Pixel Scroll 5/18/18 And Then The Pixels Began

(1) #2018NEBULAS. More from Grandmaster Peter S. Beagle’s reception.


(2) #2018NEBULAS PANEL LIVETWEET. All summed up here: “Thread by @sfwa: ‘Hello ! Panel live tweet starts NOW, with “How to fail gracefully,” with Michael Underwood, Carrie DiRisio, Vanessa Rose Phin, […]’”

(3) #2018NEBULAS LIVESTREAM. Really?

(4) SF EXHIBIT. Six Pasadena museums will open their doors on May 20, including the Pasadena Museum of History — “Free Day: 2018 Museums of the Arroyo Day at PMH”. Guess what you can see for free…

At PMH, delve into the worlds of science fiction in the multifaceted exhibition, Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science, Fiction, & Southern California. The exhibit explores how the literary genre interacted with the advances of science, the changes in technology, and shifts in American society during five pivotal decades, the 1930s to the 1980s. Visitors will enjoy a fantastic array of vintage costumes and movie props, fantasy art and illustrations, original manuscripts, robotic toys, and fan gear.

(5) F&SF. Galactic Journey’s time traveler Gideon Marcus experienced an especially good day in 1963 — “[May 18, 1963] (June 1963 Fantasy and Science Fiction)”

Every so often, you get a perfect confluence of events that makes life absolutely rosy.  In Birmingham, Alabama, the segregationist forces have caved in to the boycott and marching efforts of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  Two days ago, astronaut Gordo Cooper completed a day-and-a-half in orbit, putting America within spitting distance of the Russians in the Space Race.  And this month, Avram Davidson has turned out their first superlative issue of F&SF since he took the editorial helm last year….

(6) ETERNAL FLAME. Michael Moorcock tells why Fahrenheit 451 endures: “The Truth of Ray Bradbury’s Prophetic Vision” at LitHub.

In the late 1960s my friend J. G. Ballard phoned me full of outrage. Feeling weighed down by the bad prose cluttering his study, he had dug a pit in his back garden and thrown his review copies in, splashing them with a little petrol. But they proved harder to burn than he thought, so he put one in the kitchen oven, which had a suitable thermometer, to test the igniting heat of book paper. “Bradbury was wrong!” he complained. “Fahrenheit 451 isn’t the temperature at which book paper burns!” But, I asked, hadn’t Bradbury phoned the Los Angeles Fire Department to get the temperature right?

“Well, they’re wrong, too!” announced Ballard, who admired Bradbury and whose own early Vermilion Sands stories echo Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Ray Bradbury, he said, had shown him that science ?ction was worth writing.

…Although Bradbury obviously held up a mirror to the world so that it might see itself the better, I believe him when he claims that he was not setting out to do what Orwell did in 1984, nor even what Pohl and Kornbluth did in a later Galaxy serial “The Space Merchants.” Rather, like Philip K. Dick, he let his excellent instincts have their way. They told him what to put in while his taste told him what to leave out. He was doing what he had always done by letting the resonances in his own imagination determine the kind of story he told: Fahrenheit 451 remains as readable as when it was written, some sixty-odd years ago, thanks to Bradbury’s almost psychic sense of how the world works.


  • May 18, 1962The Twilight Zone aired “I Sing The Body Electric,” an episode based on a story by the legendary Ray Bradbury. This served as the thirty-fifth episode for the program’s third season.

(8) HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Steven H Silver celebrates Jonathan Maberry’s natal day in his Black Gate column: “Birthday Reviews: Jonathan Maberry’s ‘Red Dreams’”.

Maberry won the 2007 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel for Ghost Road Blues, which was also nominated for Best Novel. The next year he won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Nonfiction with David F. Kramer for their book The Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange & Downright Bizarre. In 2012, he won the Bram Stoker for Best Young Adult Novel for Dust & Decay, and again the following year for Flesh & Bone. In 2015, he shared a Bram Stoker Award for Best Graphic Novel with Tyler Crook for Bad Blood.

(9) SEND FOR MORE CANDLES. And Tor.com coincidentally (not) reposted Elizabeth Bear’s tribute “The Perfect Chaotic Worlds of Diane Duane on Duane’s birthday.

In all her genres, Diane Duane is one of my favorite writers.

She spreads her talents around, too. She writes in multiple genres and forms—scripts to novels, tie-ins to original fiction, young adult urban fantasy to historical fantasy to science fiction to second-world fantasy. And whether she’s writing Y.A., as with her Young Wizards series, or Star Trek media tie-ins, she always brings an inimitable playful voice and a startling sense of “Yes; that’s right; that’s just like people.” to her work.

(10) TESS SEES ITS FIRST LIGHT. Mashable headline: “First photo from NASA’s planet-hunting TESS satellite is full of stars”. The latest exoplanet-hunting satellite has begun opening it’s “eyes” and taken its first photos. Though still undergoing shakeout tests, these first photos from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite are nonetheless spectacular.

A new NASA telescope, sailing toward its assigned orbit, took a moment to look around before it starts its ultimate mission: searching the galaxy for alien planets.

NASA’s TESS spacecraft — short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — beamed home one of its first photos taken from space, and it’s a doozy.

The photo, which effectively amounts to a test of one of the satellite’s four cameras, contains more than 200,000 stars, NASA said.

But that’s only a fraction of the number of stars it will eventually study in order to find alien worlds out there circling them.

(11) NOT DEAD YET? ThinkProgress says a climate science NASA mission may not be completely dead. Time to visit Miracle Max: “Critical NASA program cut by Trump re-introduced in latest budget”.

The House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for overseeing NASA, voted on Thursday to approve $10 million in funding for a “climate monitoring system” intended to help the agency better “understand the major factors driving short and long term climate change.” In a unanimous vote, lawmakers gave the green light to an amendment in a 2019 spending bill mandating that NASA fund such a system, Science first reported Thursday.

…That system’s description sounds nearly identical to the Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10 million-per-year program established to measure carbon dioxide and methane using satellite technology and similar mechanisms. The CMS has played a crucial role in the study of greenhouse gases, but last week the Trump administration confirmed that the program had ended after its funding was cut from the 2018 budget passed in March.

Now, it appears the CMS might be back from the dead — in everything but name.  The $62 billion 2019 CJS Appropriations bill approved on Thursday extends to a number of departments, including the Justice Department and numerous science-linked agencies, NASA among them.

“This bill invests our hard-earned tax dollars into the safety and security of our nation,” said Culberson [(R-TX), chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee.], who went on to detail various elements within the legislation.

(12) WINNING WWII AGAIN. Cnet reports “Steven Spielberg making a DC movie, punching Nazis again”.

Fresh from squeezing Batman and other DC comics cameos into Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg is now taking on the real thing. The legendary director is set to make a movie based on DC’s fighter ace Blackhawk.

Like DC’s smash hit Wonder Woman, and Spielberg’s Indiana Jones movies, Blackhawk is a retro wartime story, this time about a squadron of aerial adventurers battling Nazis and supervillains in World War II. Blackhawk was created in 1941 by Bob Powell, Chuck Cuidera and comic book legend Will Eisner.

(13) VULCAN DINOS ON EARTH. Popular Science realizes these creatures can only come from one place – and it’s not Earth — “Green bones, green hearts, can’t lose: these lizards survive with toxic green blood”.

Several species of New Guinea lizards seem to be from Vulcan, what with having green blood and all. But unlike Mr. Spock, their blood isn’t based on copper… they’ve evolved to tolerate a blood breakdown produce called biliverdin (which marks both jaundice and the sometimes spectacular green color of a bruise) at levels that would be fatal to a human.

In the forests of New Guinea, lizards scurry around with green bones, green hearts, green tongues, and green blood. At least six species share this enigmatic trait, which didn’t originate from one bizarre mutation but evolved four different times, according to new research in Science Advances.

These lizards have green insides because their bile carries super high levels of a deadly compound called biliverdin, the product of old red blood cells. People make the same pigment—you can see it when you get a gnarly, green-tinged bruise—but our livers filter it from our blood. Trace amounts of biliverdin cause jaundice, a disease common in infants and adults with liver failure. The levels found in these lizards would kill us. But for these lizards, well, it sure is easy being green.

(14) MAKE EVERY MOVIE A DEADPOOL SEQUEL. Adweek found out how to do it: “Here’s the Story Behind Deadpool’s Incredible Blu-ray Takeover at Walmart”.

When a display of Blu-rays, with each covered photobombed by Deadpool, popped up this week at Walmarts across the country, we had more questions that we had answers.

Who had created this amazing in-store activation, and how did such a sweeping takeover—entailing new, customized cover sleeves for The Terminator, Predator, Office Space, Fight Club and many more—come about?

Well, now we know. The short answer is that it was a collaboration between the in-house teams at Fox Home Entertainment and Los Angeles creative agency Neuron Syndicate, which designed the covers….

(15) CYBORGASM. Stephen Colbert reviews the latest news about robots in a Late Show comedy segment.

Google demonstrated its new Google Duplex, an A.I. assistant that can have realistic conversations with humans. But what happens when they talk to each other?


(16) REAL STINKERS. The finalists in the 2018 Lyttle Lytton Contest, which seeks the worst first sentence ever, have been posted. This year’s winner of the “found division” is:

The atmospheric molecules that filled the Rose Bowl were in full vibration as kickoff approached.

Ryan McGee, espn.com, 2017.0915
quoted by Ryan S.

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

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46 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/18/18 And Then The Pixels Began

  1. First?

    Tech writers after Google did their demo are now suggesting strongly that either it was completely staged or carefully edited to make it a more impressive looking feat than actually happened. Certainly the ‘human’ on the other end didn’t act like any place I’ve called to make an appointment as they neither said their name nor what the business was!

  2. @9: Duane also writes good nonfiction-as-fiction; her essay on finding the right birthday present for John M. Ford was a stunner. I don’t find it online (it was originally in the Boskone program book the year he was GoH), but somebody with more persistence (or google-fu) might.

  3. 1) The Nebulas look like a fabulous time this year.

    10) That’s a great image

    14) sNORT

  4. @microtherion: Coincidentally, I read Asimov’s autobiography (vol 1) a few weeks back and was startled at how the common way that story is told didin’t fit with Asimov’s rendition of it.

  5. Contributing editor AND fifth!

    Go me!

    ETA well, almost fifth. Third fifth.

  6. (10) TESS SEES ITS FIRST LIGHT. That short video drove home to me how cool this is. 🙂 I look forward to the regular reports from TESS!

    @ULTRAGOTHA: I’m okay with rounding you down to second fifth, which is, after all, the best fifth. The fifthiest, uh, well, you know.

  7. @microtherion et al – I have never forgotten my own first experience of being beta-read, when my reader went into some detail explaining the symbolism of the characters’ names, and the careful decisions that must have made me choose them…. It was all news to me, I thought I’d just, y’know, made them up.

    Wasn’t it Borges who said that the reader was at least as important as the writer?

  8. No comments in 7.5 hours? Is everybody watching the wedding or something?

  9. 9) Diane Duane is one of my all-time favorite writers. I love the way she recycles material from one series to another; it gives the impression that everything she writes happens in a consistent universe, no matter which part of it we happen to be looking at right now. And she writes lovely, lyrical prose which doesn’t stand up and scream “Look at me!” to the reader — it just flows.

  10. @chip Heh.

    I didn’t know there was a new HBO movie adaptation of Farenheit 451 coming on tonight. The NPR reviewer I heard on the radio this morning seemed to like it.

  11. Chip Hitchcock on May 19, 2018 at 1:29 pm said:
    No comments in 7.5 hours? Is everybody watching the wedding or something?

    Looks guiltily at her feet.

    I had to! My mom would be glued to the tv and would expect me to talk to her about it! I had to check if there was more political commentary expressed through the means of interpretative hats! It was worth it just to see the reaction shots of British aristocracy to a black LGBT friendly preacher quote Dr. King at them and remind them of slavery!

  12. @Lis Carey: It’s 20 years now? In my college AI class in the 80s, the prof tried to convince us it was just around the corner.

    Mind you, we were writing LISP code on paper because we didn’t have access to machines that could support it, so to say I didn’t take him seriously was a major understatement.

  13. @Jamoche– Twenty years is what I’ve always heard.

    Since the late 1960s. Real AI is twenty years away…

    Yeah, I stopped taking it seriously a long time ago. I mean, we don’t even have real computers anymore, taking up heavily air-conditioned large rooms, and with flashing lights! How can we have real AI without the flashing lights?

  14. @Lis:

    How can we have real AI without the flashing lights?

    I bet you can get an app for flashing lights.

  15. I just blazed my way thru Murderbot: Artificial Condition and WOW. It’s a novella, so not a long read, and it just grabs you and keeps going — especially once the action starts. Wells is a genius at presenting believable characters with unique voices, and this section of the story really ramps up the stakes both for the main character and (by implication) for a lot of other AIs as well. I don’t want to quote the bit that really kicked me in the gut because SPOILER, but I can’t wait for the next two books!

  16. I muted the hashtag on Twitter. As expected this let a manageable amount of commentary through (“y’all”, slavery etc), and has minimized gushing that I see.

  17. ” on May 19, 2018 at 1:29 pm said:
    No comments in 7.5 hours? Is everybody watching the wedding or something?”

    What wedding?

  18. @Hampus

    British royal Prince Harry got married to actress Meghan Markle today. I’m relieved that there are places in the world that haven’t been buried under endless fluff pieces about it for the past week.

    (I looked for pics of the dress because the last time one of them got married the wedding dress influenced fashion for a good few years. I like to be forewarned.)

  19. Meredith: I looked for pics of the dress because the last time one of them got married the wedding dress influenced fashion for a good few years

    I ignored the wedding part and just waited for the pics to be posted online.

    The dress was at least classy, if not particularly stunning. But it was a vast improvement over Kate’s and the atrocity worn by Diana. I liked the post-wedding dress much better, but I suppose that would have been considered “too sexy” for a royal wedding.

    I wish them all the best. I wouldn’t want to have to live under that sort of constant scrutiny. At least Markle and Middleton will hopefully be able to provide each other with emotional support and camaraderie.

  20. If the Royal Wedding was a pixel scroll entry, it would mention Markle’s two episodes on Fringe as Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup.

  21. That wedding dress (having looked at it online) bears more than a little similarity to a medieval cotehardie, only without the buttons/lacing down the front. It’s a very flattering look for many women. I’ve had several myself over the years.

    I’ll probably grab an issue of People magazine this week, because I’m interested in seeing what some of the guests wore too.

  22. I have a deep hatred towards british royal weddings, one that is shared by my family. It comes from visiting England at the same time as the wedding between Charles and Diana. There was no way of escaping them, there were pictures everywhere. Souvenirs everywhere. TV and Newspaper could cover nothing else. It was overwhelming.

    Nice to see that something good came from my hospital visit, missing the whole shebang this time.

  23. @JJ: Thanks for the first link; your second link is empty.

    I find the practice (just Elle?) of listing the woman first in the headline next to a photo of a man and a woman, instead of listing people left to right, weird. Especially when I don’t know either people and don’t recognize the gender obviously from the names, in a couple of cases. Is this an Elle thing? Or just a sexist journalism thing? Or just a let’s-confuse-Kendall thing? 😛 Probably a let’s-confuse-Kendall thing. (My brain goes, “That’s not Victoria Beckham, that’s David; the other person is Victoria! Where’s the edit button?!”)

  24. @ JJ: Thanks! Some of those outfits are really striking — Gina Torres in particular. But yes, your second link goes nowhere — not even a 404.

    @ Kendall: It’s not consistent. Sometimes the man is listed first when he’s on the right, and at least one photo only identified one of the people in it.

  25. @Lee: ARGH, that’s worse. I thought I’d cracked the code.

    BTW I liked Gina Torres’s outfit, too. 🙂

  26. @Kendall I noticed that, I think it’s because that particular article was mostly about the dresses, so the women were usually the important ones, then the guys were listed or not based on how famous they are.

  27. @Maximillian: Ah! I hadn’t thought about that. That’s a reasonable explanation. (And dressy guy clothes are not as varied, nor as interesting, I admit.)

  28. @JJ: Thanks!

    I loved this label in CNN’s gallery: “Charlotte Riley, wearing The Vampire’s Wife, and Tom Hardy arrive for the wedding ceremony.” I presume “The Vampire’s Wife” is the designer name, since they call out a lot of designers, but it reads differently to an SFF fan. 😉

    BTW I forgot to say before, Serena Williams looks groovy, too. (Well, many of the Beautiful People do, of course.)

  29. Kendall:

    Am I the last to know that the next novel, Lies Sleeping, is coming in November?

    I had only noticed a few days ago — it popped up in my Amazon suggestions — so I immediately pre-ordered.


    Thanks, I’d been wondering what happened to him.

    The last few books have been coming out about two years apart — FOXGLOVE SUMMER in 2014, THE HANGING TREE in 2016 (early 2017 in the US), and now LIES SLEEPING in 2018.

    But we did get THE FURTHEST STATION, a novella, in 2017, and the spinoff comics have been running since 2015.

    And there was an audio-only story as well, which I haven’t listened to because I, uh, don’t really do audiobooks.

  30. @Kurt Busiek: Heh, thanks for the timeline. I discovered the series via the Best Series Hugo category, so I was spoiled [ETA: by listening to them one after another!] and then flabbergasted by having to wait! for! another! book! 😉

    I loved the audiobooks. The audio-only story, IIRC (one taking place in a library), was short and amusing, but nothing big you really couldn’t miss as a fan of the series, I suppose. Or . . . shoot, was it the other one, which had horrible audio quality because it was recorded live at the bottom of a well or in a tunnel or something horrible like that? I don’t remember that one, except that the audio was painful to listen to because of the recording environment. So it must be missable, right, if I don’t remember it? 😉 Or the audio was so bad it just was too hard to take in.

  31. @Jayn Those pins were courtesy of Ellen Klages. The ones that said “Gaye Haldeman is my Shero” were courtesy Michelle Appel. There were also pronoun pins, which the team picked rather than ribbons so folks cold reuse them at future conventions and conferences.

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