Paulk didn’t tell anyone to vote for those works. She actually pointed out she hasn’t had time to read most of them herself. So where’s the stuffing, exactly? If “here are some eligible things, and if you like them, consider nominating them” is stuffing, that’s what Scalzi et al. have done for years. You can’t have it both ways. Either Hugo campaigning should be considered legitimate, or it shouldn’t. (I wonder if anyone can guess what I think.)

    On the other hand, Mike Glyer has staked out a different position from mine. He has an interesting working definition of “slating”: a combination of a rec list and a political call to action.

    It isn’t clear whether Mike’s definition is what Reynolds objected to or not.

  16. Brian Z.: He followed up by saying he doesn’t object to anyone’s political beliefs. He objects to any campaign to “stuff the Hugo nominations,” whether it is done by Mad Genius Club, the Guardian, or anybody else. But “stuff the Hugo nominations” is not well defined. Kate Paulk didn’t tell anyone to vote for those works. She actually pointed out she hasn’t had time to read most of them herself. So where’s the stuffing, exactly?

    The stuffing occurred last year (and to a lesser extent, the two years before). No matter how much they try to pretend otherwise, the Sad Puppies “brand” is now permanently associated with that stuffing — and Reynolds is perfectly within reason to say that he doesn’t want anything to do with the Sad Puppies brand.

  17. “That many of the fans at Mad Genius are politically conservative doesn’t make Sad Puppies a conservative political movement. It makes Sad Puppies a drive to increase participation in the Hugos that is hosted at a popular website where many, not all, of the blog community consider themselves conservative or libertarian.”

    I’ve found that the US definition of “libertarian” basically is a neoconservative who is more open to sex and drugs. I think a better description would be to call Sad Puppies a rightwing movement.

    “That poster objected because it seemed offensive that Reynolds appears to be disassociating himself from his own fans and their rec list because he doesn’t like their politics.”

    That is of course a total lie. Reynolds brief post does not mention politics in any way. He mentions “last years antics” which is about behaviour, not politics.

  18. That poster objected because it seemed offensive that Reynolds appears to be disassociating himself from his own fans and their rec list because he doesn’t like their politics.

    The only people who have introduced politics into that discussion have been Pups commenting on Reynolds’ post. He doesn’t want to be part of their brand and cites the actual actions of Pups as his reason, and in response, they claim he hates conservatives and say they will never buy his books again, not because of the quality of the works, but because he didn’t salute when the Puppy flag was run up.

  19. @Brian Z: You and that poster clearly have equally poor reading comprehension.

    Direct from Reynolds’s blog (again!)

    I was away for a few days without internet access and discovered when I returned that my novella “Slow Bullets” has been included on the “SP4” Sad Puppies list for Hugo nominators.

    At this point it’s of no concern to me whether this is a slate or a set of recommendations. Given the taint left by last year’s antics, I don’t care for any work of mine to be associated with any list curated by the Sad Puppies.

    The list was announced at Kate Paulk’s website Madgeniusclub.com. Late last night I left a comment asking – politely, I hope – for the story to be removed, but after I checked the site in the morning I couldn’t find my comment and the story was still listed. I’ve tried to leave another comment to the same effect.

    Where does Reynolds mention politics? He also in fact explicitly mentions he doesn’t care if it’s a slate or a rec list. He does not want to be associated with the puppies because of their antics of last year. It’s pretty goddamn clear why he doesn’t want to be associated with the Sad Puppies in any way.

    Because of their antics last year!

  20. FWiW, Reynolds’ (2nd) request for his story to be removed from SP4 just got out of moderation at MGC.


    I tried to leave a comment here last night asking for my novella to be removed from the list, but I don’t see any sign of it this morning. I’d appreciate it if my story could be removed.

    kind regards,


    Fairly straightforward, and polite. It’ll be utterly uninteresting to see how the perpetually offended take offence at this.

  21. I can’t even.

    Yeah. The Pups don’t seem to realize that every time they post something like that, they just make it clear why authors like Valente don’t want to be associated with their brand. Like I’ve always said, the worst thing that can happen to the Pups’ reputations is that people will listen to the things they say or read the things they write.

  22. @Dawn Incognito
    The real world stranger than fiction

    Raises my mug of hot cider
    To world peace
    Back to reading – see Goodreads I’m bouncing between a number of books LOL

  23. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 3/24/16 The Game-Players of Bitin’ | File 770

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