Pixel Scroll 5/14/16 Lucy In The Scroll With Pixels

Happy astronomy day

(1) HAPPY ASTRONOMY DAY. Tech Times recommends celebrating the day by perusing the photos on its favorite Instagram accounts.

Thanks to astronomy, we are now aware of the beauty, wonders and mysteries of space. International Astronomy Day, on May 14, marks the discoveries and achievements we’ve made in the field. You can get even closer to astronomy by visiting your local planetarium, checking out any special Astronomy Day events in your area or even by enjoying a quiet night in the peace of your own backyard gazing up at the stars. You can also find a lot of resources online about astronomy, as well as sites that feature some of the most beautiful and intimate photos taken of space. Instagram in particular hosts a variety of photos, some by astronauts who are in space right now and who wish to share the beauty of the stars with others. Here are the best Instagram accounts to check out this International Astronomy Day.


Probably the most obvious account to follow on Instagram is NASA, which posts photos on a regular basis of many of its discoveries and images related to new discoveries. There’s always something beautiful to see here, and you might just learn a little more about astronomy in the process.


(3) RACHEL SWIRSKY. Swirsky did a ”Silly Interview with Na’amen Tilahun, Aspiring Prince Impersonator” on Thursday.

Na’amen Tilahun has been around the science fiction scene for a long time — as a fan, a convention attendee, and a bookstore clerk. And now as a novelist! His debut novel, The Root, is coming out in June. I blurbed it:

“Na‘amen Tilahun‘s novel will make readers searching for variety in their SFF diets squeal with delight. The detailed world-building is strange and wondrous.”

And on Friday, she made a reading “Recommendation: Saving Slave Leia by Sandra MacDonald”.

Sandra McDonald is one of my favorite working short story writers. Her humor is often both warm *and* sly, her satires sharp but empathetic. She has some amazing funny and irreverant stories about drag queen astronauts and sexy robot cowboys, but one of her other favorite topics to lampoon is Hollywood.

“Searching for Slave Leia”–as you might expect–is one of the latter. Sandra McDonald hits a perfect point where humor and metafiction let her really dig into human emotion. Also, Star Wars.

Searching for Save Leia” by Sandra McDonald…

(4) BACK IN FASHION. John King Tarpinian splurged for some Turkish delight. As you Wikipedia readers know, Bob:

Turkish delight features as the addictive confection to which Edmund Pevensie succumbs in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C. S. Lewis. Sales of Turkish delight rose following the theatrical release of the 2005 film version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

(5) DARWYN COOKE. Almost Darwyn Cooke’s Blog announced that he passed away overnight.

We regret to inform you that Darwyn lost his battle with cancer early this morning at 1:30 AM ET. We read all of your messages of support to him throughout the day yesterday. He was filled with your love and surrounded by friends and family at his home in Florida.

Donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society and Hero Initiative.

Please continue to respect our privacy as we go through this very difficult time.


(7) BEAUTIFUL FREE BOOKS. Here’s someone who scored big at last night’s SFWA signing….

(8) STINKERS. Suvudu is so right about its “Eleven Cringeworthy Sci-Fi Series From the Eighties” I even cringed to read the synopses. You’ve been warned.

Automan: Police department IT geek Walter Nebicher (”Nebbish“, get it?) bonds with a powerful artificial intelligence that can create whatever he needs in his fight against crime. “Whatever” meaning cars, mostly. The AI manifests as a digital avatar known as “cursor”. It was a different time. This was created by the producers of TRON, by the way

(9) PIRATICAL PUPPY PLAY. The Orlando Fringe will host The Space Pirate Puppy Musical from May 18-30. The Tasty Monster Productions site does not answer whether it has anything to do with the Hugos.

The+Space+Pirate+Puppy+Musical!Earth has gone to the dogs, literally. After “the incident” humans have gone underground and into space leaving dogs to run the planet. But the Space Pirates have decided that they need to pave over Earth to put up a parking lot for their new nightclub on the moon. The Puppies have to join forces with their arch enemies the Ninja Kittens and along with the assistance of the Great Oracle, must seek the power of the greatest weapon they’ve never heard of. Epic adventures and battles ensue and along the way, we learn a deep, dark secret…or three. Will the Puppies turn tail and run? Will the Ninja Kittens, ooh string. Can the Earth be saved from certain construction?  Will it all end in discord or harmony?

Written by Heather Bagnall and directed by Luke Tudball, with original music and lyrics by multi award-winning New York composer Steve Schalchlin. Original artwork by Seamus Corbett.

Somebody *coff*Camestros**coff** ought to ask Timothy the Talking Cat.

(10) FUNERAL FOR OLD PUBLISHING. Brian Keene has a lot to say about “How the Mid-List Died” at Cemetary Dance Online.

The mid-list is gone. Borders is gone. But that doesn’t matter, because over the last twenty years, we’ve had a new thing come along—something called the Internet. With it came Amazon, and suddenly, mid-list writers didn’t have to play a rigged game anymore. Our books had a shelf life beyond that one to three month span. Readers could find us, discover us, and find our backlist. If your local chain bookstore didn’t have our latest, you could buy it online.

Which brings us back to the start of this column. The number one question I am most often asked is, “Why can’t I buy all of your books at Barnes and Noble?”

To understand why, you need to consider the changes that have taken place in publishing over the last twenty years, particularly those that took place after the demise of the mid-list and the closure of Borders. After those things occurred many mid-list, cult, or genre authors decided to take advantage of the advances in digital and print-on-demand publishing and do it for themselves. They cut out the publisher, cut out the chain stores, and marketed directly to the readers. For example, Bryan Smith, who was inarguably one of Dorchester’s most popular horror writers, began self-publishing via Kindle and CreateSpace and has since made more money from that than he ever did through traditional publishers. Other authors, such as myself, decided to diversify their publication routes. Since Dorchester’s fall, I’ve routinely divided my releases between self-publishing (via Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle), the small press (via publishers such as Deadite Press and Apex Book Company), and mainstream publishing (via big publishing conglomerates such as Macmillan). I do this because I don’t like having all my eggs in one basket. Your mileage may vary.

(11) WE ALL LIVE IN A GENRE SUBMARINE. Steve Davidson at Amazing Stories holds forth on “The Birth of a New (sub-?) Genre”.

I was on the hook for an editorial subject for today (it’s been a little tough concentrating these days given our personal circumstance), so I hopped on over to File 770 to peruse the daily Pixel Scroll. I can usually find something over there upsetting or bothersome enough to get the juices flowing.

No such luck, I thought, even AFTER reading the comments. (What’s up Mike? I can almost always pull an editorial subject out of the File, either from the entries, the commentary, visiting the linked posts/pages/sites or, at last resort, the comments on the linked to items for some Fourth Level Upset).

Even though File 770 fell down on the job, Steve got an editorial out of Timothy the Talking Cat’s new There Will Be Walrus collection, which has more than enough provocative material to get anyone steamed up.

(12) A BETTING FAN. The Traveler at Galactic Journey thinks he has my number as well, and it isn’t five. See “[May 14, 1961] Friendly Disputes (June 1961 Analog)”.

Now for the disputable ones.  Analog is the most conservative of the mags.  It’s generally Terran-centric, with Earthlings portrayed as the most cunning, successful beings in the galaxy (which is why, of course, most aliens look just like us).  While the serialized novels in Analog are often excellent, the accompanying short stories tend to be uninspiring.  The science fact columns are awful.  Editor John Campbell’s championing of psionics and reactionless engines (in real-life, not just fiction), crosses into the embarrassing.  All these factors make Analog the weakest of the Big Three magazines, consistently lagging in quality behind Galaxy and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Of course, Mike disagrees.  He’s even wagered that Analog will take the Hugo award for Best Science Fiction Magazine this year.  I think he’s dreaming.  F&SF has won three years in a row, and barring some unexpected decline in quality, it will do so again.

I’ll take that bet, Mike Glyer!  Two beers to your one.

I’ll have to start investigating what the good beers are in 1961. Pabst Blue Ribbon was the sponsor of those Friday night fights I watched on TV with my father. Of course, in 1961 I am only 8 — perhaps I should be wagering a nonalcoholic beverage….


(14) KAIJU REDO. According to CinemaBlend “Pacific Rim 2 Just Took A Major Step Forward, Get The Details”.

We’ve just learned that Pacific Rim 2 has taken a Kaiju-sized step forward by enlisting a new screenwriter to polish the script

According to a recent report from THR, it seems that Pacific Rim 2 has brought screenwriter Derek Connolly on board. It appears that he will work alongside current director Steven S. DeKnight – who helped shepherd the first season of Netflix’s hit series Daredevil – with regards to fine-tuning the story and bringing the sequel to life. The report also confirms that Guillermo del Toro remains firmly committed to the project, albeit in a producing role, rather than as the film’s director.

(15) FIREFLY HOMAGE. JJ recommends The Verse, a fan film from a couple years ago, but as we say here, it’s always news to somebody.

Written for fans and by fans who are inspired by the cult sci-fi series “Firefly”. An exciting new look at this beloved world featuring a new crew, a new ship and a heaping dose of misbehavin’!


(16) SUPER TROOPERS. JJ also made sure we didn’t miss “Boogie Storm make Simon’s dream come true!” — Britain’s Got Talent 2016.

(17) BONUS NEBULA COVERAGE. Beautiful photos from tonight’s banquet and awards ceremony.

Henry Lien leads the Eunuchs of the Forbidden City in “Radio SFWA.”

[Thanks to Will R., David K.M. Klaus, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Christian Brunschen.]

116 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/14/16 Lucy In The Scroll With Pixels

  1. Link for the Hugo ballot just arrived. I’ll be waiting for the packet for most things, but was able to go in and get a head start on No Awarding in a few categories. Sigh.

  2. The text explicitly says it’s enchanted turkish delight, so.

    Big Turk is just a lump ruining chocolate. I’ve bought a number of attempts at turkish delight that were mediocre or worse. But the reason I LOOK is that I have had turkish delight that practically melted in my mouth, and where the rose was a nice complement to the low sweetness, and vastly better than the “Bad perfume” effect I’ve had elsewhere. The fact that the really good stuff was in some packaging with virtually no English that looked like it could only be found at an import shop (if not exclusively overseas) might have something to do with it.

    And the pistachio flavoured stuff is usually nice.

  3. When I was in Spokane for Sasquan I specifically looked around for Aplets and Cotlets aka rahat locoum, a Pacific Northwest treat I remembered from my childhood, but I was unsuccessful.

    I always got the feeling there was some snob appeal to Edmund’s taste in candy. He went for the type of thing most likely to show up in a fancy gift box decorated with foil and swirly letters as opposed to ordinary penny candy eaten by plebes and nobodies.

  4. @Charon D. on May 15, 2016 at 8:52 am

    I’m sad you weren’t able to find any Aplets and Cotlets in Spokane, although now that I think about it, we usually got them from stands off the highway.

    The first time I had halvah I had the mistaken impression that it was Turkish Delight and thought it was pretty awesome.

  5. I’m sad you weren’t able to find any Aplets and Cotlets in Spokane, although now that I think about it, we usually got them from stands off the highway.

    I’ve often seen them in stores here in the Portland area. (My grandparents, many years ago, loved them so I grew up with them around the house.)

  6. Hugo Voting is open, but you might want to hold off for a bit. I logged in to make some initial choices, but got a receipt back which was very different from what I entered. I logged back in, found that those were the choices saved, cleared everything, and re-entered. Second receipt was still wrong. Went back in, cleared everything, and saved the blank ballot. Third receipt was completely filled out.

    I’ve emailed them, and they responded quickly that they would look into what happened. Seems like my ballot and possible more than one other person are overwriting each other. In some cases, more than one item was at the same rank which the form doesn’t actually let you do.

  7. (8) Hey! I liked Misfits of Science! Sometime I’ll have to check out how badly the suck fairy has hit it… no, I think I can guess.

  8. @Laura: They’ve taken it down:

    (oops, there was a minor online ballot formatting issue, we’re fixing it now)

  9. Laura:

    I reported similar problems with the nominating ballot for this year’s Hugos (duplicate items overwriting entries that should have been there, and items simply vanishing). The person handling it asked me for details, because, he said, nothing like this had ever been reported before.

    Like yours, my first thought had been to correct my ballot, so I was able to send him the anomalous receipts, but not a link to the actual wrong ballot. But you might mention to whoever is investigating this that it looks very similar to the bug that I reported during the nominating phase.

  10. Attention UK-based Filers:

    Walter Jon Williams’ Hardwired is on sale for £0.99 at the moment.

  11. @rob_matic One of my favourite books. Also worth tracking down is the supplement he wrote for for R. Talsorian’s Cyberpunk RPG based on it. It, like the novella Solip:System work as a bridge to the space opera future of Voice Of The Whirlwind.

  12. Kyra – Good to hear that Moriarty series is good. I’ve been meaning to read it since I enjoyed her Ashbury High series novels.

  13. OK, yes, something is definitely hosed with the ballot because my response emails (which took a while to arrive) have a ranked set of novel votes that I never entered. Sigh.

  14. Okay, here I am. The party can start now!

    I liked Cotlets better than Applets, I seem to recall. Still missing Walnetto.

  15. Kyra:

    Thank you thank you!I knew the third Madeline book was out sometime this year, but I hadn’t thought to check for it in a while. I just picked up the whole trilogy on Kindle so I can reread the first two before the new one.

    For anyone who likes YA and hasn’t read Moriarty yet, I recommend her wholeheartedly. She writes cheerful, funny books with likable characters, usually Australian high schoolers, with a predilection for epistolary formats. Besides the Colors of Madeline trilogy, which is fantasy, her first couple of novels involve students at two Sydney schools–the main characters change, but the cast of previous books wander through the background occasionally. They’re not SFF, but I think would appeal to a lot of SFF readers. I suggest starting with Feeling Sorry For Celia, my favorite of them. Don’t start with The Spellbook of Listen Taylor or The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie. (Spellbook is easily the weakest; despite the title, it’s not actually SFF, and it’s rather bizarrely balanced between a Moriarty-typical young protagonist and a focus on middle-aged infidelity. Murder, which does not have an actual murder in it, is excellent but required a certain amount of established trust in the author for me to get past the initially grating viewpoint character.) I’m using the American titles; I think the original Australian titles are different.

  16. I thought the name Jaclyn Moriarty sounded familiar. Sure enough, I picked up the first book in that trilogy, A Corner of White, when it was the B&N Free Friday book a week or so ago. Most have been a promo because of the final book coming out. Been a long time since I’ve seen a traditional publisher do a first-in-series freebie, even that briefly.

    Hmm, seems the Hugo Voting ballot went live before it was actually ready. Latest tweet from MACII says:

    The online ballot for Hugo Voting inadvertently opened a couple of hours early. Hugo voting will open later this afternoon. Apologies!

  17. @ JJ: I’m absolutely with you about “rose”-flavored anything. And then it gets in the back of my throat and I continue to taste it for the rest of the day. 🙁 I’ve had to learn to be cautious about pastilles; I like the mint-flavored ones, but sometimes you get Rose Surprise by mistake. Turkish Delight, when I’ve been able to find any that isn’t rose, is… still pretty awful.

    There’s a Pakistani version of an ice-cream float called “falooda” which looks fascinating but I will never be able to try because the one invariant ingredient in it is rose syrup.

  18. Next movie: House. Japanese cult movie from 1977 about a bunch of schoolgirls who unknowingly take a summer holiday in a haunted house. Surrealistic, campy, weird and sometimes horrible. A very strange mix. Impossible to say if I recommend this.

    Like a campy, funnier version of Eraserhead.

  19. Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams is also on sale in the US for 99 cents.

    ETA: Look for Hardwired (Complete Novel) because it was also serialized.

  20. @rob_matic

    Also for UK based filers – Chris Beckett’s The Holy Machine is £0.99p.

  21. Speaking of voting, have anyone heard anything about when the Hugo packet will be available?

  22. andyl on May 15, 2016 at 11:28 am said:

    Also for UK based filers – Chris Beckett’s The Holy Machine is £0.99p.

    Ah, nice one. I’ve read and enjoyed some of his short fiction and Dark Eden was excellent. The TBR pile is certainly growing today!

  23. Since I’ve never tried Turkish Delight, I’m forced to find another topic…

    Hampus Eckerman on May 15, 2016 at 5:51 am said:

    Another movie: The Dish. Australian low key comedy about the a team in charge of the satellite dish receiving the televised pictures of the moon landing. A sweet little story, with naive and goodhearted people a bit out of their element. Feelgood for a rainy day.

    Second this. One of my favorite Sam Neill movies. It’s very loosely based on real events of the first moon landing, but from what I’ve heard, even the folks that were there don’t much mind the liberties it takes with the facts, simply because it is so charming.

    The movie is named for the radio telescope in Parkes, NSW, Australia. My brother was there in a professional capacity back in the nineties, and he reports that the titular dish and, even more so, the control room, are smaller than they look in the movie. And they look pretty small there. Also, on the subject of “divided by a common language”: He had trouble finding transportation from Sydney to Parkes until he realized that Australians don’t pronounce their Rs. Once he started asking how to get to “Pox”, it was no trouble at all. 🙂

  24. Hampus –
    I validate your feelings about House. (Hausu!) The cat… And the musical number… Well, it was certainly an interesting piano death? I recommend House as an experience, but not necessarily as a film.

  25. Turkish Delight is probably sweet, I’ll grant you. One of my favorite guilty pleasures (guiltier than ever now) is a Big Hunk bar, which I used to think was a good way to avoid fat, as each large bar has about a gram of fat (probably due to the peanuts). All the rest is sugar and emulsifier.

    Probably just as well that the last place around here that could get me any Big Hunks went away around the same time my doctor mentioned diabetes as an exciting new lifestyle option.

    Still, when I went out west (just then, when I wasn’t posting here) and encountered a box of Big Hunks at Vern’s, I actually ate one. Ooh, and it was good, too. Mmm. Death Bar.

  26. Johan P.: Don’t know when the packet comes online, can only say they have my submissions!

  27. Johan P:
    According to the “Hugo Voting is Open” mail the 2015 packet should be available on May 23, the retro packet soon after.

  28. Is anybody else reading _Too Like The Lightning_? I just started it and I’m getting a real “this is pretty damn different” charge out of it. I think the last time I reacted this way was _Anathem_, or possibly _Ancillary Justice_. It’s not that the book is *like* those other books exactly–it is just similarly different from everything else I’ve read, if that makes sense?

    I picked it up basically because I think of Palmer as a fellow filker but this is … It’s early in the story yet to say whether my mind will be blown, but I can feel it inflating.

  29. I’m pretty sure that I used to watch ‘The Powers or Matthew Star’ pretty regularly, but I can’t remember a thing about it. I do remember that Automan had a sidekick named ‘Cursor’, who would draw the vehicles Automan needed.

    @Xtifr- Parks is not ‘Pox’ so much as ‘Pahkes’, only the ‘ah’ comes from the nose not the throat. In addition to the radio telescope, the town hosts an annual Elvis festival, as I discovered on a particularly surreal train ride.

  30. Cat: Is anybody else reading _Too Like The Lightning_? I just started it and I’m getting a real “this is pretty damn different” charge out of it.

    I’m 10th on the waiting list for when my library receives its 4 copies, so it’ll probably be a few weeks before I get to read it. But your reaction certainly has me intrigued.

  31. Aplets & Cotlets are generally available in grocery stores here year-round, though the fancier versions with more varieties of fruits, berries and nuts may only show up around Christmas. A friend has characterized them as “what Turkish delight would like to be, but isn’t.” ;->

  32. @Cat
    Yeah, its definitely different and strange and I am going to have a very difficult time reviewing it. Not because I didn’t love it, but because in many ways its so unique.

  33. I think Aplets and Cotlets are essentially tasteless — proper lokoum is far better. I don’t know if A&C used to be better than they are now. They’re readily available in Seattle (Bartell Drugs has them, for instance).

  34. BGHilton on May 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm said:

    @Xtifr- Parks is not ‘Pox’ so much as ‘Pahkes’, only the ‘ah’ comes from the nose not the throat. In addition to the radio telescope, the town hosts an annual Elvis festival, as I discovered on a particularly surreal train ride.

    My brother’s ability to accurately mimic an Oz accent is somewhat limited. As Californians, we both have the cot-caught merger. In any case, his approximation of the local pronunciation was enough for him to be understood, unlike his native pronunciation.

  35. 1) “And here behold the greatest petri dish and bacteria culture known to Man!”

  36. Ebook sales I’d like to note:

    Carrie Patel’s The Buried Life is $2.99 at Kobo U.S. and Amazon U.S. (both DRM’d), but not iTunes (damn, I’d probably get it if it were discounted at iTunes!). It’s DRM-free directly from Angry Robot, but they don’t discount those books. I didn’t realize the second book came out last July; I heard good things here about the first book, but I don’t recall comments about the second one, which may just be my bad memory.

    Douglas Adams’s The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is on sale for $1.99, at least from Kobo U.S. & iTunes U.S. But really, hasn’t everyone already read this? 😉 (Just kidding.)

  37. @Joe H.: I got my Hugo voting link within the past 24 hours and deleted it, because folks had gotten nomination links recently. Reading comprehension fail on my part; I thought it was one of those long-delayed nominating links. Thankfully, it’s the same login info as my nomination login info. 🙂

    @Laura & @Vicki Rosenzweig: Seriously? They still can’t get their e-voting stuff working right?! Thanks for the heads up. I just saved one No Award as a test (guess which category!) and it worked, but hearing there are more problems doesn’t inspire a warm, fuzzy, my-vote-counts feeling.

    @Bartimaeus: “(and error-free)” – well, maybe, maybe not, it sounds like….

  38. @Various: I got a catalog for aplets and cotlets eons ago, probably from Liberty Orchards – no idea if that’s the real deal or not (they sound like they are The Applet and Cotlet Maker, Period???). I forget if we got anything from them back then or not (this was years ago). Turkish delight is a bit much for me.

  39. @Bartimaeus

    Thanks for the heads-up. I can confirm that Hugo Voting is working correctly for me now too. Yeah!

  40. @Paul Weimer: Cool, thanks for the review link!

    @.Bruce Arthurs: “Your dentist’s accountant will thank you.” – LOL, and your regular doctor, too, probably. I’m getting hungry.

    @Laura: Oh, good to hear! 🙂

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