Pixel Scroll 6/23/19 A Filé Of Scroll, With Delicious Sauce Pixelaise And A Fifth Of Dill

(1) STRIVING FOR BALANCE. Mystery writer Laura Lippman has an op-ed in the Washington Post about how her next novel, Lady in the Lake, will be narrated by an African American ghost and whether it is all right for a white woman to write about black characters: “Is it ok for a white author to write black characters? I’m trying.” She notes that none of the 20 characters in her novel resemble her, and “In creating this wide-ranging cast, I took a lesson from one of my heroes, Donald Westlake, who once said, ‘I became a novelist so I could make things up.’  So I did that–but I also asked that my novel be assigned to a sensitivity reader.”

…When I teach creative writing, I tell my students that the biggest mistake they can make is to try to write around problems, hoping no one else will see them. I advocate running right at the problem, making it the story. I have never shied away from writing characters of color, but that choice is clearly different and more fraught now, even in the 14 months since my last novel appeared. So with my most recent book, to be published next month, I took my own advice, inventing a middle-aged white woman who tries to give her life meaning and purpose by investigating the death of a young black woman. It was a particularly meta choice. This is what I do, after all. I write about death, and the stories are often inspired by real-life crimes, which is another kind of appropriation….

(2) PRETTY PICTURES. Comics publisher IDW claims “You Haven’t Read The Mueller Report …Because This Graphic Novel Isn’t Out Yet!” – but their upcoming Graphic Novel adaptation will do for the Mueller Report what Classics Illustrated used to do for everyone stuck writing high school book reports.

Shannon Wheeler, Eisner Award-winning New Yorker cartoonist (Too Much Coffee Man, Sh*t My President Says, God is Disappointed in You), and veteran journalist Steve Duin (The Oregonian, Comics: Between the Panels, Oil and Water) turn their critical eye on the Mueller Report – a comprehensive, understandable, and readable graphic novel version of the book every patriot needs.

Fight the spin spewing forth from both parties and political pulpits and check out this graphic novel that brings a 400-page legal document down to size. Wheeler and Duin, in graphic form, bring to life scenes detailed in the report: from the infamous Trump Tower Meeting of 2016 to Trump exclaiming “I’m f*cked” upon finding out he was the subject of investigation. It’s in the report and it’s in the graphic novel!

The Mueller Report: Graphic Novel borrows style from classic private detective yarns, complete with a villain’s rogues’ gallery, nail-biting cliffhangers, and a lone lawman standing proud against the wave of crime.

(3) NO THANKS. In “’Perhaps We’re Being Dense.’ Rejection Letters Sent to Famous Writers” at Literary Hub, Emily Temple publishes famous rejection letters, including Donald Wollheim’s rejection of Carrie and an unnamed rejection of The Left Hand of Darkness.

From Donald A. Wollheim at Ace Books to Stephen King, upon receipt of Carrie:

We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.

(4) MEDIEVAL TOWN VS. GOWN. Sensitive to criticisms of the SCA (enumerated in the piece), Ken Mondschein lifts his quill “In Defense of the Society for Creative Anachronism”.

…To go to an academic conference, let alone earn an advanced degree in history, literature, or art history, requires an enormous amount of money and free time. To participate in the SCA requires… an interest in the Middle Ages and a reasonable attempt at pre-17th century clothing, which can be made with $12 of material from Jo-Ann’s Fabric and half an hour at a sewing machine. (I should know; that was me in college.) Who, then, are the privileged ones? If anything, the SCA game threatens to destabilize systematic racism by replacing real-world hierarchies of race and class with its own imaginary social structure.

The SCA is diverse in other ways, as well: While academic historians focus narrowly on, say, women’s faith in the 14th century or the role of the Capetian dynasty in building the French state, the SCA is interested in everything that happened under the premodern sun from the death of Elizabeth I back to… the birth of Hammurabi, apparently. These include sword-fighting, cooking, visual arts, fabric arts, dancing, equestrian arts, and the list goes on. As my friend Mike Cramer points out, it’s like a state fair of medieval stuff.

(5) HOLLAND OBIT. [Item by Rob Hansen.] News of someone who was a LASFS club mascot as a child in the 1940s, namely Francis T. Laney’s daughter. She was named in Harry Warner Jr’s All Our Yesterdays (Advent, 1969):

To this second wife, Jackie, the two Laney Children were born. They were Sandra Rae, born Aptil 8th, 1940, and Sonya Lynn, born November 11th, 1942, mentioned in a thousand fanzine pages as Sandy and Quiggy.

Rob Hansen says, “Out of curiosity I did a web search and discovered this obit for Sandy originally published by Oregon Live from which I discover her sister still goes by Quig, and that Jackie’s actual name was Alberta, something I hadn’t known.”

Sandra Rae Laney Holland
April 8, 1940 – Sept. 11, 2018
Sandra Rae Laney Holland, 78, of Vancouver, passed away Sept. 11, 2018, in Vancouver.
Sandi was born in Lewiston, Idaho to Francis and Alberta Laney, April 8, 1940….


Found among Washington Irving’s papers are fragments of what might have been notes for a memoir, scribbled down in spare moments during either 1843 or 1845 (the date is hard to decipher), when he was the American minister to Spain under President John Tyler. In one entry he describes the genesis of his most famous story:

When I first wrote the Legend of Rip van Winkle my thought had been for some time turned towards giving a colour of romance and tradition to interesting points of our national scenery which is so deficient generally in our country. My friends endeavored to dissuade me from it and I half doubted my own foresight when it was first published from the account of the small demand made for that number, but subsequent letters brought news of its success and of the lucky hit I had made. The idea was taken from an old tradition I picked up among the Harz Mountains.*

  • June 23, 1976 — The George Clayton Johnson/William F. Nolan-scripted movie based on their book, Logan’s Run, premiered.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 23, 1945 Eileen Gunn, 74. Her story “Coming to Terms” based on her friendship with Avram Davidson won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Her stories are in Stable Strategies and OthersSteampunk Quartet and Questionable Practices. With L. Timmel Duchamp, she penned The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 2: Provocative Essays on Feminism, Race, Revolution, and the Future.
  • Born June 23, 1947 Mark Olson, 72. One could reasonably call him an Uberfan. And among his many accomplishments is that he oversees  Fancyclopedia 3 which I constantly use. If you don’t know him, I’m going to send you to his Fancyclopedia 3 bio which is far too long to quote here. It’s just a little boastful as it should be. 
  • Born June 23, 1957 Frances McDormand, 62. She’s God. Well at least The Voice of God in Good Omens. Which is on Amazon y’all. Her first genre role was in the “Need to Know” episode of Twilight Zone followed shortly thereafter by being Julie Hastings in Sam Raimi’s excellent Dark Man. She’s The Handler in Æon Flux and that’s pretty much everything worth noting. 
  • Born June 23, 1963 Liu Cixin, 56. He’s a winner of a Hugo Award for The Three-Body Problem and a Locus Award for Death’s End. Anyone got a clue what’s going on with the alleged Amazon production of The Three-Body Problem as a film?
  • Born June 23, 1964 Joss Whedon, 55. I think I first encounter him with the Buffy tv series. And I’ll hold that I think Angel was better told. Firefly was an interesting mess. And don’t get me started on the Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Born June 23, 1972 Selma Blair, 47. Liz Sherman in Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. She also voiced the character in the animated Hellboy: Sword of Storms and Hellboy: Blood and Iron. She’s Stevie Wayne in The Fog, a slasher film a few years later and was Cyane on the “Lifeblood” episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Later on, she’d be Jessica Harris in the  “Infestation” episode of Lost in Space. 
  • Born June 23, 1980 Melissa Rauch, 39. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory which is at least genre adjacent if not genre. She gets to be really genre in voicing Harley Quinn in Batman and Harley Quinn which Bruce Timm considers “a spiritual successor to Batman: The Animated Series”. H’h. 
  • Born June 23, 2000 Caitlin Blackwood, 19. She was the young Amelia Pond in these Doctor Who episodes; “The Eleventh Hour”, “The Big Bang”, “Let’s Kill Hitler”, and “The God Complex”, and had a cameo in “The Angels Take Manhattan”.  She’s the cousin of Karen Gillan who plays the adult Pond. No idea how she was cast in the role. 

(8) SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, BUT DON’T ASK ME WHERE. Fast Company swears “Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were lost on the Moon. Really”.

…There had been some worry inside NASA about whether, from Earth, they would be able to pinpoint the lunar module’s landing location. The Moon was mapped, but not in anything like fine, up-close detail; there were no constellations of tracking satellites around the Moon in 1969. “With a wry smile, (Armstrong) radioed Houston, ‘The guys who said we wouldn’t know where we were are the winners today.’ ”

(9) RETRO REVIEWS. Steve J. Wright has completed his “Retro Hugo Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)” finalist reviews.

It’s an interesting selection of these that 1943 brings us.  First off, there are three instances of a peculiar little subgenre, the afterlife story – people who are newly dead or on the verge of death, who are given a last chance to face up to the realities of heaven and hell, and try to make the right choice….

Three films with the same underlying idea, but the treatment of it is very different.  

(10) THE APPLE II OF MY EYE. Future War Stories resumes a popular series: “FWS Top 10: Forgotten Military SF Games (Vol. 5)”. Ten games are covered in this installment, including —  

2. BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk’s Inception (Infocom 1988)

Way back in the pivotal year of 1984, Chicago-based FASA developed a mecha combat game using designs from Japanese sources without permission. Coming at the perfect time, FASA had a true hit on their hands, and the BattleTech empire was founded. While originally, BattleTech was a tabletop wargame, today, BattleTech is also a successful series of video games that all started in 1988. Infocom, that gave us Zork!. The first BattleTech game, The Crescent Hawk’s Inception, was released for a variety of PC machines like the Commodore 64 and the ATARI ST. Featuring an amazing cover, it was sadly not as dynamic as the cover art would lead you to believe. This turn-based RPG game looks more like The Legend of Zelda than MechWarrior, and had you play as a Mechwarrior cadet named Jason Youngblood in the service of the Lyran Commonwealth during the 31st century. During the game, Jason will be thrust into a war, finding LosTech, and the fate of this lost father. From videos and articles, the game is complex and lengthy, that proved successful enough to warrant a sequel in 1990 called BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk’s Revenge. The reason for these early BattleTech games becoming LosTech was that the kinetic nature of mech combat was not expressed in the gameplay like later titles, and the fact they were released back in 1988 media.

(11) TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE. James Thurber, author of “The Last Clock”, would love to “Meet The Residents Of A Norwegian Island Who Want To Kill Time — Literally”.

It’s midnight in Sommaroy, but the sun is still shining on this Norwegian island. The clock strikes 12, but the island’s residents are playing, working, fishing and socializing. Nighttime commands sleep, but Sommaroy doesn’t want to listen.

If the 350 residents of Sommaroy get their way, the clocks will stop ticking and the alarms will cease their noise. A campaign to do away with timekeeping on the island has gained momentum as Norway’s parliament considers the island’s petition.

“Why do we need time and clocks when there is no night?” reads the campaign’s Facebook page. During a 70-day period leading up to and following the summer solstice, from May 18 to July 26, darkness never falls across the sky.

“There’s always less wind at night here, perfect to paint the garage. Fishermen are out half the night, after all. If we get tired, we’re fit to go after a nap on the sofa. Why don’t we just sign out of time, throw away all the clocks and forget about them? Life would be so much easier,” the Facebook post continues.

(12) FEARFULLY MADE. Publishers Weekly’s Brian Evenson calls these “The 10 Scariest Novels”. First on the list —  

1. Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

This 1987 science fiction novel concerns a woman named Lilith who wakes up with no idea where she is or how she got there. As she begins to figure things out, she comes to understand that she’s been taken by the Oankali, aliens who want to blend with humanity as a way of diversifying their species and allowing the remnant of humanity to continue in a less violent (and less human) fashion. What makes this book so effective is you are never sure to what degree Lilith should be considered a collaborator with the enemy. Even Lilith isn’t sure. The moral implications of the novel are immense, and Butler shifts the tension every time you (or Lilith) begin to become comfortable. It builds slowly but inexorably, leaving readers in ethical ambiguity until the end, trapped in the dilemma of not knowing what to think. It’s one of the most unsettling books I’ve ever read, partly because of how benign and reasonable the aliens seem as they gently manipulate Lilith.

(13) SO MUCH SPACE, SO LITTLE TIME. Or so it might seem.

The size and age of the universe seem to not agree with one another. Astronomers have determined that the universe is nearly 14 billion years old and yet its diameter is 92 billion light years across. How can both of those numbers possibly be true? In this video, Fermilab’s Dr. Don Lincoln tells you how.

(14) HOT PITCH. ScreenRant encourages everyone to step inside the pitch meeting that led to 2005’s Fantastic Four.

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

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62 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/23/19 A Filé Of Scroll, With Delicious Sauce Pixelaise And A Fifth Of Dill

  1. Hampus, I’ve been to some pub get-togethers near the CCD. Here are the three places I’ve been:
    The bar in the Gibson Hotel: In favor: It’s close and convenient for most of us, since there will be programming in that area. There’s a comfy area with lots of chairs to sit and talk. Against: there will be lots of con-goers so it may be crowded, and they do not, alas, serve food.

    The Lagoona Bar (https://lagoona.ie/): In favor: it’s also convenient. It’s right across from the Mayor Square – NCI LUAS stop. It has food and space. Against: it’s loud. When I was there, granted, there was a football game on the telly but it was really loud. It also may be full of fans being so close to the CCD and two of the con hotels, plus the staff accommodations.

    Ryan’s Bar (http://www.iolfree.ie/~novaki/reade.htm) which may confusingly have changed it’s name to Robert Reade. Or maybe the map is correct and the web site is out of date. Can’t tell.
    In favor: Not as noisy. Good food. Easy to get to on the LUAS, just go east to the Buseras stop, then facing away from the way you just came with the bus station on your left, it’s straight in front of you across the small concrete square. Against: it is three LUAS stops from the CCD stop (Spencer Dock) and four from the Point LUAS stop. (Though I contend that more LUAS stops is better than more walking) Also, a large crowd tends to break into two groups due to how the pub is laid out.

    Of the three, I’d suggest Ryan’s Bar unless we think there are going to be lots and lots of us.

    Anyway, there are three places to check out. There are other pubs and restaurants in the area that I’ve heard are good but I haven’t been to them.

  2. I found a list of pubs with function rooms and some of them are as close as Ryan’s Bar, so I’m checking out how easy they are to get to. I have no idea how many we are going to be, but a good guess is around 30.

  3. JJ: I don’t know if I’m going to be able to find a photo of what Harlan received in 1972, but I did track down a list of who accepted which Hugos at the 1969 St. Louiscon. And consequently I can identify this photo of Hal Clement accepting the Special Committee Award on behalf of the Apollo 11 astronauts — and it was a Hugo rocket. But I expected that for the earlier years.

    According to the SF Awards Database there were no Special Committee Awards given in 1970 and 1971.

  4. @OGH: thank you for the detailed information on 1972. It’s unfortunate that the longlist page does not make clear (as later pages do for Campbell et al) that the 1972 special awards were not Hugos; I had a dustup a couple of years ago with someone who insisted that this page was proof that fans had approved graphic stories in what most of us would consider text-only categories, because A,DV had a Gahan Wilson story with a graphic element. I note that http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/1972-hugo-awards/ doesn’t even show this or the other special awards for 1972. (There are three; ISTM that was pushing it, but I’ve never asked anyone who was involved what they were thinking.)
    I see the longlist pages stop at 2013; I suspect they are one of a number of things abandoned when somebody left NESFA in a huff. I’ve emailed the nominal honcho of the longlist pages about whether they should be taken down as they’re both wrong and apparently superfluous, given thehugoawards.org
    I see from wsfs.org that the clause you cite from 1974 was passed into the constitution of 1975; unfortunately, there are no other constitutions shown until 1995, where the exception does not appear. Sometime when I’m feeling really geeky I may look at the minutes of intervening years to figure out when it was removed.

    @JJ: note that the constitution you link to provides for additional categories handled like the existing categories; in 1972 A,DV was not. Components of it got two nominations, one winning, in 1973.

  5. #1 — We are obviously going to get a long parade of these white authors who continue to claim — on a major media platform no less — that POC don’t want them to write about POC characters while ignoring what they are actually being criticized about on those portrayals. And that is white authors using POC simply as a tool rather than real characters, to be tortured, killed, in need of rescue or vengeance and only employed to further the story of a white person, their stories of pain or culture used to center on a white person as a white savior and redeemed hero. It’s a racist stereotype which Lady in the Lake makes full use of for its central plot, one that presents POC as existing to be killed or harmed for the benefit of white heroics, to be incompetent and/or endlessly supportive of and sacrificing for white people’s stories.

    And meanwhile, POC authors continue to struggle to even get into the market with fiction being 70-80 percent white authors, depending on the genre. The white savior stereotype is by this point so ubiquitous that criticism of individual titles are really just placing them within the vast bulk of literature — and films, etc. — that make use of it. And that totally legitimate cultural analysis is continually portrayed by white authors and media as a braying mob of threatening non-white people who are far too unreasonable to ever be actually listened to and are super mean for suggesting that white authors maybe do some research instead of relying on the old ego-stroking standbys they are used to using.

    We’re not going to see the end of the white savior narrative anytime soon in fiction, but it would be nice if white authors stopped whining about POC not being very impressed when they use it to get sales. The “be glad we put POC in it at all” refrain is really wearying.


  6. Chip Hitchcock: note that the constitution you link to provides for additional categories handled like the existing categories; in 1972 A,DV was not. Components of it got two nominations, one winning, in 1973.

    I have not been able to find anything saying that any of the 3 Special Awards given that year were nominated and voted on by the membership. It frankly looks to me as though they ignored that part of 2.11, and just did whatever they wanted.

    If that were the case though, I’d have expected to see a big stoush about it in the WSFS minutes and the fanzines. 😀

  7. @ JJ: Temple Bar is a mixed bag. Some stuff is definitely over-priced, some stuff is priced about right, it’s basically “tourist and party central”.

  8. JJ: I have not been able to find anything saying that any of the 3 Special Awards given that year were nominated and voted on by the membership. It frankly looks to me as though they ignored that part of 2.11, and just did whatever they wanted.

    If you’re going to accuse them of violating the rules, first you need to prove that they gave Harlan a rocket.

  9. Mike Glyer: If you’re going to accuse them of violating the rules, first you need to prove that they gave Harlan a rocket.

    My statement was based on the apparent fact that the 3 Special Awards given that year were not nominated and voted on by the Worldcon membership, as the WSFS Constitution required them to be per 2.11.

  10. JJ: I think I can clear this up…but then I always do!

    The 1971 Rule 2.11 is about Hugo Awards. Other rules specify the standard categories, this one gave committees the option to add two nonstandard categories of their own choice, which would have to be voted on by the members like all the others.

    Special Committee Awards are not Hugos and are never voted on by the membership. But you say, “Then why did they used to give the winners rockets?” Well, that was the issue in dispute. I always thought rule 2.12 was meant to finally stop that from happening. (Although my understanding is the 1974 committee did it again.) You say you don’t read the rule that way. In any case, sometime in the 1970s committees stopped giving rockets to Special Committee Award winners. (When I won a committee award in 1982 Chicon IV game me a very lovely little sculpture.)

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