Pixel Scroll 5/10/16 Who Scrolls There?

(1) GO RIGHT TO THE SOURCE. Joe Hill will bring his comic series to the air — see “Locke & Key TV Show Happening with Original Creator Joe Hill” at MovieWeb.

IDW Entertainment (IDWE) announced today that the award-winning, fan-favorite property Locke & Key is being developed as a television series. Author/creator Joe Hill will be writing the pilot and serving as an executive producer. Locke & Key has garnered both awards and acclaim during its five-year run.

Following the titular Locke family as they encounter magic beyond belief and evils beyond redemption, Locke & Key quickly won over readers and has since become a staple in introducing new readers to the medium. With the series adapted in dozens of languages across the globe, and more than a million copies sold worldwide, Locke & Key is an obvious choice to make the transition to the screen. New York Times bestselling author, Joe Hill, has continually captivated readers through his gripping novels and award-winning comic series.

(2) DIG HERE. According to The Independent, a 15-year-old boy believes he has discovered a forgotten Mayan city using satellite photos and Mayan astronomy

William Gadoury, from Quebec, came up with the theory that the Maya civilization chose the location of its towns and cities according to its star constellations.

He found Mayan cities lined up exactly with stars in the civilization’s major constellations.

Studying the star map further, he discovered one city was missing from a constellation of three stars.

Using satellite images provided by the Canadian Space Agency and then mapped on to Google Earth, he discovered the city where the third star of the constellation suggested it would be….

(3) DISABILITY METAPHORS. The Our Words launch included reposting “Corinne Duyvis on Minding Your Metaphors”, which first appeared on SF Signal in 2014.

I’m a co-founder of the website Disability in Kidlit as well as an author who regularly writes disabled characters; both my recently published fantasy novel Otherbound and my upcoming sci-fi novel On the Edge of Gone feature disabled protagonists. On top of that, I’m disabled myself. It’s pretty safe to say I’m a huge fan of disability representation. Specifically, I’m a fan of accurate, respectful, and textual disability representation.

However, when writing science fiction and fantasy, it doesn’t just stop at featuring textually disabled characters. Many SFF stories contain disability metaphors. These span a wide range—from purposeful to unintentional, from obvious to subtle, and from well-done to inadvertently offensive.

(4) SWIRSKY ASKS. Rachel Swirsky conducts a “Silly interview with Spencer Ellsworth whose bedpost notches are real people”.

…Every time I see Spencer, I always ask the same question. You see, several years ago when Ann Leckie was running Giganotosaurus, I sometimes did first-round reading for her. And while Ann and I have very similar taste, we don’t have identical taste. So once in a while we’d come up against a story that I was jazzed about, but that didn’t quite cross her threshold. So every time I see Spencer, I ask about that one story that got away…

(5) PKD COMES TO TV. io9 has the story: “Philip K. Dick Is Getting an Anthology Show, Courtesy of Bryan Cranston and Ronald D. Moore”.

“Ronald D. Moore, Bryan Cranston, and Philip K. Dick” are three names you probably never expected to see in the same sentence together. But that’s what’s happening as the longtime scifi producer and the acclaimed actor are teaming up to bring the legendary writer’s work to TV in a new anthology series for the UK.

Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K. Dick will be a 10-part miniseries written by Moore, who will executively produce alongside Michael Dinner (Justified, Masters of Sex) and Bryan Cranston, who will also star in the series itself. Each episode will be a standalone story that illustrates Dick’s “prophetic vision” and “[celebrates] the enduring appeal” of the writer’s past work. Isa Dick Hackett, whose past work includes The Adjustment Bureau and The Man in the High Castle and is Dick’s daughter, will also produce the show.

(6) WILLIAM SCHALLERT OBIT. His best known role was as the dad in The Patty Duke Show, but William Schallert appeared in dozens of series in a career that spanned eight decades (1947-2014). He passed away May 8.

Most fans would consider the peak of his sf career to be playing Nilz Baris, under secretary in charge of agricultural affairs for the United Federation of Planets, in Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode.

Schallert on Star Trek

His genre work started with many bit parts, like the uncredited Gas Station Attendant in Mighty Joe Young (1949), and most of the time he was a supporting actor. IMDB shows he was in The Man From Planet X (1951), Space Patrol (1951-52), Invasion U.S.A. (1952), Gog (1954), Them! (1954), Tobor the Great (1954), Commando Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe (1955), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Monolith Monsters (1957), Men into Space (1960), The Twilight Zone (1960), One Step Beyond (1959), The Wild, Wild West (1967-69), Land of the Giants (1969), Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974), The Bionic Woman (1976), Legends of the Superheroes (1979), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), The Twilight Zone (revived series) (1986), Quantum Leap (1989), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994).

Schallert recorded this promo for MeTV in April 2014 when he was 91 years old.

Schallert featured in one of the Patty Duke Show themed PSA’s the Social Security Administration put online in 2010.

(7) SLATE THOUGHTS. Gary Denton of the Nightly Nerd News said as part of a long comment on Facebook:

I agree that slates violate the intention of the Hugo Awards that individuals should only nominate what they enjoyed and thought worthy of an award for best of the year. I also believe all elections eventually come to be dominated by parties and people have a right to oppose parties or support parties. Just don’t vote blindly folks, have an opinion on each item, don’t follow orders.

I believe that E Pluribus Hugo will only lessen the problem with slates, 20% of voters all following orders on how to vote even with votes on each ballots fractionalized will still allow disciplined Fascists treating this as a show of strength to dominate the ballot. Fascist is the correct term here, they are blindly following orders on what to vote for.

A digression, I dislike the editor nominations. Samples of what they actually did that year need to be included and that seems problematic. On all awards you need to have samples if not the whole thing to cast an informed vote, otherwise it is a popularity contest. If I can’t determine what they worked on last year and make a guess at how well they did they won’t get a vote from me. It is easier with short form editors. Wow, that magazine or anthology had a lot of amazing stories, that editor deserves an award…

(8) IT AIN’T ME. Max Florschutz processes a conflict some young writers have: “Being A Better Writer: Author Morals and Character Morals” at Unusual Things.

…Think about the last book that you read or movie that you watched that has a dangerous, unstable, or otherwise alarming character in it. Maybe they were a sleazy scumbag, or maybe a serial killer. A ruthless businessman, or an unscrupulous social worker. Basically, a character that was dangerous, alarming, or perhaps just unstable.

Now think about that character in relation to the author. And here’s where today’s topic comes into play. Do you think that because the author created a character like that, it means that they are, in some way, like that character?

The obvious—and correct—answer is no. I’ll say that again for emphasis, no, it does not. And this is where we run once more back into the question that plagues so many young writers: how can they write characters like that despite being nothing like them?

The trick is that for many this is not a question of being able to write good characters or filling their pages with creative prose. That’s not the consideration at all.

No, what a lot of these young writers are asking is how you deal with writing a character that’s not just different from themselves, but is different in a way that they find morally objectionable….

Yeah, some of you might be chuckling right now or even laughing and shaking your heads, but this is a real barrier that a lot of young writers run into. There’s a real question of where they stand on their own feet while writing characters that may hold different views than the, attitudes, or morals than them….

These characters are not you. They will swear. They will fight. They will make poor choices and good ones. As the author writing these characters, separate what they believe from what you believe because, unless you’re writing self-inserts (common enough), these characters are going to be as different from you as anyone else you meet in your life, and their emotions, thoughts, and other assorted things are theirs, not yours. That distinction is important. Your morals, ethics, and concepts, the stuff that makes you a person is not the same as theirs.

For instance, I am not a sociopath serial killer who stalks young couples. But one of my characters, Amacitia Varay, is. That doesn’t mean that I agree at all with her mentality, or the things that she says, or at all in any way what she does (all of which you can read about in the pages of Unusual Events). But I wrote the story … and it was her story, from her perspective and about her beliefs.

(9) MEET THE NEIGHBORS. Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn has learned Anime Midwest (July 8-10) will be sharing space with a porn convention:

In a bizarre coincidence, this year Anime Midwest will end up sharing the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center [in Rosemont, IL] with the Exxxotica Expo, a touring convention for “Adult Entertainment.” Exxxotica bills itself as “the Largest Adult Event in the USA Dedicated to Love & Sex.”

While Anime Midwest’s management (I’m just guessing) probably wants to distance themselves from Exxxotica publicly, Exxxotica management has embraced the proximity between events. Apparently, anyone with an Anime Midwest badge is being offered discounted admission to the porn expo and is planning “adult anime” events including a cosplay contest and “sexy anime seminars.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

This is… probably terrible? Pretty sure this is terrible. Frankly, many anime convention attendees are under the age of 18, and the idea that these underage attendees are going to be in immediate proximity of this kind of event doesn’t really do anyone any good. There are a list of bad things happen from the merely uncomfortable to the dangerous that are racing through my head.

I want to be clear that this is patently not Anime Midwest’s fault. It’s not a big enough event to rent the entirety of the Stephens Convention Center (which also is the home to the much larger Anime Central), and they cannot control what the owners of the site do with the space they don’t have under contract. We’re not huge fans of AnimeCon.org around here (for both obvious and not so obvious reasons), but honest to god there is no way they could have seen this coming.

(10) HOGWARTS. Costume sketches from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

(11) WILLIS, WHITE, AND IAN MCDONALD. Visual Artists Ireland says Richard Howard will speak about The Secret History of Northern Irish Science Fiction at the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry on May 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Using the exhibition Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (ending May 21st, info here) as a point of departure, this talk will sketch the history of a science fiction tradition in Northern Ireland. Beginning in the late nineteenth century with Robert Cromie, it will trace the development of this tradition in the region, a tradition solidified by Belfast natives Walt Willis and James White, who instigated the Irish Fandom science fiction group in the 1940s and produced the fanzines Slant and Hyphen. Willis and White were eventually joined by Bob Shaw, one of the most prolific science fiction authors the region has produced. Shaw and White’s own efforts in the genre from the mid-twentieth century to its end will also be discussed; short stories and novels that were received in the context of the international science fiction community, but that extrapolated from and estranged the material conditions of Northern Irish society. As the latest iteration of the tradition, there are many schisms within the genre that separates the work of Ian McDonald from those that came before him. The paper will nevertheless attempt to propose a unified theory of Northern Irish science fiction, if only to detect the remainders and contradictions that might answer the questions: to whom is Northern Irish science fiction a secret and why?

(12) IS CAPTAIN JACK COMING BACK? Den of Geek speculates whether Captain Jack will be appearing on Doctor Who.

After he brought back Alex Kingston’s River Song for last year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, it’s starting to look like Steven Moffat may repeat the trick this year by bringing back another long-time absentee from the supporting cast for a festive reprive.

John Barrowman has teased that he has work in Cardiff in the near future, which has led the internet to suggest that he could be appearing in the 2016 Doctor Who Christmas special. Or maybe even the spin-off series, Class.

For the record, all Barrowman said – while promoting his new book in a Welsh Waterstones – was that “I will be back in Cardiff in about a week and a half… but I’m not telling you what for!”

That’s enough to get a rumour started, since the Welsh capital is synonymous with the production of Doctor Who at this stage. Perhaps it’s a bit soon to get excited, but the idea of Captain Jack Harkness bantering with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is a tantalising proposition, isn’t it?

(13) LONDON ROBOT EXHIBIT NEXT YEAR. The London Science Museum’s 2017 show about robots in the Daily Mail is accompanied by a small photo gallery.

Throughout history, artists and scientists have sought to understand what it means to be human and create machines in our own image.

Soon, a new exhibition will explore our obsession to recreate ourselves, revealing the remarkable 500-year history of humanoid robots.

The forthcoming show at London’s Science Museum will include a collection of more than 100 robots from a 16th-century mechanical monk to robots from science fiction and modern-day research lab.

Set in five different periods and places, this exhibition will explore how robots and society have been shaped by religious belief, the industrial revolution, 20th century popular culture and dreams about the future.

As well as celebrating machines of the past, the exhibition will examine scientists’ quest to build ever more complex and human-like robots that are able to learn from their mistakes and express emotions.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group said: ‘This exhibition explores the uniquely human obsession of recreating ourselves, not through paint or marble but in metal.

Seeing robots through the eyes of those who built or gazed in awe at them reveals much about humanity’s hopes, fears and dreams.’ …

The Science Museum has also launched a Kickstarter campaign that will pay to rebuild Eric, the UK’s first robot.

Originally built in 1928 by Captain Richards and AH Reffell, Eric was one of the world’s first robots and travelled the world to amaze curious crowds in the UK, US and Europe before disappearing.

If the full £35,000 ($50,596 is raised, the historic replica will become part of the museum’s permanent collection, as well as featuring in the Robots exhibition. It will also travel the world as part of the exhibition’s international tour, just like the original Eric did 90 years ago.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Will R., James H. Burns, JJ, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peace Is My Middle Name.]

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227 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/10/16 Who Scrolls There?

  1. In what way was it unclear and was the lack of clarity a function of transmission or reception? Perhaps it isn’t what I imply, but is instead what you infer?

    If multiple people find your meaning unclear, the problem probably isn’t with the reception.

  2. Scroll items!

    (9) MEET THE NEIGHBORS. Moral panic! Think of the children! . . . who, uh, won’t be able to go to the XXX event next door, and are more likely to hit on porn stars than XXX attendees are to hit on kids. (yawn) BTW, “no way they could have seen this coming.” – obvious joke, but minor LOL, sure. 😉

    (13) LONDON ROBOT EXHIBIT NEXT YEAR. Ooh, some nice robots. I like vintage tin (?) robots and have a couple on my desk at work. (Well, the ones I have may be fake vintage – no idea, really.)


    @Hampus Eckerman on page 1 & Will R. much later: ROFLMAO at your Tingle-Heinlein crossover titles! Hehehe. These would be for sale at the XXX convention mentioned in #9, no doubt. Bringing things full circle.

    @Iphinome: “EETA Filers destroy Heinlein?” – Nailed it!

    @Various: LOLs to all of you Heinlein Destroyers. 😀

    @dann665: Butcher’s quite late to the steampunk party (even if you’re not saying he or steampunk’s overlooked…wait, what were you saying?!). Also, regarding this:

    With five finalists and thousands of books published each year, Isn’t it possible for a needle or two to be missed in the haystack?

    LOL, well, a lot of non-Puppies have said this ad nauseum to Puppies for over a year now.

    @Rob Thornton: I’m also not really into steampunk. Usually I feel like the odd one out, what with the steampunk craze over the past however-many-years (forever, it feels like).

    @Andrew M: IMHO Girl Genius is steampunk, and okay, you’ve mentioned one steampunk I actually like! Heh. I mean, it’s more than steampunk, but to me it’s steampunk, and they use a lot of steampunk trappings for them to say it’s not. But whatever, I guess it’s one of those they wrote it as X, I read it as Y things. (But seriously, they even dress up steampunky when presenting awards and speaking and stuff.)

    @Xtifr: Aaaaand some of us just aren’t into humor. I have no interest in Tom Holt, for example, but that’s not a “blind spot.” I may be unusual in not being into homorous SFF, though.

  4. @Kendall: I was surprised to learn that KJ Parker and Tom Holt were the same person. I really enjoyed Parker’s short fiction but I struggle through anything of Holt’s.

  5. @Oneiros: I think Holt’s historical fiction is in some ways more similar to Parker’s work – Meadowland, for example.

  6. So what was left out?

    Your meaning.

    Maybe….just maybe….this is the type of work that has been bypassed in recent years because WorldCon voters have been focused* elsewhere?

    What “type” of work are you referring to? You’ve said “not Butcher”. You’ve said “not steampunk”. What “type” of work are you talking about being overlooked? Everything in your muttering here hinges on that, and yet you didn’t explain what you meant in your original post and have continued to tap dance around explaining since then.

  7. What “type” of work are you referring to? You’ve said “not Butcher”. You’ve said “not steampunk”. What “type” of work are you talking about being overlooked?

    I admit, I’m curious, too. If it’s not Butcher’s voice and not steampunk, I have no idea what the implication was. (And every so often in Puppy-related discussions, especially in defenses of slated authors, I get the sense that people are using a shorthand they’re not explaining, so people who don’t share their reading experiences have no idea what they’re trying to say. This feels like a rare opportunity to see behind the shorthand to the meaning.)

  8. OK….you asked for it.

    That doesn’t actually answer the question. It answers the question ‘What books does Dann like”, but it doesn’t answer the question of “the type of work that has been bypassed in recent years” by Worldcon voters. Because I look at the list of nominees and winners over the last couple of years and see lists that are brimming full of books that do the things you describe in your post.

  9. Dann: I like that spent some time focusing on what you like. I think the incoherence of the “check boxes” section stems from your being between understandings and on your way, I think, to a better one.

  10. Thanks, Jim. I like to think that SFF has been a part of a lifelong effort to be a better person. My hope is that I’m not alone on the path.


  11. Dann, despite my slightly frustrated tone on today’s thread (I’m cooling off from another argument and I apologize for not counting to ten first), I do appreciate the time you put into this, and the thoughtfulness with which you approach what you read. Thank you for that. And, like Jim, I think there’s a lot of value in sharing what we love about books and what makes them great, both personally and to the wider SFF community. Focusing on the joy we get from a book is a generous and more celebratory approach to take, brings a lot more appreciation to bear on the work, and makes everyone’s experience better.

  12. Dann: Every time I see someone complaining about checking boxes specifically, IE adding in *diverse* character details unnecessarily, I suspect one of two things:

    1 – they may be carrying around prejudices they haven’t yet worked out. If you are significantly more annoyed at a policeman we see for one scene making a passing reference to his boyfriend than you are to one referencing his girlfriend, well, both the boyfriend and the girlfriend are equally unnecessary intrusions of characterization, so the problem is probably actual discomfort with real world diversity. (Please note this doesn’t make one a bad person; it means you have to think a bit more about WHY one is more intrusive than the other.)

    2 – If BOTH annoy you equally, you may simply be putting the wrong name to the phenomenon that Jo Walton describes here, which is about spending too much time on plot-irrelevant “Characterization” as a whole: In Praise of Cardboard

    Just a few thoughts, incomplete.

  13. @brightglance:

    I am way, way too late replying to this, but thanks for the heads-up on Holt’s historical fiction. I’ll give him another shot and see if I like that any better.

  14. @Lenora

    Sorry for the delay. I think #2 covers me pretty well.

    I’m annoyed if the policeman is described as an expert at fly fishing if fly fishing (or something related to it) doesn’t occur elsewhere in the story.

    e.g. “Officer Shmuckatelli, an expert at fly fishing, pulled over the speeding car.”


  15. e.g. “Officer Shmuckatelli, an expert at fly fishing, pulled over the speeding car.”

    That’s simply an example of bad exposition. It would be bad even if his knowledge of fly-fishing were totally relevant to the plot!

    “Any plans for the weekend?” Officer Leadingquery asked, as the speeding car hurtled by.

    “Same as every weekend: fly fishing” replied Shmuckatelli as he reached to turn on the siren.

  16. **chuckle**

    Well done on all counts.

    Xtifr, that is a good counter example that illustrates some of what I’m getting at. Sexual orientation presented as part of the native character experience does not seem forced. By comparison, chucking in a character with a laundry list of descriptors is poor exposition, and it comes across as check box writing to me.

    Seveneves has one of those moments. A character exists for about a score of pages. He’s introduced as a gay, Korean-Canadian. His sexuality has zero impact on his actions within the story before he dies. Neither does his Korean-Canadian-ness. That descriptive line in the book is superfluous, IMHO.

    Seveneves also has what is implied to be some variant of transgendered individual that is quite well fleshed out.


  17. “Seveneves has one of those moments. A character exists for about a score of pages. He’s introduced as a gay, Korean-Canadian. His sexuality has zero impact on his actions within the story before he dies. Neither does his Korean-Canadian-ness. That descriptive line in the book is superfluous, IMHO.

    You know, many books have descriptions of peoples clothing or their appearance. A green dress. A redhaired woman. Very seldom do the colour of the dress or hair have impact on the persons actions. Do you mean that all descriptions that aren’t necessary to the plot should be removed? Or only those mentioning someone belonging to a minority?

  18. @Dann
    Would the descriptions in #1 bother you as much as the ones in #2 if you came across them in your reading for a secondary or lesser character?

    1. Character description:
    A. Male, brown eyes, brown hair, has a wife and kids
    B. Big brawny male, raven hair, black eyes, has a girlfriend whose shorter, leaner, and a great cook

    2. Character description:
    A. Female, brown skin, golden eyes, has a wife and kids
    B. Big brawny male, raven haired Wabanaki tribe American Indian, black eyes, has a boyfriend whose Cherokee, shorter, leaner, and a great cook

  19. Yeah, I call b***s*** here. I suspect if these people had their lab coats, hair color, accent, mannerisms, or other non-plot-triggering characteristics described, it wouldn’t bother anyone. Also, I’m not sure comparing fly fishing with some other characteristics really makes sense. Of course, I haven’t read Seveneves, so maybe it was clumsily done; or maybe it was just part of making characters slightly less one-dimensional; or maybe it had a point that some folks missed; or maybe it’s somewhere in between.

    I’ve read a lot of SF with an international team of scientists, for example. It’s usually irrelevant to the plot where each one is specifically from, but it’s usually mentioned and works fine for me as part of fleshing out the characters and showing that yeah, they’re not all from Akron, Ohio. Least believable international team ever- the one where everyone’s apparently all from the same place.

    /ramble! 😉

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