Pixel Scroll 4/29/17 Let Us Now Pixel Famous Scrolls

(1) YA AWARD NAME. Annalee Flower Horne makes a preemptive strike.

Is this just gratuitous Heinlein hatred? Dude hatred? Have I missed a news item? Or maybe I haven’t. Kevin Standlee recently wrote that if the YA Award passes the Helsinki Business meeting, then the Business Meeting can take up the issue of what its name should be.

There was a nonbinding survey  asking fans’ preferences among six names (Anansi, Lodestar, Ouroboros, Spellcaster, Tesseract, and Worldcon), but that places no limits on the Business Meeting.

(2) A REAL VIKING. Hampus Eckerman recommends, “For those Filers that will combine their visit to WorldCon with a visit to Sweden, a new Viking Museum, called Viking Life, opened this weekend. Some comments about being the only real place to see Vikings in Stockholm has already sparked a fight with the Historical Museum. The Historical Museum retorted that they had largest Viking exhibition in the world and that all authentic artifacts displayed at the Viking Museum had, in fact, been borrowed from the Historical Museum.

“But the thing that put Swedish twitter on fire was not this spat. It was the pictures of the Swedish king at the inauguration. Please enjoy a real Viking King.”

(3) HE’S THIRSTY. OK, Steve Drew is sold on going to the Worldcon.

(4) VON BRAUN’S HUGO. Bill Mullins visited a space shrine:

I was at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center today for my son’s graduation from Space Camp. After the ceremonies, we toured the museum and saw Wernher von Braun’s retro-Hugo (1954, from Boston’s Noreascon 4 in 2004) in the Best Related Work category, for his book Conquest of the Moon, co-written with Fred Whipple and Willy Ley. His office at Marshall Space Flight Center has been recreated there as a permanent exhibit, and his award is sitting on his desk.

Patrick Molloy also wrote about it here in 2012.

(5) CONTROVERSIAL EDITS. Natalie Luhrs articulates how “Failures of Empathy” are an sff community issue.

Recently, Seanan McGuire (1, 2, 3) and J.Y. Yang (thread) have talked on Twitter about copyeditors making changes which fundamentally alter the story, and not for the better. The change in question: redacting the use of the singular they—used by nonbinary characters—to whichever binary gender the copyeditor felt like substituting. This is an act of erasure and, as Yang points out in the linked thread, an act of violence.

Many nonbinary people use the singular they as their pronoun—while this is a relatively new usage, it is not incorrect (copyeditors of the world, take note). I have seen it become more widely used over the last few years and at this point anyone griping about it is basically using it as an opportunity to be a prescriptivist jerk.

…We have an empathy problem in the SFF community. These failures are more obvious when a convention dismisses the safety concerns of their female Guest of Honor in favor of their friend the serial harasser, but you can also see it at a smaller scale: World Fantasy’s initial decision to retain the H.P. Lovecraft pin and Brian McClellan suddenly deciding to tweet about how unprofessional it is to talk about your bad copyedit is when a person of color is the one talking. It’s an entire spectrum of failure, this lack of empathy.

(6) COMPANIONABLE ALIEN. ScreenCrush catches up with “Karen Gillan on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ and Nebula’s Near-Death Experience in ‘Guardians 1’”.

I think it’s fair to say that when the first Guardians came out, these were the most obscure characters to get their own Marvel movie. Now, of course, the first movie is beloved and everyone knows the characters. Did that change anything about how you guys went about making the sequel? Was there new pressure that wasn’t there before?

That was quite an interesting thing for me as well, because I was wondering if anyone was going to be feeling the pressure; like second album syndrome or something. Maybe they did and they didn’t really show it, but I didn’t because I didn’t feel I had the responsibility of the film on my shoulders. I just got to come in and play this fun character.

(7) ANCESTRY. I can’t believe a spellchecker did this – but how else would you get that typo?

(8) COMICS EVERYONE BOUGHT. You can infer these are not all that rare, right? Yahoo! News lists “The top 10 best selling comic books of all time”.

#10. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #583 – 530,000 copies sold

This comic, featuring Spidey’s encounter with then President Barack Obama, became a must-have collectible after being highlighted on news programs around the country.

#9. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) #1 – 533, 000 copies sold

After a yearlong storyline that involved Doctor Octopus posing as Spider-Man, fans were more than happy to celebrate this back-to-basics approach to the friendly neighborhood wall crawler.

(9) FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE. Here’s the moos – The Boozy Cow, a restaurant chain with a charitable foundation and donates all its profits to charity, has opened a fourth location in Scotland: “Charity restaurant chain opens fourth Scottish eatery”.

The Boozy Cow chain – launched by philanthropist Garreth Wood two years ago – already has premises in Aberdeen, Stirling and Edinburgh, has now opened a venue in Dundee.

Mr Wood also revealed that a further five charities will receive a share of the profits from The Boozy Cow chain – Hot Chocolate Trust, Mid-Lin Day Care, Dundee Woman’s Aid, Art Angel and Help for Kids.

This brings the number of good causes currently supported by the company to 18.

Last month, the organisation announced it was giving away £210,000 to charities including CHAS, The Archie Foundation and the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative in Edinburgh, with almost half a million pounds given away since the company opened its first venue in Aberdeen in 2014.

(10) DAVIS OBIT. SF Site News reports the death of Grania Davis (1943-2017) on April 28.

Author Grania Davis (b.1943) died on April 28. Davis was married to Avram Davidson for 3 years and served as his primary editor after his death. She co-authored several works with Davidson as well as writing works on her own.

(11) DEPARTMENT OF ANTIQUE COMPAINTS. Nevertheless, back in 1962, The Traveler tells Galactic Journey readers he is giving a vote of no confidence in new F&SF editor Davidson’s handiwork: “[Apr. 28, 1962] Changing of the Guard (May 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)”

I never thought the time would come that reading The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction would be the most dreaded portion of my duties…and yet, here we are.  Two issues into new Editor Avram Davidson’s tenure, it appears that the mag’s transformation from a great bastion of literary (if slightly stuffy) scientifiction is nearly complete.  The title of the digest might well be The Magazine of Droll Trifles (with wry parenthetical asides).

One or two of these in an issue, if well done, can be fine.  But when 70% of the content is story after story with no science and, at best, stream-of-consciousness whimsy, it’s a slog.  And while one could argue that last issue’s line-up comprised works picked by the prior editor, it’s clear that this month’s selections were mostly Davidson’s.

Moreover, Robert Mills (the outgone “Kindly Editor”) used to write excellent prefaces to his works, the only ones I would regularly read amongst all the digests.  Davidson’s are rambling and purple, though I do appreciate the biographical details on Burger and Aandahl this ish.


  • Born April 29, 1923 — Irvin Kirschner, filmmaker, director of The Empire Strikes Back.


International Astronomy Day

Astronomy allows us to see the history of the universe with our own eyes. The stars that twinkle as you look out on a dark, clear night may not exist right now. They existed at whatever point in history they emitted that light, which has taken millions of years to reach Earth.

(12) LATE EASTER EGG STANDING. Hey, I’d already forgotten there was one — “Explaining the mid-credits scene in Suicide Squad”. BEWARE SPOILERS.

Suicide Squad’s mid-credits scene features a meeting between Amanda Waller and billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. The conversation starts off simply enough: Waller needs help when it comes to keeping everything that happened in Midway City (and her involvement) on the down low. In order to protect herself from Enchantress’ wrath and keep her reputation in the green, Waller makes a deal with Wayne to maintain damage control surrounding the movie’s events. Of course, she has to bring something to the table to make the deal happen…

(13) EXPANSIVE. Aaron Pound reviews Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey at Dreaming About Other Worlds.

Full review: The first book in the Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes is a kind of hard-ish medium future science fiction almost Space Opera story that feels a little bit like Firefly and a little bit like a Dashiell Hammett novel. The book is full of adventure, intrigue, and excitement, but it is the kind of industrial, oil-covered adventure, intrigue, and excitement that results in broken bones, bullet holes, and dead characters. Alongside the truckers and detectives in space in the book is just enough alien weirdness to shake things up and add a bit of inhuman horror to the impersonal dangers of living in a hostile environment that will probably kill you if you make a mistake.

(14) NEWS TO SOMEBODY. Vox (the website, not the Rabid Puppy) said in its February review,, “Forget ‘white saviors’: The Great Wall is really about fighting giant lizard monsters”.

A few things you should know about The Great Wall: It’s simultaneously 400 percent more movie than most and 10 percent as much movie as most — huge, bombastic, colorful, explosive, and containing almost no story at all. It’s roughly equivalent to watching the assault-on-Mordor bits of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King for 103 minutes. It was filmed in 3D, and I ducked a few times while watching. It also made me seasick, but that’s my own damn fault for sitting too close to the screen.

(15) THE LONG VIEW. AI viewed with alarm: “Viewpoint: Is inequality about to get unimaginably worse?”. Chip Hitchcock snarks, “He probably wouldn’t have been paid if he’d just posted a link to ‘With Folded Hands’…”

Inequality goes back at least 30,000 years.

Hunter-gatherers were more equal than subsequent societies.

They had very little property, and property is a pre-requisite for long-term inequality.

But even they had hierarchies.

In the 19th and 20th Centuries, however, something changed.

Equality became a dominant value in human culture, almost all over the world. Why?

It was partly down to the rise of new ideologies such as humanism, liberalism and socialism.

(16) AND THE THIRD LITTLE MARTIAN PIG… There may be no straw or timber, but — “Scientists just discovered something awesome about the soil on Mars”.

The research, which was published in Scientific Reports, reveals that the soil on Mars is particularly well-suited to brick making. In fact, the dirt is so easily formed into bricks that building a rigid structure out of it wouldn’t require any special substance or even heat to bake them, and it’s all thanks to the same material that gives the Mars surface its reddish hue.

At first, engineers at the university were trying to figure out exactly how much additional polymer would be needed for the Mars soil to be shaped into bricks. As they gradually reduced the amount of additive used with their soil simulant they eventually realized that they didn’t need any at all. The team was able to successfully compact iron-oxide-rich Mars dirt with a flexible container which was then pressurized. The result was small, firm blobs of soil which were stable enough to be cut into brick-like shapes.

(17) SHINY. The New York Times tells where to buy “A Solid Gold Darth Vader for the Sith Who Has Everything”.

For less than the cost of a trip to Tatooine, one lucky Star Wars fan will soon be able to own a solid gold Darth Vader mask — perfect for bartering, though perhaps not so good for heavy breathing.

On Tuesday, the Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka unveiled the imposing headgear and announced that it would go on sale at the company’s flagship store in Tokyo on May the fourth (do we need to spell this out for you?) to celebrate Star Wars’ 40th Anniversary.

The price? A mere 154 million Japanese yen, or about $1.4 million. Tax included!

(18) ON ICE. This is the lede of an article by Helen Brown in the April 22 Financial Times (behind a paywall.)

A survey recently found that the most popular song among prison inmates in the UK was ‘Let it Go,’ the big number from Disney’s 2013 blockbuster Frozen.

Despite the incongruity of old lags carrolling along to a song more easily associated with preschoolers dressed as animated princesses, anyone alive to the emotional truths of the film would not be surprised to find it resonating with prisoners struggling to own the guilt of the past and move on…..

(19) AI SCRIPTWRITER RETURNS. “It’s No Game–A Sci-Fi Short Film Starring David Hasselhoff” is a commentary on the forthcoming writer’s strike, featuring David hasselhoff as an android, that explains what happens when writers are replaced by the Golden-Age-Ophile and the Sorkinator.

 [Thanks to Dawn Incognito, Martin Morse Wooster, Bill Mullins, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to Fie 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]

Update: Corrected item one to the name Annalee Flower Horne. (Not Newitz, as I mistakenly wrote to begin with.) Apologies to all concerned.

115 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/29/17 Let Us Now Pixel Famous Scrolls

  1. My thanks to those of you who’ve shared your stories. I’m so sorry you went through that, and I hope that things are much better for you now.

    This is why I get so angry when, in response to anti-bullying efforts, people say, “Oh they’re just being big babies, they just need to suck it up and get over it. It’s just part of life. I managed to deal with it just fine.”

    The people who say this don’t understand (or don’t care) that the acts of harassment, torment, and cruelty are often indelibly etched in the recipient’s memory, and that 10, 20, or even more decades later, a random thing seen or heard can still trigger them into association with a memory of an event and cause them to re-live the pain of it. Someone who experienced a lot of these events may be on an infinite loop of continually re-living them.

  2. @Dawn Incognito – I guess where I’m coming from is that I believe emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse are types of violence. And possibly the whole thing would have been clearer if J.Y. Yang had used that phrasing as well. Damn you Twitter!

    Yeah, the character limits aren’t so great for nuance.

    I think we’re all quite individual in what causes us the most pain. I shrug off words, because in almost every instance in my life, harsh words haven’t bothered me. Being beaten up has left its mark in visible and invisible scars.

    That does not mean that someone else isn’t impacted far more by cruel words than I will ever be by physical violence.

    For everyone who has experienced violence of whatever kind (I remain convinced that it isn’t entirely random, that there are people in the world who are fiendishly clever in somehow discerning what will be the worst and act accordingly), I’m sorry you have had this happen. You didn’t deserve it.

  3. I guess that before the YA band was devised, writers for teenagers might have been known as ‘children’s writers’, because there was no better word for them.

    Probably, yes.

    The term they used for the books was “juveniles,” as you know, but “juvenile writer” carries rather different connotations.

    But “juveniles” weren’t merely children’s books, they were the upper range of children’s books. The term “juvenile” today comes off as an insult, but back then, a juvenile delinquent was assumed to be a teenager, and Andy Hardy was a juvenile role. Juveniles were people who had not yet reached the age of majority, and they were lumped in with children in general.

    There was a cultural shift going on, and “teenager” was rapidly becoming a marketing category, but the fields still most likely to use the term “juvenile” were fields like publishing, theater and the law, which tended to be stodgy and slow to adopt changing terminology.

    So juvenile fiction was considered part of children’s fiction, but it was a specific part. That still holds today — YA books at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are done under the (just-gutted) Books for Young Readers division, YA authors John Green and Ransom Riggs are part of Dutton’s children’s list, and so on. So in a lot of ways, “Young Adult” is a rebranding of “juvenile,” as publishers noticed that teenagers didn’t want to buy/read/listen to stuff that was labeled “for children.” They wanted to be thought of as adults, so Young Adult was a friendlier label, one aimed at the teens rather than their parents. [There’s more to it than that — the content of books aimed at teens was maturing, too, and there was a various amount of fiddling with where the range started and ended — but that covers a lot of it.]

    Sorry, I seem to have fallen into a screed of More Than Anyone Wanted To Know. Shorter Answer: Yeah, Heinlein would have been considered a children’s writer in the 1950s, because books aimed at teens were considered children’s books. Today, if he were alive and writing books aimed at the same age-range, he’d be edited and published out to the children’s division, but the books would be called “young adult” so as not to actually be labeled books for children.

  4. Kurt, I can’t speak for anyone else, of course, but that sort of impromptu info dump is a big part of why I keep coming back here.

  5. @Hampus Eckerman

    I have a broken nose after being headbutted. I also have been punched a few times. But the words that were screamed after me because of my sexual orientation are the ones I remember most vividly and are those that hurt the most.

    I’ve only been physically assaulted twice (almost lost a tooth once), and I remember those as extremely traumatic at the time, but I don’t remember them that way anymore. I guess I’ve healed from that.

    But the one that still hurts is the guy who called me “queer” and told me how much it disgusted him. He had been my best friend the day before.

    That said, I still think it’s a mistake to call the mere use of words “violence.” Could I claim that every use of “queer” is violence against me? It does hurt. I wish people wouldn’t do it. But I wouldn’t dream of trying to make a formal complaint about it–much less equating it to violence.

  6. @Dawn Incognito

    I guess where I’m coming from is that I believe emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse are types of violence. And possibly the whole thing would have been clearer if J.Y. Yang had used that phrasing as well. Damn you Twitter!

    I agree with you. I’ve been sexually abused, verbally abused, economically abused, and called the cops when my dad physically abused my mom. I’ve been slapped across the face, kicked, locked in my locker.

    When reading books containing my triggers without warning where abuse/murder/slavery is used as a way to motivate the protagonist, make the world gritty, show how evil the villain is I feel slapped in the face or punched in the stomach. I feel physical pain as well as panic attacks and suicidal thoughts all part of my PTSD.

    Our society determines violence as only physical because of male biases. The types of abuse used against women and minorities isn’t considered violence because it doesn’t match the “male” definition. It allows us to downplay most abuse as “not real abuse”. We need to change our definitions if we are going to change how society deals with the range of abuse.

    My heart goes out to all the filers who have been abused in one way or another.

  7. @John Mark Ockerbloom: I’m partial to the tesseract-representation that is two equal-size wireframe cubes interlocked at a corner (making all the corner-to-corner connections parallel instead of converging); however, I’m wavering on whether it would work better on a trophy base — I don’t know whether it would drag more people’s eyes or just look like a mess.

    @OGH: was “Fie 770” (in the end credits) intentional?

  8. Chip Hitchcock: @OGH: was “Fie 770” (in the end credits) intentional?

    No. However, it may be a Freudian slip in response to some things written in yesterday’s comments…

  9. Calling this deliberate erasure violence is no different than calling it a slap in the face, which they also did. The latter is a metaphor. The former could also be seen that way. But personally, I would argue that there are other forms of violence than physical violence, and that is what they were talking about.

    ETA: I swear I refreshed the screen before writing this, but somehow it didn’t take. Please forgive for responding to comments a page or two back. (Arrgh)

  10. “That said, I still think it’s a mistake to call the mere use of words “violence.””

    I do think so too, but it is not a big hang up for me as I can understand where the feelings are coming from. Too many issues get boggered down by a wish to instead discuss semantics or definitions. If I can understand what a person means, I’m happy with that and do not need to go further.

  11. Kurt Busiek: Thanks, that’s helpful. It struck me afterwards that ‘teenager’ is a very broad term (it arises, of course, by a linguistic accident), and so a class of books which is conceived of as ‘for teenagers’ will include a great variety of things. It will include both books seen as suitable for thirteen or fourteen year-olds – which I guess would comfortably have fitted at the top of the old children’s range – and also books for sixteen or seventeen year-olds, which I think wouldn’t. And the current YA band does seem to include both books that come out of the old children’s tradition but have been reclassified, and books that were clearly written specifically to be YA and could not exist without that band, including both Twilight and The Hunger Games and their respective offspring.

    This does have the rather odd consequence that, if a definite line is drawn at 12 or 13, one has to decide which side of it a book belongs on, when there may be no clear answer to that in terms of content – in principle, there’s no reason why eleven year-olds and thirteen year-olds should not like the same books. And in fact, quite a lot of books do still float across the border, some floating across once and settling on the other side, some continuing to float back and forth.

  12. in principle, there’s no reason why eleven year-olds and thirteen year-olds should not like the same books

    Which is why it’s usually presented as a targeted age range, rather than a strict division.

    Many people read books for which they’re not the target audience (I sure do!). But knowing the target audience helps libraries, bookstores, parents and kids find appropriate books — the kid who reads above her age level can just look in that section, rather than leave publishers and booksellers unable to categorize the books because age parameters, like genre borders, are inherently fuzzy.

  13. Sorry for the late response, but my power went out Saturday evening and I only got my cable internet service back a few hours ago – so I’m still catching up.

    @Greg: “But the one that still hurts is the guy who called me “queer” and told me how much it disgusted him. He had been my best friend the day before.”

    Something similar happened to me rather recently, with an added twist: I’m straight, but in school I was frequently accused of and persecuted for being gay.

    Thus, when one now-former friend posted that something was “SO GAY” on Twitter, I replied with a query as to whether she was saying that in a defamatory or celebratory fashion; it was not clear from the tweet. Upon receiving the reply that it was celebratory, I responded that it might be wise to be careful in the future, as such unclear usage can be harmful.

    A few minutes later, that person’s friend’s mother was in my DMs telling me to knock it off, that they’re reclaiming the terminology, and I’ve got no right to “police their language,” but I should unfollow instead. (I wasn’t following to begin with; I saw the tweet because I was following both her and her teenage kid, and the kid retweeted it.) I replied to her – someone I’d previously admired and looked up to – with a brief account of my own experience, that the usage was hurtful to me specifically as opposed to being an abstract thought experiment, but that didn’t matter. She waved that away, saying that Sticking Up For Her Kid took precedence over everything else, and how dare I try to guilt-trip her for it. That’s the defense every enabling parent of a bully uses, and when I said as much, she summarily blocked me.

    In my case, at least, it isn’t the word that hurts. It’s the explicit statement that it’s okay for her, her kid, and their friend to be inconsiderate, because they’re always right and other people’s feelings don’t matter.

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