Pixel Scroll 6/16/18 And I Awoke And Found Me Here On The Scrolled Pixelside

(1) DOUG JONES’ NEW GIG. GeekTyrant points to the first installment of an sf video series premiering on Dust’s YouTube channel: “Dust Created a Cool 1930’s Sci-Fi Noir Series AUTOMATION with Doug Jones; Watch the First Episode Now!”.

In an alternate 1930’s Prohibition-era New York City, it’s not liquor that is outlawed but the future production of highly sentient robots known as automatons. Automata follows former NYPD detective turned private eye Sam Regal and his incredibly smart automaton partner, Carl Swangee. Together, they work to solve the case and understand each other in this dystopian America. Putting a science ?ction twist on the classic hard-boiled detective drama, Automata explores a dystopian alternative version of Prohibition-era New York City, similarly shaped by moral panic even though the alcohol ?ows freely here. In this universe, Prohibition doesn’t ban drinking, but the further production of sapient androids that have become prevalent by the 1920s. As a result, the existing androids, called automatons, are shunned by society, relegated to an untouchable caste of servants despite their near-human thought capability, and are frequently subjected to hatred and violence. It’s in this oppressive setting that human private detective Sam Regal (Basil Harris, “Grimm”) and his automaton partner Carl Swangee (Doug Jones, The Shape of Water) work together to solve cases for both communities, learning to see humanity in one another while trying to prove that justice is still worth serving.


(2) WILDERNESS TREK. Who doesn’t want one of these? Lost at E Minor introduces the world to “A tent that looks like a Star Trek shuttlecraft for all your camping missions”.

Canadian designer Dave Delisle, of Dave’s Geeky Ideas, has come up with a concept tent that resembles a Star Trek Federation shuttlecraft.

The two-person tent, though not able to travel to other galaxies, allows Trekkies to go on their ‘away missions’.

It features a hull that looks like the real spacecraft, with an entrance at the back. When you want to stow it away, the tent can easily fit inside one of its thrusters.

(3) I’M LOSING IT HERE. RedWombat strikes a blow for artistic freedom. The thread starts here.

(4) TECH VIRTUOSO. Ursula V’s Twitter stream is also where I found this:

(5) SPFBO 2018. Mark Lawrence, who announced the 2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off winner just the other day, wasted no time cranking up the next round of the contest:  SPFBO 2018 – A call to authors.

This is the call for authors wanting to enter books for the fourth Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off.

The contest will be open for entries until August 1st or when 300 titles have been entered, whichever comes first.

If 250+ titles are not gathered by August 1st the contest will be deferred for a year. I have no idea if there is a limit to how many years we can gather 250+ new self-published fantasy book 1s.

So far they have 101 entries. These bloggers will review and rate the submissions.

(6) ESSENTIAL SF. Factor Daily directs you to “Something for everyone: 5 essential science fiction anthologies you must read”. Don’t panic – only the first two were published over 30 years ago….

If you’re someone with a passing interest in science fiction who’d like to know the genre better or would like to experience all the many splendours it has to offer without having to read 300-page novels, one of the best ways is through an anthology. If you’re a hardcore science fiction reader who wants to discover new authors or get deeper into the genre’s history and trends, one of the best ways is through an anthology.

Here then, are five essential science fiction anthologies that will appeal to – and are recommended for – both, the seasoned sci-fi fan, and the casual reader who’d really like to know what the big fuss about science fiction really is. Whatever it is that you’re looking for – spaceships and robots, interstellar travel or the future of humankind, feminist stories, swashbuckling adventures, stories about love and loss, funny stories, stories to make you ponder, about politics, economics, about culture(s), stories about the future that are really a commentary on our present, stories about technology done right, of technology gone wrong – they’re all in here, and then some….

(7) QUICK SIPS. Charles Payseur’s Quick Sip Reviews catches up with “Strange Horizons 06/04/2018 & 06/11/2018 “.

The first two weeks of June’s Strange Horizons brings a pair of stories and a pair of poems. The fiction is a mix of fantasies, one with magic and ghosts and monsters and the other with a looser grasp on reality. Both feature characters charged with watching over a space through. For one, it’s through elaborate ritual. For the other, it’s by house sitting. In both, there’s a feeling of something being trapped, of something being infested, and of the characters having been wronged. The poetry deals with myths, with mythical creatures, and with longing and endings and beginnings. And all together it makes for a rather lovely but haunting collection of short SFF. To the reviews!

(8) SHORT ORDER. What screens ahead of Incredibles 2? (Besides half an hour of trailers, I mean….) Something that left an NPR interviewer impressed: “In Pixar’s First Female-Directed Short, A Dumpling Child Fills An Empty Nest”.

Moviegoers sitting down to see Incredibles 2 are in for a tasty treat in the form of an animated short called Bao. It tells the story of an empty nester who discovers joy — and sorrow — when a steamed bun she makes comes to life.

The story is pulled from the childhood of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the Pixar film. Shi was born in China and raised in Toronto. She started working at Pixar as an intern in 2011, and now she’s the first woman to direct a Pixar short.

Pixar and the larger animation industry have been criticized for shutting female animators out of top jobs, but Shi says that culture is changing.

“You’re just seeing this gradual shift in the industry because, before, animation was predominantly white and male, but now in animation schools all over the country enrollment is now over 50 percent female. … I think just more and more girls are just getting into animation. And I hope that we’re going to see those numbers be reflected in the industry and not just in the animation schools.”

(NPR interviewed Shi before the announcement that Pixar’s co-founder, John Lasseter, would be leaving the company. Lasseter had been absent since November, when allegations of sexual harrassment surfaced.)


On this day in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho has its world premiere in New York. Did you know: Paramount gave Hitchcock a very small budget to work with, because of their distaste with the source material. They also deferred most of the net profits to Hitchcock, thinking the film would fail.


  • Born June 16 – John Cho, 46. Sulu in Star Trek, Star Trek into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond. First genre role appears to on Charmed, other shows includes Static Shock, Star Trek and Batman video games, Flashforward and the current season of The Exorcist.

(11) TIMOTHY THE TALKING CAT AND SUSAN THE TRICERATOPS. Camestros Felapton’s “The Bortsworth Mysteries: The Case of the Shifting Genre”, soon to be winning indie book awards near you….

“Wake up!” said Timothy the Talking Cat, a highly intelligent cat with a piercing intellect who was looking very dapper that bright morning in a yellow bow tie that deftly coordinated with his purple, velvety fur.

“I am awake,” said Susan.

“It is so hard to tell because you sleep standing up and also last night I painted eyes on your eyelids which was funny at the time but now I regret because when you close your eyes it looks like you are staring at me in a really angry way like you are about to stomp on me,” replied Timothy loquaciously (who was briefly surprised that of all the words the meat robot hadn’t spelt incorrectly “loquaciously” was one of them).

(12) HARDWICK UNPLUGGED.  “AMC Silences Chris Hardwick Talk Show & Comic-Con Panels After Abuse Claims”. Deadline quotes Hardwick’s denial, and speculates about the fate of his as-yet-unaired TV work.

A day after allegations of emotional abuse and sexual assault were leveled against Chris Hardwick by an ex-girlfriend, AMC has decided today to officially pull the plug on their long time host’s talk show and appearances at San Diego Comic-Con next month.

“We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years,” said the home of The Walking Dead in a statement on Saturday, one day before Season 2 of Talking With Chris Hardwick was set to debut. “We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously. While we assess the situation, Talking with Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month.” …

(13) ERRATA. Locus Online’s item “Jemisin Wins 2018 BoBi” repeats Publishers Weekly’s mistake – the portion in quotes:

N.K. Jemisin will receive the annual Best of Brooklyn (BoBi) Award, and “is the first author of speculative fiction to win the BoBi.”

I omitted the quote when that news was reported in yesterday’s Scroll because the original Brooklyn Book Festival press release lists two authors of speculative fiction among the previous winners —

… Past honorees have included Colson Whitehead, Jacqueline Woodson, Jonathan Lethem, James McBride, Lois Lowry and Pete Hamill.

It’s still a fine honor for Jemisin.

(14) FREE READ. Stephen Lawson’s Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award winner “Homunculus” has been posted on the Baen Books website.

The yellow-orange tholin haze above Titan’s surface whirled around the chassis of a lighter-than-air research drone. A tiny carbon-fiber humanoid robot sat perched on its support structure, dangling his feet next to the drone’s camera as it took pictures of the rocky surface below. The dirigible, designed to carry sampling probes and communication equipment, barely registered the stowaway’s mass. Folded aramid-fiber wings fluttered on aluminum ribs on the bot’s back as the breeze swept over the drone’s chassis….

(15) EXPLORING FAN PHOTOS. Andrew Porter has been working on identifying people in the Jay Kay Klein photos posted by the UC/Cal/Riverside Collection. He sent out links to some of his finds —

(16) CLARKE LITERARY BIO. Gary Westfahl’s book Arthur C. Clarke will be published by the University of Illinois Press in July.

Already renowned for his science fiction and scientific nonfiction, Arthur C. Clarke became the world’s most famous science fiction writer after the success of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He then produced novels like Rendezvous with Rama and The Fountains of Paradise that many regard as his finest works.

Gary Westfahl closely examines Clarke’s remarkable career, ranging from his forgotten juvenilia to the passages he completed for a final novel, The Last Theorem. As Westfahl explains, Clarke’s science fiction offered original perspectives on subjects like new inventions, space travel, humanity’s destiny, alien encounters, the undersea world, and religion. While not inclined to mysticism, Clarke necessarily employed mystical language to describe the fantastic achievements of advanced aliens and future humans. Westfahl also contradicts the common perception that Clarke’s characters were bland and underdeveloped, arguing that these reticent, solitary individuals, who avoid conventional relationships, represent his most significant prediction of the future, as they embody the increasingly common lifestyle of people in the twenty-first century.

Westfahl, formerly of the University of La Verne and the University of California, Riverside, has now retired to focus exclusively on research and writing. His many books on science fiction include William Gibson and Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction

(17) FEATHERED NERD RANKINGS. Joe Sherry’s “Reading the Hugos: Short Story” puts this one somewhere in the middle of his ballot.

“Fandom for Robots”: So, the original sentient AI discovers fan fiction and gets involved in the fandom for the anime Hyperdimension Warp Record. On its surface, “Fandom for Robots” is exactly what it seems to be – an AI learning about fandom, about shipping characters, about writing fan fiction and commenting on other stories. But, I wonder, is there a point here where Prasad is also talking about how fanfiction gives a greater opportunity to marginalized people to see themselves in stories where they are otherwise excluded? Is Prasad telling a story about how fanfiction can build community and inclusion?

“Fandom for Robots” was a lot of fun to read, but it’s a better story when I’m reading a bit deeper into what message may be baked into an otherwise basic story of an AI discovering fanfiction.

(18) PANDORA PREVIEW. The official Disney blog takes fans inside the technology: “Pandora – The World of Avatar Time Capsule: Imagineers Create the Most Advanced Audio-Animatronics Figure, the Shaman of Songs for Na’vi River Journey”

Guests can encounter the Shaman of Songs inside Na’vi River Journey, after they board a boat and are whisked away on an immersive journey deep into a bioluminescent rainforest on Pandora. There, the Shaman of Songs sits, sending positive energy out into the forest through the power of her movements and music.

But bringing her to life required the Imagineering/LEI project team to not only apply the latest technologies in robotics, but also develop an estimated 20 new technologies to bring this figure to life. The goal was to make the figure’s tech as hidden as possible, to make the shaman as lifelike as possible.


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

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49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/16/18 And I Awoke And Found Me Here On The Scrolled Pixelside

  1. More trivial trivia about Psycho: This was a Paramount film that was shot on the Universal backlot. The reason for that was because Alfred Hitchcock’s TV show was a Universal production and Hitchcock used his TV crew to film the movie.

  2. @2: If it needs one of the tubes to fit it, ISTM it’s a bit bulky for real wilderness trekking; OTOH, it would certainly get attention in a campground….

    @6: That looks like a good set of anthologies; it’s probably just golden-age-is-twelve memories that make the 2-volume Boucher “Treasury” seem more essential. (I ‘ll look at the Vandermeer to see whether there’s any overlap.) These are definitely more international — 60 years ago, including a British author probably seemed wide-ranging.

  3. I get a Quora digest in my email, for some reason, and today there’s an amusing bit of trivia that impinges on SF:

    I always see this small black triangle on the inside of airplane walls. What does it mean or do?
    The black triangle marks the location of what has been called “William Shatner’s Seat,” the seat with the clearest view of the wing…

    Well, not to give the ending away, the rest is here, and you have to scroll down to find that particular answer, as well as others.

    One reason this resonated with me is that I keep thinking of one of the most perfect TV gags ever, to my taste, when Shatner was portraying The Big Giant Head on “Third Rock From the Sun,” and he had just flown in to meet the regular cast of aliens, and they asked how his flight was. “Terrible!” he said. “There was this THING out on the wing, and I was the only one who saw it…” “That happened to ME!” said John Lithgow, followed by the sound of me smacking myself in the forehead, because of course Lithgow had the Shatner part in the movie version, and it was the sweetest setup and payoff until the ending of Bob Newhart’s second sitcom.

  4. (13) I count at least three previous authors of Speculative Fiction winning the BoBi — Whitehead, Lethem, and Lowry. Who were you leaving out? (And, heck, I haven’t heard of Woodson nor McBride, maybe them too?)

  5. Rich Horton: I don’t know Lowry’s work, that’s how Lowry got left out. Highly appropriate karma, though, and a corollary to Muphry’s Law that one must make a mistake when correcting somebody else’s mistake.

  6. Chip Hitchcock: I guess I’m on the older side, but the two-volume 1959 Boucher Treasury remains essential to me; it’s where I first read The Stars My Destination (at age 16). Sure there are some inessential individual stories, but also some classics like Kornbluth’s “Gomez” that are very rereadable.

  7. Note sure why, in #10, the reference to the TV series Flashforward, based on my novel of the same name, has a “(sic)” notation after the title. But here’s the full scoop on the styling of the name, as I explained it to Ace’s editorial department a while ago (in reference to the “Books by” page for my novel Quantum Night). My editor had written to say: “There’s seem to be some dissent on the topic of how to capitalize/space FlashForward. Is it FlashForward or Flashforward? Or Flash Forward?”

    My reply:

    it’s an interesting question. The official TV series spelling was FlashForward, but since the wordmark was always rendered in all-caps on screen, that wasn’t obvious to most people (although that’s what you saw in the press coverage).

    My novel’s title was Flashforward, per the manuscript and title page; also, it was one word with a capital initial F per the usage of the term to describe the phenomenon in question in the text of the novel.

    But someone in the art department at Tor blithely put it BOTH as two words (front cover and spine of dustjacket) and one word (title page, page headers, and back cover of dustjacket) on the first edition, without ever once checking with me.

    Not only did that screw up turn-of-the-century search engines and Amazon (searches for one did not turn up the other; Amazon had “Flashforward” linked to the hardcover but “Flash Forward” linked to the paperback, and reviews of the former weren’t carried over to the latter), but it also caused the book to be left off the preliminary Nebula Award ballot (you needed a minimum of ten recommendations from SFWA members, which I had, but they were split between the two spellings and the person in charge couldn’t see that they were obviously for the same book until it was too late).

    The copyright page of the first edition says FLASHFORWARD, all capitals.

    Since the advent of the TV series in 2009, I’ve used unified branding and consistently referred to the book in camel case: FlashForward. Call that the author’s preferred spelling. The latest paperback edition from Tor uses the TV series wordmark: FLASHFORWARD.

    Flashforword is an acceptable alternate. The two-word version, “Flash Forward,” is wrong (despite its use, along with the one-word version, on the Tor dustjacket), and that mistake should not be perpetuated.

  8. Robert J. Sawyer: I’m sorry I didn’t catch that. I will remove the “sic”.

  9. Yay title credit!

    (1) I read an indie novel with this premise a couple years ago, but it was set post-war, in LA.

    (2) Could swear I saw this mock-up last year (?) but it’s still not real.

    (3) I lost it at the Highland cow.

    (4) And we all thought that RFC proposal was just a joke.

    (Comes back an hour later after reading things linked off Wombat Twitter)

    (15) Neato.

  10. (8) Saw Bao today, along with Incredibles 2. Thought Bao was quite moving, and funny, and poignant, and was a really good short film. Was different from some of the other Pixar shorts… in a good way.

    Also enjoyed Incredibles. It was clever and fast paced, technically good and quite funny at times. Did tend to beat you over the head with the +4 Stick Of Subtext, but all in all was worth it.
    Lived through the Swirly Strobing Peril without ill effect. Then again, my eyesight is crap anyway. But Pixar could have toned the effect down a lot and still got the effect they needed.

    Still, was a grand day out, including looking at a few gardens on the way home.

  11. (1) seems to have replaced various ligatures with question marks in the quoted part – it reads as “science ?ction” and “alcohol ?ows” where there would be “fi” and “fl” ligatures.

    (4) For your perusal, please enjoy the actual Internet standard documents RFC 1149 and RFC 2549, which detail the implementation of IP (the Internet Protocol) over Avian Carriers and a Quality-Of-Service extension, respectively. And here’s the web site for one actual implementation in Norway in 2001 and the corresponding BOF session.

  12. 1. Gee. That sounds an awful lot like some novel I read somewhere…about a robot detective helping a human detective solve a murder mystery on an Earth whose society banned and shunned robots….oh yes, The Caves of Steel by one I. Asimov.


  13. 1): The video gives the title as Automation, but the quoted text calls it Automata. (I assume the former is correct, but somebody’s being careless.)

  14. Robert J. Sawyer on June 16, 2018 at 9:28 pm said:

    Since the advent of the TV series in 2009, I’ve used unified branding and consistently referred to the book in camel case: FlashForward.

    Specifically, that is Bactrian camel case. In Domedary camel case it would be “flashForward”.

  15. I had a little pixel
    So that Pixel was his name
    And I called him Appertainment
    And he filed it just the same

  16. 6) I’m looking for a copy of the IT HAPPENED TOMORROW book because I want to read it and not finding it mentioned anywhere, including Amazon and Abe Books. Any one know if it appeared under another title?

  17. You might’ve heard about cartoonist Ron Rogers getting fired from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. I bring it up because while looking over his website, I turned up this lovely little gem: KA-BLAM! 2016: CAUSE-PLAY. A Masquerade Fundraiser For The ToonSeum. You MUST click that link and see the illustration. Then I think you ought to offer the man some cash to make you a signed print of it. I don’t see anywhere on his site that he makes them, but I know a moneymaker when I die laughing at it.

  18. Cat Rambo on June 17, 2018 at 7:12 am said:

    6) I’m looking for a copy of the IT HAPPENED TOMORROW book because I want to read it and not finding it mentioned anywhere, including Amazon and Abe Books. Any one know if it appeared under another title?

    Amazon mentions it
    –they just don’t have a copy. Amazon India has a few copies. (If that number is in Rupees, the cheapest paperback is $238.) Looks like they picked an incredibly obscure book.

  19. Cat Rambo: I’m looking for a copy of the IT HAPPENED TOMORROW book

    According to ISFDB, it was published by The National Book Trust of India (as well as in a German version). So that probably explains its lack of availability in the U.S.

    It appears that you can get a copy from them quite affordably ($1.92 USD), but I can’t find anything about whether they ship to the U.S. on their website.

    You might want to send them an inquiry via their website or on Facebook.

  20. Come away, o meredithed book,
    To the kindle and the nook,
    With a pixel, hand in hand,
    For the world’s more full of scrolling than you can understand

  21. Then there is this–I don’t know how valid the site is, but if that 145 is in Rupees, that’s around $2.13.

  22. Amazon.de has a single copy for € 20 + shipping from India.
    The German translation has two copies for € 3 and € 40.

    Anybody would like me to use my account to get one of these, please let me know.

  23. Jim Parish: The video gives the title as Automation, but the quoted text calls it Automata. (I assume the former is correct, but somebody’s being careless.)

    It’s Automata. It’s based on a set of comics done by the Penny Arcade folks: Automata, Blood & Oil

  24. … and I failed to see that Blood and Oil was already listed. My apologies 🙁

  25. (1) is doing their ligatures badly; on my browser the two ligatured symbols are very different from their surrounding fonts, they only do it in those two places despite other instances of “fi” and “fl”, and if websites have no trouble appending extra text when you copy from them, converting them back to the separate letters should be no problem.

  26. @Jamoche
    I notice that the italic f at those two spots is different from the ones at the other spots. It suggests that they’re from an extended character set, and it doesn’t come through the settings used to copy and paste.

  27. I’m wondering about the rafting claim in @4; the places I’ve been recently don’t do prints (just efiles), and the older places used film. I suppose there could have been an overlap in the nineties or early oughts when I wasn’t rafting; when did e-cameras become a thing?

  28. @Soon Lee: the elevation on Doctorow’s thread is fascinating; I wonder whether Musk would have fewer problems if he gave up Twitterflaming and spent that time on his ventures.

  29. @Ky: Brilliant! I’m singing it in my head. That’s a candidate for Contributing Editor if ever I’ve read one.

  30. 6) I’ve actually read one of these and have at least heard of three of them, which is probably a new record for me, at least percentage-wise…

  31. @Kip W: I’ve heard that Lithgow’s response was ad-libbed–the writers remembered Shatner’s turn in the role, but they completely forgot that Lithgow reprised the part for ‘Twilight Zone – The Movie’ and that touch came about in rehearsals. Can’t confirm, though. 🙂

  32. (1) DOUG JONES’ NEW GIG. I don’t know who Doug Jones is, or what his old gig was (and I’ve never heard of DUST), but this was a good start. Now to figure out if there’s some way to know when there’s a new episode without having to monitor everything DUST does. . . .

    /YouTubeIgnoramus ::blush::

  33. @Kendall

    Doug Jones specialises in acting roles where he wears a lot of sfx makeup, so you probably wouldn’t recognise him but have almost certainly seen him in something – he’s been in an awful lot of sf/f tv and film over the past couple of decades or so.

  34. (13) As Pete Hamill’s Forever (2003) has a central character who can remain immortal from 1740 to the present day and beyond, as long as he stays on Manhattan, perhaps four previous winners?

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