Pixel Scroll 5/3/24 Shhhh, I’m Hunting Pixels

(1) MICHELE LUNDGREN RUNNING FOR MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE. Detroit resident Michele Lundgren, wife of Carl Lundgren, co-founder of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) and creator of hundreds of sff book covers, was charged last July as a Michigan fake Trump elector. The case has been slowly progressing, with the preliminary exam for Lundgren and other defendants expected to resume May 28. But in the meantime, Lundgren has declared her candidacy for the state legislature: “Michigan ‘fake elector’ takes on top Democrat in bid for state House” reports Bridge Michigan.

Michele Lundgren knows she’s a long shot candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives. 

She’s a Republican living in the Democratic stronghold of Detroit, and a political newcomer with little name recognition. She’s also challenging one of the most powerful Democrats in the state — and fighting felony charges for allegedly trying to help overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss.

But the 74-year-old Cass Corridor resident says she’s serious about taking on House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit, telling Bridge Michigan she feels strongly about representing the party she believes in.

“I’m a novice, and I don’t have any real background in political science or politics,” she said. “But when somebody steps up and says, ‘We’ve got no one else,’ I make an effort to try to learn as much as I can and represent our party and our district as best as possible.”

Lundgren is unopposed in the Republican primary in Michigan’s 9th state House District, meaning she’s a lock for the general election. That’ll likely be against Tate, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former professional football player who helped deliver Democratic majority control in Lansing….

… “That someone who is…one of the fake electors that have been charged with felonies is running against our leader, our speaker of the state House — the idea of it is almost hard to fathom,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes told Bridge. “It’s a little shocking to me.”…

…A preliminary exam for Lundgren and other defendants is expected to resume May 28. If the judge sends the case to trial, it’s unlikely it will be resolved by the Nov. 5 general election. 

Lundgren and other co-defendants maintain that they did nothing wrong. Calling the ongoing case a “nightmare,” Lundgren said she believed she was putting her name to a sign-in sheet for a meeting and was unaware it would be passed off as an elector document….

This will be Lundgren’s second campaign for the 9th district seat. She was defeated in 2022 by a Democrat who received 91% of the vote.

(2) WHO’S WHO. Just in case there isn’t enough controversy in the Guardian, they commissioned Martin Belam to give us “The greatest Doctor Who – ranked!” Fortunately, he was 100% right about who deserves to head up this list. (I will now beat a quick retreat to my bomb shelter…)

1. David Tennant
Tenth and Fourteenth Doctors, 2005-10, 2022-3

His second bite of the cherry just about elevates David Tennant above Tom Baker. Tennant agreed to step into the role after Eccleston’s abrupt departure, not knowing how successful the 2005 revival would be, then discovered he’d inherited a monster. His time in the role is littered with stories that put the character most through the emotional wringer (Midnight/Human Nature/The Waters of Mars) and some of the most comedy gif-able moments, which made him the perfect Doctor for the social media age. By 2009, Tennant’s Doctor Who was the BBC One Christmas ident and the show had ubiquitous cultural capital again.

Whether by accident or design, his brief return with Catherine Tate in 2023 delivered three enjoyable specials and worked as a convenient way to soft reboot the show for the Disney+ era. Over to you, Ncuti …
Best story: Blink. Iconic performance: Midnight

(3) PLENTY MORE WHERE THEY CAME FROM. That ranked list of Doctor Who’s might need to leave room: “48 Years Later, The Oldest Sci-Fi Show Could Finally Explain Its Weirdest Mystery” says Inverse.

…In 2020, then-showrunner Chris Chibnall decided the answer was — both. The Time Lords established a rule of 12 regenerations, but the Doctor had lived countless lives before having their memory wiped of said lives. Retroactively, the faces glimpsed in “The Brain of Morbius” accounted for some of those past lives, and, most prominently, Jo Martin’s dangerous Fugitive Doctor was among those lost Doctors, too. But who were those other secret Doctor Whos? It seems possible that the new version of the show might finally give us an answer.

According to a new quote from current Who showrunner, Russell T Davies, the story of “The Timeless Children,” established during the Jodie Whittaker era, will continue in Season 2 of the newly relaunched series. “That storyline’s a gift handed to me by Chris Chibnall, and it’s an honour to take it on from him,” Davies told Doctor Who Magazine. “There’s so much story in it! We’re dealing with it in what we’re shooting now for Season 2.”

It’s not super shocking that Davies is picking up the threads from the Chibnall era in the Ncuti Gatwa era. The three David Tennant/Catherine Tate specials already made it clear that the Doctor’s origin story of having been adopted is still very much on his mind, especially in the episode “Wild Blue Yonder.” But if Season 2 of the new era is doubling down on the Timeless Child, and the Doctor’s time working for the clandestine group called the Division, then it seems possible we’ll learn at least a little bit about the identity of some of those other Doctors….

(4) ORIGINS OF H.G. WELLS. The University of Calgary’s Nickle Galleries is exhibiting “H.G. Wells: A Scientific Romance” through July 19.

H.G. Wells: A Scientific Romance explores the inspired beginnings of Herbert George Wells (1866 – 1946), an early and major figure in what was to become science fiction. Trained in the sciences, Wells intended to be a teacher. Instead, poor health led him to pursue freelance journalism and write science-infused adventure stories known as “scientific romances.”

This exhibition traces Wells’ extraordinary early output, in the 1890s, of influential short stories and commercially successful novels that established him as a prescient and prolific writer, thinker, and cultural presence. Take a time machine back to fin de siècle London to see the future as Wells imagined it.

For those who can’t visit in person, there is a virtual tour available at Thinglink.

Also, some of the highlights are displayed in this series of videos.

(5) GOOGLE DOC GONE. WIRED can describe “What Happens When a Romance Writer Gets Locked Out of Google Docs”, however, no one has been able to find out why it happened to this writer. Chuck Tingle doesn’t know either, however, he is a source for this article.

… When she saw the word inappropriate in the notification, Renee worried her work had been dinged for its spice. “I thought I was the problem,” she says. “I thought I had somehow messed it up.”

But she hadn’t. At least, she hadn’t messed it up in any way she could hope to avoid in the future. Google never specified which of her 222,000 words was inappropriate. There were no highlighted sections, no indicators of what had rendered her documents unshareable. Had one of her readers flagged the content without discussing it with her first? Was it a malicious attack on the files? Had someone at Google decided her content was too spicy?…

While it’s still unclear what exactly happened to Renee’s docs, or if it’s just a fluke, the effects of mishaps like this are complex. Even though it’s now commonplace, there can still be unease around letting major corporations store personal writing. For authors who write about sex, say, or queer people trying to find a voice, hearing that your content could be flagged as “inappropriate” can have a chilling effect. The problem, says bestselling pseudonymous author Chuck Tingle, is that companies like Google now function like utilities. “It’s the same as water and electric,” he says.

Tingle would know: His “Tinglers,” erotica pieces he releases as Kindle Singles, led to his contract at Macmillan for the queer horror novels Camp Damascusand Bury Your Gays. Those early singles were written without the benefit of editors, often within a matter of hours. They’re sloppy. “They’re punk rock,” he says, but they also helped him build a community around the “underdog genres” of erotica, horror, and comedy that his work falls into. If Amazon decided to stop selling his Tinglers, it would be a big blow, even though he now has a book deal…

(6) NO POC ON THEAKSTON 2024 LONGLIST. “’It really isn’t good enough’: crime novel of the year award criticised for entirely white longlist” in the Guardian.

The Theakston Old Peculier crime novel of the year has faced criticism after its 2024 longlist did not feature a single book by an author of colour.

The UK and Ireland’s most prestigious prize for crime fiction is awarded to the best crime novel published each year in paperback. The winner is voted for jointly by the awards’ academy and the public, and is presented each year at the Theakston Old Peculier crime writing festival in Harrogate. The longlist is selected by the academy from all the titles submitted by publishers. This year’s longlist comprised 18 books, none of which is by an author of colour.

“It’s very pale …,” thriller writer Sarah Pinborough commented on Facebook after the list was announced last Thursday, sparking a debate among a number of authors.

“A big question is, how does the festival go from having a Black Woman as its Programme Chair in 2011 – me! – to where it is now?” commented crime writer Dreda Say Mitchell. “Who’s on the committee? How did they get chosen? What is the duration of time for someone to be on the committee? This should all be underpinned in clear and transparent policies and documentation … Because currently it really isn’t good enough.”…


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born May 3, 1985 Becky Chambers, 39. Raise your hand if you like the female-centered fiction of Becky Chambers. I certainly do. Quite a bit in fact.  I say female-centered because apparently she garners more than a few complaints that there’s no strong male characters here. You know of the type Heinlein only wrote of. Like Hazel Stone. Sorry I couldn’t help myself. 

Becky Chambers, photo by Julie Branson

Shall we start with the Wayfarers series? The books in the series are The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetA Closed and Common OrbitRecord of a Spaceborn Few and The Galaxy, and the Ground Within. Each is most excellent and quite unique in its own manner. 

The first book was first self-published through a Kickstarter campaign before being picked up by Hodder & Stoughton. Harper and with the otherwise alien crew of Wayfarer are fascinating. It reminds me a bit of Rambo’s Disco Space Opera novels in its depiction of aliens.

A Closed and Common Orbit would be nominated for a Hugo at Worldcon 75. Sidra, a Lovelace AI installed in a body kit and Pepper, a tech expert originally from an Enhancement Colony who’s her companion are the main characters here. Oh, this is was quite a tale indeed. 

Like the preceding novel, Record of a Spaceborn Few was nominated for a Hugo, this time at Dublin 2019.  I’ll not spoil it here, but suffice it to say that it deals with something that gets ignored in mass exodus from Earth story lines. Of course the series itself garnered a Hugo this year. 

The final of the four novels is The Galaxy, and the Ground Within. Here we have the Five-Hop One-Stop, call it a bar if you will on a planet that serves on a rest, refuelling and supply depot for ships transiting through wormholes, where a group of strangers must cooperate to survive when something catastrophic happens. That these characters are wonderfully portrayed is what matters here. This is my second favorite novel in the fourth series after the first. 

Her final work I’ll note here, setting aside for the moment her short fiction, is her To Be Taught, if Fortunate story which follows four astronauts as they travel beyond the Solar System on a research mission to explore potential life in other systems. Enough plot details. Fascinating story tightly told which won at CoNZealand. 

She has written about a baker’s dozen pieces of short fiction thus far. One in The Vela shared universe serial that is space opera I think. There is, and I’ve not read it, “A Good Heretic”, a short story set here which to be found in the Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers anthology. 

I think Apple should pick up the Monk & Robot series as both A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy would adapt well to the video with the proper budget that Apple could give them. Well and that they’d give Chambers a full say in adapting them. Robots, monks, tea. Cool. 


(9) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to devour a Georgian dinner with Dan Parent in Episode 224 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Dan Parent

My guest this episode is Dan Parent, an artist and writer who’s worked for Archie Comics for 35 years. I was excited to talk with him for many reasons, a big one being how little I know about the inner working of that company, which I’ve only touched on briefly for you back during my lunch with Howard Bender in Episode 204.

Parent started at Archie immediately after graduating from the famed Joe Kubert School, another topic I was happy to explore. In 2010, he introduced the first openly gay character in Archie Comics when he created Kevin Keller in Veronica #202, which he wrote and drew. That character eventually got his own title with the publication of Kevin Keller #1 in 2012.

Parent’s been involved with several crossover titles which expanded the Archie universe, such as Archie vs. Sharknado in 2015, and the six-part crossover Archie Meets Batman ’66 in 2018. Parent’s creator-owned work includes Die Kitty Die, which he collaborated on with artist/writer Fernando Ruiz in 2016, and which I found to be a delightful spoof of the comics business and many of the characters I loved as a kid. In May 2013, Parent was presented with the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book….

(10) SF FROM A TO Z. [Item by Dann.] New/aspiring author Mike Burke posted something he wrote a while back.  It was a writing prompt/challenge.  He had to write a 26-word long story where the first letter of each word corresponded with each successive word of the alphabet: “A twenty-six word story challenge”. Read it at the link.

(11) EVERYONE’S A CRITIC. “An FAQ About Your New Birth Control: The Music of Rush” at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

…Imagine taking the most annoying parts of science fiction and Libertarianism, isolating them, and then somehow blending them up into a cursed musical slurry. Then, infuse that slurry with a distinctive incel vibe, and presto! You’ve got one of the most powerful contraception options on the market.…

(12) NOT SUCH A LONG TIME AGO. “How Engineers Created a Flying ‘Star Wars’ X-Wing” in Smithsonian Magazine.

Seeing a Star Wars X-wing starfighter won’t require a trip to a galaxy far, far away.

This year, just in time for May 4—Star Wars Day—the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has unveiled a drone outfitted with X-wing body shells that resembles the popular spacecraft from the films. The display resides at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

The large drone, a Boeing CV2 Cargo Air Vehicle (CAV), represents a milestone for remotely piloted aircraft in the United States, says Roger Connor, who curates the museum’s vertical flight collection. Weighing more than 1,000 pounds, the drone was the first remotely piloted electrical vertical takeoff and landing aircraft of its size approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for public demonstration, Connor says.

In December 2019, two drones fitted with add-ons to look like X-wings, including the one displayed at the museum, flew above a crowd of spectators for the opening of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The aircraft, which has a wingspan of 20 feet 2 inches and is more than 24 feet long and 7 feet tall with the X-wing costume on, will be on loan indefinitely from Disney and Boeing….

[Thanks to Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Dennis Howard, Gary Farber, Bill, Dann, Daniel Dern, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

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33 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/3/24 Shhhh, I’m Hunting Pixels

  1. (7) Happy birthday to Becky Chambers! I enjoy her writings, but am a bit taken aback by her birth year which is making me feel old

  2. 11) One day, I got up in front of a room chock full of fandom and earned a horrendous chorus of boos after telling them loudly that “Rush doesn’t rock.” As a plus-twenty year electric bassist myself, that’s a hill I will die on and if you have a problem with it, I suggest you go take it up with the late Little Richard.

  3. Andrew (not Werdna) Happy birthday to Becky Chambers! I enjoy her writings, but am a bit taken aback by her birth year which is making me feel old

    Doing the Birthdays, I’m often surprised by the age particularly of the writers still gracing us by being among us. I’m often off by decades on what I thought an age of a writer was.

    It doesn’t help that the official photos of writers are often much younger than they actually are…

  4. 11) That article is just ridiculous. There are a lot of female Rush fans out there; I’m one of them. Geddy Lee can sing quite well in his lower register, and does, especially in the later albums.

  5. I have to agree that Becky Chambers’ birth year is disturbing. Not her age. Just her birth year.

    I hope to see more from her.

  6. (1) A very small correction to the final sentence in the item: Michele Lundgren’s previous state House campaign was in a different district. There has been some redistricting in Michigan, so that may be the explanation.

  7. Yeesh, Google docs. Having had way too much experience with industrial strength document management systems designed to prevent lawyers from ever losing a single document ever, I have a hard time working with people who expect they’re going to get that level of retentiveness for free. Had an epic argument about this once.

    Happy birthday Becky!

  8. Actually Ballotpedia shows only having one race which is the 2022 one in which Abraham Aiyash (D) got 17,821 votes and Michele Lundgren (R) received 1,634 votes. They use a database system from each state, so I assume she didn’t actually make the ballot the first time.

  9. Charon Dunn says , Google docs. Having had way too much experience with industrial strength document management systems designed to prevent lawyers from ever losing a single document ever, I have a hard time working with people who expect they’re going to get that level of retentiveness for free. Had an epic argument about this once.

    I was really amused, and equally unsurprised, that none of these folks had copies archived on their computing devices. The small number of documents they were talking about were easily stored on a hard disc, so why not do it? Just archive them there every so often to be sure you have them.

  10. The birthdates that give me pause are the ones on obituaries where the person was younger than me.

  11. Bruce Arthurs says The birthdates that give me pause are the ones on obituaries where the person was younger than me.

    Indeed, but the ones that really get me are the ones where I don’t know the individual has passed on even though I really should. I know faulty memory in part but still..

  12. (1) wish her loyalty to her country’s system of government was as strong as her loyalty to her party.

    (7) raising hand, to wave birthday greetings to Becky Chambers! Thanks for some lovely reading.

  13. 11) I certainly know one person who got pregnant at a period she and her husband played a lot of Rush. One does not ask about the specific event.

  14. 11) We were on a school trip when a friend got me into Rush, 2112 specifically. I remember the teacher mocking us and saying we should get into some proper rock such as ACDC.

  15. 2) The Fifth Doctor is far and away my least favorite out of all of them. The Eleventh Doctor is somewhat reminiscent of him, but Smith’s portrayal eventually grew on me, whereas Davison’s never did, for some reason.

    3) I’m always down for some backstory fill-ins.

    5) ‘If you can’t hold it, you don’t own it’ remains undefeated.

    11) Whenever someone mentions McSweeney’s, it reminds of when they got namechecked in SNL’s ‘The Bubble’ sketch, how well it fit, and how much that whole sketch just nailed it.

  16. 1) What happened to the truth?

    RE: Birthdays, once we hit 21 we’re all equal as peers, and it shouldn’t matter if one is youthful looking or gray haired. It’s what you do with the time you have!

    Bruce: The first person I knew who died was in high school, and the second, in college. I worked with a teen in my first job, and she died suddenly (no cause given). There was a professor from my university who committed suicide, and in the years since, every member of my immediate family (including step-parents) have died, as well.

    I’m going to keep going, cultivate new friends, and I won’t stop until I, too, am gone. I’m in no hurry, but I’m busier now than I ever have been.

  17. (1) Gee, she sounds like a perfect candidate. 😐

    (5) This one is creepy and scary. People have been trying to say that we shouldn’t panic because it was a special situation where it involved sharing documents. But all it takes is one policy change… Or one angry beta reader… Or one badly written algorithm…

  18. The date’s pretty faint on the page, but the McSweeney article originally came out a little over 3 years ago. I’m not sure what caused it to make the rounds again, but I’ve seen it recently relinked in a few places.

    I’m a moderate Rush fan myself (as in I like to hear their music from time to time, but I limit how often I play it, particularly around folks I know who are not particularly fans). I too found it moderately funny three years ago, partly because I knew it was going to provoke a round of prog-fans-taking-themselves-too-seriously responses, as it indeed did then. (The actual members of Rush were often refreshingly clear that they didn’t take themselves too seriously.)

  19. (7) Becky Chambers reminds me of James White and Clifford Simak. A quality writer who quietly stands out from the rest of the field. And of course she has written some great male characters you can empathize with. Some of them are even of the human species. I’m glad we have her, and look forward to whatever she writes next.

  20. That’s certainly the stupidest essay I’ve read this week.

    I can’t tell if this comment means you are a a prog-rock fan, someone unfamiliar with the droll satire of McSweeney’s or somebody who just didn’t think it was funny enough.

    Somewhere I have an email from McSweeney’s telling me they wish they had accepted my submission long after I sent it to them. The piece was the horoscopes of death row inmates on the day they were executed.

  21. 5) Best practice is to keep local copies with automated backups to an external drive, using Apple’s Time Machine or similar, and also off-site backups in the cloud somewhere, the idea being to make it unlikely that they will all fail at once. However…

    Writers are already expected to do their own marketing and a lot of other tasks that publishers used to do for them, plus being their own I.T. department. In addition to the time spent doing these, this means a lot more time and energy spent in developing skills that are at best irrelevant to writing. It doesn’t surprise me that some of them are more interested in just writing.

  22. @rcade Not a particular prog rock fan, just thought it was lazy stupid writing by someone who apparently knows less than nothing about music. Plus, what’s up with -An- FAQ?

  23. @Jim Janney:

    plus being their own I.T. department.

    I’m my writing wife’s IT department (to the limit of my abilities). I keep her work well backed up 🙂

    (1) “I didn’t know what I was signing” may work as a criminal defense, but it’s not great when campaigning for public office.

  24. @rochrist–

    Plus, what’s up with -An- FAQ?

    They’re pronouncing the letters, F-A-Q, rather than pronouncing it as a word.

  25. Agreeing with Lis. It’s “A UFO” (because the U is pronounced with a consonant first (“You”)) but “an FAQ” or “an LLM” (“ef” and “el”).

  26. @Andrew (not Werdna): By that logic, it should be “an laser”. 🙂

    In fact, it depends on whether you pronounce it “eff aye kew” or “fack”. Both are common and generally accepted pronunciations. (The maintainers of the FAQ FAQ claim usage is nearly perfectly split between the two, but a quick google search gives over twice as many results for “a FAQ” vs “an FAQ”.)

    Personally, I prefer to let the FAQs speak for themselves…

    Re. Rush: Whenever someone says [artist] isn’t really [genre], my automatic reaction (no matter what I think of [artist] or [genre]) is to respond, “you’re right–[artist] is good!” 🙂

    This is partly because I dislike gate-keeping, but also because so many of my favorite artists like to defy genre boundaries, so I have little respect for those boundaries.

  27. True – when (if) it was pronounced el-a-es-e-ar it would have been a ‘a’ word. I always think of FAQ as ef-a-queue but that’s just me.

  28. (1) No. Hell, no.
    (5) Why you should not write, or put critical stuff, on other-people-controlled sites, esp. Google.

  29. 11) That isn’t a bad bit of humor…or humour. Sadly, it seems that the Rush podcast mentioned in her piece about the responses she received no longer exists. But I did find another 2021 podcast about humor/humour writers where she was a guest. Now in my TBH list.

    [My sarcastic take wasn’t as good as I’d have liked.]

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, – go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

  30. rcade: What did you do with the submission, then?

    (8) I only saw the SMBC by other channels today, and I must say it is up for the best SF-related comic of the year. Do click.

  31. 11) A modest follow-up.

    Listened to Leslie on the Greener Pastures Podcast. Turns out she was more or less serious. She’d never heard of Rush until she married her husband. Then she heard more than she cared to hear. Quite a bit more, apparently.

    The article was intended to troll Rush fans. She (mostly*) enjoyed…and expected…their rage.

    She sounds like quite a lovely person…if it weren’t for her questionable musical preferences. [/sarc]

    *A few obviously went waaaayyyy beyond the limit.

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

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