Pixel Scroll 5/27/18 Pixels Scroll Good, Like An E-fanzine Should

(1) WISCON 42 COC INCIDENT. Wiscon 42 announced on social media that action was taken in response to a Code of Conduct violation on a program item today. Their Twitter thread begins —

And they put up a full blog post: “Killable Bodies In SF Panel”

During the Killable Bodies In SFF panel at WisCon this morning (Sunday), a panelist engaged in Nazi and Confederate apologia and also appeared to posit that disabled or injured people sometimes “have to be sacrificed.”

They continued this behavior even after the audience and other panel members expressed the harm this was causing them.

WisCon rejects these ideas. They are in conflict with our Code of Conduct. The panelist in question will be banned and asked to immediately leave convention spaces.

The relevant passage from the Code of Conduct is here…

If you or anyone you know are in need of any support following this experience, please contact us. We will be working to find folks who can provide emotional support to you.

ETA: This particular individual has been banned for WisCon 42. The decision as to whether this ban will be extended in the future will be determined by our Anti Abuse Team post-con. Should you have information to contribute, you are welcome to email [email protected]

Although some deductive guesses have been made about who the panelist was, confirmation has yet to be issued. The program schedule described the item and listed the following participants:

“The Desire for Killable Bodies In SFF”

In SFF with an action element there’s a desire for cool giant battle scenes, heroes who spin, twirl, slice off heads, and general melee violence. This is an old background trope: the killable mook, guard, or minion whose life can be taken in a cool or funny way is familiar from traditional action films. But many SFF stories take this trope further with a killable race or non-sentient army: the Orcs in Lord of the Rings, the Chitauri in Avengers, and the many robot armies that we see represented solely so that heroes can create cool violent carnage without having to answer difficult moral questions. What happens when SFF comes to rely on this trope? If we’re going to have violent action in SFF, is this better than the alternative? Is it ever not just super racist?

Panelists: M: Molly Aplet. Lisa C. Freitag, Nicasio Reed

“your friend sam” livetweeted the panel but did not name the speaker:

EDITOR’S REQUEST: Please do not add your speculation about the person’s identity in comments. I have already figured out who it probably was and could put that guess here — I’m waiting for a witness, or the con, to name the person.

(2) TROLL BRIDGE. Thanks to Signature for throwing a spotlight on this Pratchett-themed production: “Trailer Surfaces For Fan-Made Discworld Film”.

Inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, “Troll Bridge” isn’t like most other films – it’s spent over a decade in production, and is entirely fan-made. Such a project may sound like it’s cursed to remain in limbo forever, but the film now has a trailer and is being submitted to festivals around the world. Between this and the upcoming Good Omens adaptation, it appears 2019 may be Pratchett’s time to shine. In the meantime, “Troll Bridge” is available for pre-order thanks to crowdfunding – but a Blu-ray is going to set you back $85.

An old barbarian and his talking horse, embark on a suicidal quest to battle a bridge troll. 15 years in the making TROLL BRIDGE is an ambitious odyssey of work in bringing Terry Pratchett’s Discworld to cinematic life.


(3) DOZOIS OBIT. Gardner Dozois died May 27 reports Michael Swanwick:

It is my sad duty to note the passing of Gardner Dozois today, of an overwhelming systemic infection, at Pennsylvania Hospital. Gardner was the best of friends, the best of editors, and the best of writers. And now he’s gone.


  • Born May 27, 1911 – Vincent Price
  • Born May 27, 1922 – Christopher Lee
  • Born May 27, 1934  — Harlan  Ellison


  • John King Tarpinian discovered a Star Wars fashion secret and an awful pun in Brevity.

(6) THE LATE ALAN BEAN. Astronaut Alan Bean’s death was reported in yesterday’s Scroll. Paul McAuley retweeted a great story about him today — the thread starts here (40 tweets long).

(7) ORIGINAL LANDO. MovieWeb asks “Billy Dee Williams in Training to Return as Lando in Star Wars 9?”

The older Lando Calrissian could be making a return to the big screen for Star Wars 9. 81-year old actor Billy Dee Williams is rumored to be preparing to reprise his role as the ever charming Calrissian after it was revealed that he has been training 3 days a week. Lando has been in the news quite a bit lately due to the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story and Donald Glover’s portrayal of the younger version of the character.

MegaCon Orlando took to social media to reveal that Billy Dee Williams is on a completely new diet for his return as Lando Calrissian. While this news on its own doesn’t really seem like much, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill did the same thing when preparing for 2015’s The Force Awakens and again for The Last Jedi. Williams could be just making lifestyle choices, but the timing is a little close to the production start of Star Wars 9, which is reportedly going to start in July.

(8) FOLLOW ME BOYS. Jon Del Arroz told his 12 donors he is abandoning Patreon and shifting his efforts to Freestrtr after the site banned Faith Goldy for hate speech. He told his blog readers it’ll be a sacrifice for him: “Supporting Faith Goldy – I Disassociate With Censoring Site Patreon” [Internet Archive].

It will be a financial hit for the short term. When moving platforms like this, usually only 80% of people make their way over, and freestrtr takes a bit more of a percentage than Patreon, but its time to make a change, and time to disassociate with companies that would gladly deplatform people like me.

He has 10 Freestrtr donors as of this writing, which puts his 80% estimate spot on.

(9) PAID REVIEWS ON AMAZON. In the April 24 Washington Post, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg report on the vast number of paid reviews still on Amazon, although the reviews are now for products rather than books.  The Post found that 58 percent of the reviews for Bluetooth speakers and 67 percent for testosterone supplements were from paid endorsers.

(10) NO CONCERN OF CERN. Next time you’re in Meyrin, Switzerland, Atlas Obscura advises you to pay homage to the “Birthplace of the Web”.

It may look like any other hallway, but look closely and you’ll notice a historical plaque commemorating a monumental event in digital history: the birth of the web.

The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The web, though omnipresent in the age of the internet, was originally meant to be a communication tool for scientists scattered at universities and other institutes around the world.

Berners-Lee was working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, when he developed the world’s first website. Though simple in appearance, this amazing technological feat revolutionized how we share and store information.

The first website was dedicated entirely to itself: a white page bearing nothing but typed hyperlinks. It described the WWW project, as well as core features of the web like how to set up a server and access documents. It was hosted on Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer, which is still at CERN. In 1993, CERN put the World Wide Web software in the public domain.

Interestingly, Berners-Lee faced some pushback for his invention, as some at CERN believed it was a waste of resources and wasn’t part of the organization’s core mission. Now, however, the organization at least marks the corridor where the web was born.

(11) THE EDITORIAL PROCESS. Kim Huett did a clean scan of this illo from Science-Fiction Times V12 #278 (September 1957) (which also is online at Fanac.org) and wrote a short introduction. Huett says —

I expect the artists among you will appreciate Kelly Freas’ depiction of the editorial process. The rest of you will hopefully enjoy Freas exploring his inner ATom (or is just me who sees a resemblance?)

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Steve Miller, Taral, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Stephen Burridge, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.

177 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/27/18 Pixels Scroll Good, Like An E-fanzine Should

  1. Yes, David W casually outed coffeeandink’s real name. Coffeandink on the other hand didn’t name the panelist, leading me to wonder how David W determined that coffeeandink, rather than himself, was the slanderer.

    coffeeandink did link to a piece that named the panelist, which at this point is known to pretty much everybody. She may well not have known that the panelist in question was Jewish, though.

  2. Rail, not as far as I know – he used his real name (an unusual surname) both times he joined, and the pseudonym only after he deserted the second time. (Afraid of the consequences, I’d guess.) I only found the pseudonym because the real one was on his pension index card. (At which point the other records become findable.)

  3. @Helen S: But genealogy is a lot like any kind of collecting: you get addicted to the adrenaline rush of spotting something you’ve been looking for, no matter how trivial you know it may be in reality.
    The friend that got me started on it and I used to call it the “genealogy happy dance”. For example, when you found that Obituary with maiden names, birthdates, etc.
    We had more of a rivalry for the ‘black sheep’ relatives. He was ahead with a 2nd cousin of a grandmother who was involved in a murder scandal–we liked her because every newspaper article insisted on referring to her as “a tango teacher” like it was a scandal. It was the 20s after all.
    Then I found a Third Great Grand Uncle who was hanged for a train robbery where someone died. Because they de-railed the train to rob it. Not the brightest person around.

  4. My mother dabbled in geneology; she explicitly told us that she was rather hoping to find a horse thief in her ancestry. She never did find a proper scoundrel in our family tree, but my husband, following up on her work, did find an ancestor of mine, Nathan Kimble, that he calls “the Forrest Gump of the Revolutionary War” – Nathan signed up just after Lexington and Concord, and was at pretty much every single major New York and New Jersey battle of the entire war. And he must have been a True Believer, because he continued to re-up until he was mustered out after the Battle of Yorktown (which he also fought in) — most Revolutionary War soldiers only served a few years. He was in an elite unit (which is why we know which battles he was in), but he started a private and ended a private.

    Along the way, he committed war crimes and genocide against Indian tribes; he took part in the Sullivan Expedition. Nathan was probably not a very nice man.

  5. @Anna Feruglio
    Some people go with the instinct to value their tribe over others, but there has always been a strong tendency to value all humans equally. After all that is what pretty much all religions are founded on.

    I’m not sure I agree with “strong”, at least over the long term.
    “all religions” — ??? Really? My reading of the Pentateuch is that God told the descendants of Abraham “you folks are my people; all those others, not so much”. And while Jesus certainly taught that everyone was equal, that’s certainly not how “Christians” have often acted (see: Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, etc.). Likewise Islam (see: Infidels, Jihad).

    You’re an adult human being, you can choose to value all humans equally or decide to only care for you and yours, and those are not morally equal choices.

    “Morally” being such an elastic concept. Whose morals? “All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children . . . As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible.” (Heinlein, Time Enough for Love. Not quoting for agreement, just to say that “morality” isn’t a universal constant.)

  6. We had more of a rivalry for the ‘black sheep’ relatives.

    Oh, I have a few….there’s the Colonial-New-England counterfeiter (he and his son both were caught) – they were counterfeiting low-quality paper money.
    Then there’s the woman – second wife of a several-times-great-uncle – who conspired with a neighbor to murder her second husband and was caught (the body had been thrown in a river but was found, and also the body of a slave who was a witness). The neighbor was hanged; she was sentenced to be burned. (This is in the North Carolina state records, in 1732.) It makes bigamy and desertion look pretty minor.
    Several others seem to have been troublemakers in a more general sense, but I haven’t found any details for most of that. Yet.

  7. The best I can do is a privateer, but I always claim him as a pirate. Furthermore, he turned out not to be a direct ancestor but a far-removed uncle. Thwarted again!

  8. My first brush with genealogy was an episode of the Addams Family. I’ve always wanted to find gloriously black-sheepish things. Hmph.


    “It all meant this: that there are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal, kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.”

    I still have strong memories of that one issue of The Desert Peach which wasn’t carried by some distributors because it included scenes at a concentration camp. The portrayal of the people running the camp was all the more chilling for how possible it seemed: they weren’t monsters or sadists, they were bureaucrats and accountants who just wanted the numbers to line up in their books, and who studiously ignored that the numbers represented actual people’s lives.

    My family’s done a fair bit of genealogical research, with some benefits from having a couple of rather unusual surnames in the family; most of this research started before ancestry.com was a thing. My usual description of my ancestry is “I’m part Irish, part Scottish, part English, and part German. I argue with myself a lot.” I’m actually unusual where I work for having most of my ancestry being Canadian back multiple generations; I’m about as Canadian as you can get without having much in the way of First Nations ancestry as well that we’ve found.

    (The Germans were actually Poor Palatines who ended up becoming United Empire Loyalists, so they’ve been here since the 1780s, long before there was a Canada. The Irish came over early on in the Great Potato Famine, so they predate Canada as well, if by less.)

    I wasn’t adopted. My sister was, though we never made a big deal of the fact, and it was early enough that she wouldn’t have remembered anything beforehand. Once she reached the age of majority, she did manage to get her birth records opened to find her original family, and has met up with some of them; her biological sister even acted as a D.J. during her wedding reception. Adoption laws are often (and understandably) rather complex when it comes to privacy rights versus possible medical issues.

  10. @ULTRAGOTHA: I should have known Pterry would have the words; he usually did.

    @Rail: Dawn breaks over Marblehead. Tx.

    @Ferret Bueller: I think that not-reading-when-in-highschool applies to a lot of people and works; I wonder whether I’d be willing to read Melville or Hawthorn (just for examples) now if I hadn’t had to then.

  11. Jenora Feuer: Ma too. All my ancestry is European, but has been in Canada, if not pre Canada, then at least pretty early on or pretty long from my perspective.. the Finnish branch were the first Europeans to break ground in their part of Alberta, that kind of thing. I think even all my great grandparents were Canadian-born, though i’m fuzzy about my maternal great. (I know Ukrainian was her first language but that doesn’t necessarily mean new immigrant.)

    I don’t feel terribly much attachment to Finland, England, Wales, the Ukraine or Poland.

    And yet, when they make movies like Moana and CoCo that are all about attachment to ancestors, I am moved by that feeling of being part of a long line.

  12. I have no really exciting black sheep in my family tree beyond an ancestor who was known as “the swinish Buhlert” (no real information about what he did to earn that monicker) and a rabble-rousing pastor who got thrown out of his hometown and state and eventually became pastor in a village just beyond the border of the state that had expelled him. I visited the village and the church where he used to preach once. For some reason, I have a lot of Lutheran pastors among my ancestors as well as sea captains.

    I also have both members of the Nazi party (plus one guy who wasn’t allowed to join the Nazi party, because his wife said, “We’re not wasting good money on a stupid uniform”) as well as a likely Nazi victim (his exact fate is unknown, but he disappeared in the late 1930s and the last thing anybody heard from him was a letter from a prison where political prisoners were incarcerated) among my ancestors, even on the same branch of the family tree.

  13. I have a good friend who has taken up genealogy as a hobby in a pretty serious way. He’s a careful scholar, and has said rather dryly that the more he learns about genealogy, the more he leans towards socialism. Of note, he has Confederate officers as direct ancestors. He has no truck with Confederate apologists.

    He’s also kindly done a bunch of my genealogy, from which I have learned that in the 400 years that my family has been on this continent, they have had a penchant for poverty and religious crankery. I am amused at being descended from Patricia Mullins, since “Speak for yourself, John Alden” is one of my favorite catch phrases. I have several ancestors in common with his wife, although probably my favorite bit of ancestral confluence is the fact that my many times great grandfather was, in the 1600s, fined sixty pounds for trespass and libel against his wife’s many times great grandfather.

    Genealogy mostly reveals that people are incredibly much like people, and that poverty is much more easily inherited than wealth. Also, that everybody has terrible people in their past.

  14. Lydy, my SiL has one of the Salem “witches”, as well as one of her accusers, on her tree. (You can’t say that life isn’t complicated.)
    I’m somewhat amused by the fact that mine is cross-linked in places where I wouldn’t have expected connections at all. It’s an interesting lot of people from all over. (Playing 6-degrees-of-separation gets quite a few characters I didn’t expect at all. The second cousin who was a US senator after being a territorial governor, for example, and his daughter’s father-in-law who was president.)

  15. I did a huge amount of genealogy work for my family around 15 years ago. Unfortunately, most of my ancestors who came to the U.S. were only 3-4 generations ago (great-grands and great-great-grands), and it was pretty hard to get information at that time without actually going to Europe in person to request church and town council records. It may have gotten a lot easier since then. There is someone with our uncommon family surname who is is royalty-by-marriage in the country from which my great-grandfather emigrated. I would love to know whether we are related.

    One branch of my cousins is descended from a guy who came over on a ship. The ship’s captain died enroute, and the passenger assumed his name, so that he could sell the ship and contents when they got to port. He kept that name, so that branch of the family actually bears a surname that is not really theirs (but no one seems to know what the original surname was).

    A female relative (around 50 years old) was incarcerated in a correctional facility at the time of one of the censuses in the early 1900s. I would be interested to find out what her crime was.

    My ex was descended from the brother of one of the Plymouth Colony governors. The governor was an upstanding citizen, but the brother got up to all kinds of trouble, including physical assault and financial fraud, and was exiled from the colony for a time. I guess that should have been a tipoff for me. 😉

  16. I have an illustrious politician forebear who begat an ancestor of mine without benefit of marriage – though it was in a country where guys got away with that sort of thing. Nothing that interesting.

  17. On my father’s side, our cherished family scandal is that our great-great-great-grandmother was still married to her first husband when she and our great-great-great-grandfather conceived our great-great-grandfather.

    I think I have counted out the greats correctly. No guarantees, see comment elsewhere about giving blood followed by spending time in heat. But the not-at-all legitimately conceived ancestor was my grandmother’s grandfather. His father was First Nations, and the whole episode is why the French Canadian branch of the family decided moving from Quebec to New Hampshire looked like a good plan.

    Everyone needs a colorful family scandal; that’s ours.

  18. @Lydy Nickerson: My husband has done a good bit of genealogical research and he, too, is descended from John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. I think that makes you 10th cousins or something in that neighborhood. He is also descended from a Mayflower person. And the brother of one of his ancestors on a different line was a major criminal and swindler. I guess you get all kinds on the family tree!

  19. I definitely have slave-holding forebears, and Confederate soldiers, too. Officers, even. I don’t know much more about them. Well, there’s a story that some brothers in the family petitioned the probate court for a re-division of their late father’s property after the war, because the Emancipation Proclamation had disinherited their sister, who inherited slaves rather than land. Apparently this inheritance pattern was a common practice at the time, because daughters were expected to marry out. The concept of actual people being the “liquid property” makes this story, told proudly for generations in my family, very hard to bear.

  20. Chip Hitchcock:

    I think that not-reading-when-in-highschool applies to a lot of people and works; I wonder whether I’d be willing to read Melville or Hawthorn (just for examples) now if I hadn’t had to then.

    Interestingly enough, I had to read some Hawthorne in high school (several short stories, not a novel) but escaped Melville, I think, except for “Bartleby.” I like Hawthorne rather more than I do Melville despite their relative dosages. The one author I can think of off-hand that I have a real distaste for thanks to high school is Thornton Wilder; on the other hand, there are lot of authors who have become much better writers over time.

    Reminds me of one of the weirder experiences of my freshman year of college. I was chatting with a fellow SF fan, and we mutually bitched about the literary crud we had had to read in high school. I said, “Though, I did like Dostoevsky, and Austen.” She looked at me with this look of disgust, almost like she thought I’d just been going along to get along (or get somewhere, as it were), and seemed to make a point of never talking to me again. Of course, I laugh at the thought that I doubt it would bother her to think she missed out on becoming my friend–lucky her, she dodged that bullet.

  21. @JJ–Thanks to the internet and the Mormons, there’s a lot more online than there used to be with more being added all the time. When I started, it meant going to the state library here and scrolling through microfilms of census images, etc. to try to find the information. Now, it’s online and searchable, saving tons of eyestrain.
    On the downside, relying on other people’s online trees can mean you end with really really wrong information. And they don’t want to listen to you if you try to correct them.
    Recently, thanks to a grant from somewhere, a lot of the newspapers in my small Iowa hometown have been digitized and made available.
    I’ve noticed that 1900s seemed to be the time that some women in my various branches were institutionalized for “melancholia”.

  22. No juicy scandals. The family of one of my uncles took the poet Whittier in at the end of his life, and called him “Uncle Greenleaf,” and it turned out that the fellow I worked next to for seven years was distantly related to him as well (his middle name was Whittier), so that was a cool coincidence.

  23. I think the main ‘black sheep’ in my family was that one of my direct ancestors was Benedict Arnold’s aide-de-camp or something like that. Granted, I’ve also got one ancestor who was ‘merchant marine’ with a bit of a shady history in some places, settled down in the Philippines eventually.

    Interestingly, while I have two priests in my relatively immediate family (great-grandfathers), the Anglican priest was from the German branch of the family, and the Irish branch had the Presbyterian priest. So much for expected state churches.

  24. One of my ancestors was the mayor of a small town about a century back. Judging from the newspaper articles I found when I googled, he was arrested a couple of times (while mayor!) for fisticuffs.

  25. @Kurt Busiek & @Matt Y: Thanks for the replies re. Low Town! I’m slow to catch up, this week, sorry.

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