Pixel Scroll 6/24/18 To File Where We Scrolled And Know The Pixel For The Fifth Time

(1) THUNDER LIZARDS MAKE BOX OFFICE NOISE. They tipped plenty of gold onto the scales this weekend: “‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Feasts on $150 Million Opening”.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdomtopped estimates to devour $150 million from 4,475 locations in North America this weekend. While it fell short of its predecessors’ record-shattering $208.8 million launch, the dinosaur sequel is off to a mighty start. The Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard-led tentpole has already amassed $711.5 million worldwide, including $561.5 million overseas.

“Fallen Kingdom” easily led the weekend as the lone wide release, though “Incredibles 2” enjoyed a heroic second weekend. The Disney Pixar sequel picked up another $80 million, bringing its domestic total to $350.3 million. The superhero blockbuster, directed by Brad Bird, launched with $182.7 million, making it the best opening for an animated feature and the eighth-biggest debut of all time.

(2) ROANHORSE INTERVIEW. AzCentral profiled Nebula-winning Rebecca Roanhorse: “Navajo legends come to life in Rebecca Roanhorse’s debut novel ‘Trail of Lightning'”

She also has a more personal inspiration. Born of Ohkay Owingeh (Pueblo) and African-American heritage, Roanhorse was adopted by an Anglo family and grew up in Texas. As an adult, she reunited with her indigenous birth mother in New Mexico and began to immerse herself in the culture. She picked up a law degree at the University of New Mexico and ended up marrying a Navajo man.

“I’ve been very lucky and very honored that so many Navajo folks have invited me into their families and shared with me, but I don’t presume to speak for the culture,” Roanhorse says. “I’m a fantasy writer, and this was the culture that I wanted to set my world in, because I love this culture. It’s something that I wanted to share and something that really spoke to me.” …

Q: There’s been some pushback against emerging voices in science fiction, especially women of color, particularly with the campaign a few years ago to vote against those authors for the Hugo Awards. How do you respond to that?

A: Science fiction, as Ursula LeGuin would probably tell you, is always about social issues. It’s never not been about social issues. Even if you’re writing rocket men going to space, you’re writing from a certain perspective. Whatever it is that defines your place in society, that’s where your voice comes from. So actually it makes a lot of sense that if science fiction is telling us what the future is supposed to look like, or fantasy is letting us play out our dream ideas of what society might be, that they would take up these issues of identity. I think it’s kind of exciting that you’re seeing the science-fiction and fantasy community push back against people like the Sad Puppies, the organizations that were trying to push out the voices, some of the underrepresented voices, from women of color, disabled voices, queer voices.

And the stories are great.

(3) BEWARE SPOILERS. Cinema Blend has a window into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future: “James Gunn Confirms When Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Will Take Place”. BEWARE AVENGERS SPOILAGE.

And just like that, one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has been put to bed. Guardians 3 will indeed be set after the events of Infinity War. This seems to hint that the fallen Guardians might return, although it’s currently unclear exactly how that might occur.

James Gunn’s tweet reveals that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be affected by the tragic events of the Russo Brothers’ Avengers movies. This is likely a relief for the fans, who wanted the story to continue moving forward, rather than backwards. And considering the insane fates of the Guardians’ members, simply ignoring their near-annihilation at the hands of Thanos would have felt disingenuous.

(4) COMING EXHIBIT. “‘Black Panther’ Is Coming To The Smithsonian’s African American Museum”. Artifacts from the movie will be displayed during the Smithsonian’s inaugural African American Film Festival in October.

After “Black Panther” basically broke the box office back in February, fans of the Marvel superhero movie have been clamoring for a sequel. But if you can’t wait for Hollywood to get its act together, the Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture has your back.

The museum announced Wednesday that it has acquired several objects from the film, including the Black Panther superhero costume. That is, the actual outfit that star Chadwick Boseman wore. On his body. While fighting to save Wakanda from evil.

…Curators are still in the process of figuring out plans for a permanent exhibit.

(5) DESTINATION MOON. And also on the way, a bit farther into the future, is the National Air and Space Museum’s exhibit “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission”. It’s on the road now, and will come home to a permenant exhibit in 2021.

Building on centuries of imagination and scientific discovery, and on the Smithsonian’s unequaled collection of space artifacts, Destination Moon will show those who remember the 1960s as well as generations born afterward how an extraordinary combination of motivations, resources, technologies, and teamwork made it possible to send people and robots to the Moon. The new gallery will help visitors discover the scope of lunar exploration from ancient dreams to contemporary spacecraft missions. The entrance will feature a gigantic 1957 Moon mural by Chesley Bonestell, under which it presents lunar flight mythology, Jules Verne, early Moon movies, and 1950s spaceflight advocacy. Two of the Museum’s most treasured Apollo 11 artifacts will be on display: the Command Module Columbia and Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit. The gallery’s last section exhibits the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and a Space Launch System/Orion model and information about what has gone on at the Moon since the 1990s and what is happening now. A more focused touring version of the exhibition, called Destination Moon; The Apollo 11 Mission, features the Columbia. It is currently at the St. Louis Science Center and will continue to Pittsburgh and Seattle before returning to the Museum.


(6) CHABON COMIC REALIZED. NPR tells how “A Cornucopia Of Comic Artists Pay Homage To Michael Chabon’s Escapist”.

It’s got to be a bit daunting for a comics creator to contribute to an anthology revolving around Michael Chabon’s Escapist. Chabon created the Escapist in his 2000 novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won a Pulitzer Prize and set a new standard for highbrow treatment of comics. He’s an author who’s always expected great things from the form; in the keynote speech at the 2004 Eisner Awards (included in this volume), Chabon called for writers and artists “to … increase the sophistication of [comics’] language and visual grammar, to probe and explode the limits of the sequential panel, to give free reign to irony and tragedy and other grown-up-type modes of expression.”

It’s a hefty agenda, and the creators assembled here clearly feel its weight. For some, the pressure has proven to be a valuable impetus. Several of the most successful stories, inspired by the anti-Fascist politics of the Escapist in the novel, find contemporary relevance in his message of liberation. In “The Death of the Escapist” by Kevin McCarthy and Shawn Martinbrough, the Escapist’s skills inspire the citizens of a North Korea-like dictatorship to contemplate rebellion: “for the first time in their lives, they allow themselves to entertain the idea that escape … may be possible.”

(7) UNDER THE HAMMER. The original Star Wars’ Oscar-nominated art director finally cashed in this relic: “Han Solo ‘blaster’ fetches $550,000 in New York”.

A “blaster” used by Harrison Ford’s character Han Solo in the film Return of the Jedi has sold at auction in New York for $550,000 (£415,000).

The weapon, made mostly of wood, had previously spent more than 30 years in the possession of the film’s art director James Schoppe.

It sold for more than a lightsaber used by Mark Hamill in the first two Star Wars films, which fetched $450,000.

Despite being a much less sophisticated weapon, this Star Wars prop also brought in a heap of money:


  • June 24, 1983Twilight Zone – The Movie debuted.
  • June 24, 1987Spaceballs premiered theatrically.


  • Kathryn Sullivan learned from Breaking Cat News why books make the best cat beds.
  • Daniel Dern promises Get Fuzzy has “SFish refs.” And you know what that means. (Don’t you?)

(10) HOLY REPO, BATMAN! Hampus Eckerman wonders if Wayne Enterprises went broke. “The Batmobile has been taken into custody and is being auctioned off by the Swedish bailiffs,” according to this Swedish-language auction listing.

The following statistics have not been verified.

Length: 6 meters
Weight: 1750 kg
Max speed: 260 km/h
Chassis Lincoln Continental 1973
Motor 460 Ford big block V8. 550 hk
Chassis bulletproof carbonfiber

(11) DIVIDING THE BABY. Crazy Eddie’s Motie News looks ahead to the Saturn Awards and the Retro Hugos in “‘Get Out’ wins Bradbury Award plus my take on the Retro Hugo nominees”. The author makes a Solomonic decision about two Retro Hugo categories:

My picks would be between Forrest J Ackerman and his fanzine Voice of the Imagi-Nation and Donald A. Wollheim and The Phantagraph.  Ackerman was a bigger name in fandom while Wollheim eventually became a professional writer.  If I were a Hugo voter, which I’m not, I’d split the difference by voting Wollheim as the better writer and Ackerman’s fanzine as the better publication.

(12) BEGINNING OF THE ENDS. How It Ends is a new Netflix sff series.

As a mysterious apocalypse causes the spread of misinformation and violence, a man and his estranged father-in-law race across a chaotic and fractured country to save his pregnant wife. Starring Theo James, Forest Whitaker and Kat Graham, How It Ends premieres July 13 only on Netflix.


(13) SHOPPING FOR YOUR EDITOR. Amanda J. Spedding advises on “Finding the right editor, and when to run like hell” — what an editor is for, and how to assess prospective editors.

This post is brought to you by a Twitter thread I came across yesterday about the importance of editors. I recently wrote a post on just such a thing. If you’re disinclined to read that, I’ll break it down quickly: YOU NEED AN EDITOR.

Right then. Within this Twitter thread, I came across some information that needs to be addressed, so I’m chucking on my ranty-pants (they’re fabulous, by the way), and I’m going to give you some insights into what to look for in a good editor, and how to help find the right editor for you. Yes, not all editors will be the right fit. (I had a whole thing about editors being like pants, but it just got… weird.)

Aaaanywho, what had me don my ranty-pants was a writer explaining they’d been quoted $10,000 for an edit. I’ll just let that sink in. Ten grand. For an edit. Of one book. Oh, hell no. HELL NO. I don’t know who the so-called “editor” was who thought this was a reasonable quote. If I did, I would call them out on their bullshit. Because bullshit it is. I can’t even fathom an instance where quoting or even charging someone this amount is even within the realm of possibility. That, folks, is a scam. Run far. Run fast.

On the flipside, if you’re quoted say, $200 for a full edit of a novel – run far, run fast. No editor worth their salt would charge this little for a full edit. There’s a lot of skill that goes into editing, and most editors study to gain qualifications, to understand the nuances of English and its building blocks that go into great storytelling. Their qualifications and experience are worth more than two hundred bucks.

(14) THE PANIC OF 2942. Camestros Felapton worries about economic justice in Middle-Earth in “Dragons and wealth inequality”.

Dragons of the Smaug-Tolkien variety must have some interesting economic impacts. Smaug hoards gold and jewels in vast quantities. Notably, Smaug (and presumably other gold obsessed dragons) know specifically what they have hoarded. When Bilbo steals one of Smaug’s treasures, the dragon notices that it is gone. So Smaug’s lair isn’t like Scrooge McDuck’s vault full of coins – the dragon is hoarding possessions rather than coinage or more abstract tokens of wealth. That’s not to say some of a dragon’s gold isn’t in the form of coins but clearly, the dragon wants the coins for their own sake and not as a unit of currency. Each piece of the dragon’s hoard is uninterchangeable. Furthermore, a dragon has nothing to spend his wealth on – there aren’t dragon shops and the dragon’s interaction with other species is one of eating them or burning them to a crisp.

So when a dragon hoards gold, the gold is removed from the economy….

(15) DIGITAL GASLIGHTING. Cory Doctorow discusses “The Internet of Shit: a godsend for abusers and stalkers” at Boing Boing.

People who help domestic abuse survivors say that they are facing an epidemic of women whose abusers are torturing them by breaking into their home smart devices, gaslighting them by changing their thermostat settings, locking them out of their homes, spying on them through their cameras.

The abusers are often ex-partners who retain authentication passwords that allow them to access the IoT devices after a breakup.

Many of the women facing this abuse are wealthy and well-off (domestic abuse affects people of all incomes, but wealthier people are more likely to own these gadgets). In interviews with the NYT, survivors called it “jungle warfare” and “asymmetric warfare,” likening their ex-partners to guerrilla fighters attacking in secret….

The New York Times source article is here: “Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse”.

The people who called into the help hotlines and domestic violence shelters said they felt as if they were going crazy.

One woman had turned on her air-conditioner, but said it then switched off without her touching it. Another said the code numbers of the digital lock at her front door changed every day and she could not figure out why. Still another told an abuse help line that she kept hearing the doorbell ring, but no one was there.

Their stories are part of a new pattern of behavior in domestic abuse cases tied to the rise of smart home technology. Internet-connected locks, speakers, thermostats, lights and cameras that have been marketed as the newest conveniences are now also being used as a means for harassment, monitoring, revenge and control.

In more than 30 interviews with The New York Times, domestic abuse victims, their lawyers, shelter workers and emergency responders described how the technology was becoming an alarming new tool.

(16) THE LAST BITE. The Biology of Sharks and Rays investigates “The Extinction of Megalodon”.

To a greater or lesser extent, all living lamnids – including the White Shark – have a modified circulatory system that enables them to retain metabolic heat and extend their range into chilly waters. With the exception of the Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), which makes a good living even in tropical waters, all extant lamnids are primarily cold-water animals. Although some lamnids – like the White Shark – occasionally visit warmer waters, very few actually live there. Like the primates slathered in coconut oil on tropical beaches, warm water lamnids are generally tourists. And, like their human counterparts, they eventually go home. In contrast, megalodon does not seem to have extended its range into cool temperate waters. Despite its enormous body mass, megalodon may not have shared the lamnids’ ability to retain significant metabolic heat. This shortcoming may have effectively trapped Megalodon in discrete, ever-decreasing puddles of warm coastal waters. If, as Robert Purdy’s paleoecological study suggests, Megalodon was limited to warm waters and relied on coastal areas as pupping grounds – no matter from whence it descended or what it looked like – it had a very sandtiger-like life history. And this may have led to Megalodon’s ultimate undoing.

(17) WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES. April Wolfe in the Washington Post explores the issue of “women wearing unreasonable shoes in action films” with a discussion of Bryce Dallas Howard’s high heels in Jurassic World and interviews with costume designers Ellen Mirojnick and Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter: “The tortured history of action-film heroines and their high heels. (‘Jurassic World,’ anyone?)”

…What became clear is that movie audiences are more attuned than ever to on-screen footwear, amid our culture’s greater scrutiny of gender norms in film. But a look back at the history of heroines in heels shows that the issue is more complex than it seems.

For instance, one reason “Jurassic World” caught flak is not just that Howard was wearing heels but also that Trevorrow didn’t hide them. Veteran costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (“Cliffhanger,” “Speed,” “Strange Days”) explained that it’s typical for characters dressed in heels to be shot in a way that their shoes are not visible during any of the action. Try finding a single frame of “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” in which you can clearly make out Gemma Arterton’s shoes in a fight.

“We do substitutes, where we might put a wedge [heel] on her, because you won’t be actually seeing her feet,” Mirojnick said. “So we build a .?.?. shoe that will have the right height for the scene, but the audience is never to assume she’s wearing anything but the heel we saw her in before.”

It’s often just too difficult to perform any stunts, even running, in a heel. Some films, such as “True Lies” or “Red,” show a heroine in heels and then make it a point to show her removing them, to represent her shedding that more feminine identity, which also makes the action sequences easier to perform….

(18) A MONSTER “KID” REMEMBERS. Movie fan Steve Vertlieb shares the story of his life in “A Monster Kid Remembers” at The Thunderchild.

Cosmic dreams (and provocative nightmares) of tantalizing journeys through time and space … infinite, conceptual exploration of the stars … alien creatures … Hammer Films … Universal Pictures … “King Kong” … Harryhausen dinosaurs … and Famous “Monsters” of all shapes, sizes, and creeds, both conceived and lovingly chronicled in books, magazines, journals, tabloids, and on line for half a century, inspired this affectionate, deeply personal, if slightly Monstrous, remembrance of a life in “horror” by a gray haired, unabashedly child like, Monster “Kid.”

[Thanks to Bonnie McDaniel, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Hampus Eckerman, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Kathryn Sullivan, Steve Vertlieb, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

62 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/24/18 To File Where We Scrolled And Know The Pixel For The Fifth Time

  1. (7) I want to say it’s more valuable than the lightsaber because it fired first, but I know I would be corrected. (“It’s not from the first movie!”)

    (15) One of my electronic teachers—my favorite one, but he had problems, let us say—was a big jazz fan. He had 78s galore, and recorded hours of Eddie Condon live at clubs. He brought in some of his 78s and a player one day to class, explaining (with a tear in his eye, actually) “The Duke died.” So anyway, he told me he once made a device that sounded like a dripping faucet and hid it in a cupboard of the house he and his then-wife shared, and would turn it off and on to drive her crazy. One day, he said, she found it. He learned this when he walked in and one of his most valuable 78s flew through the air and smashed to pieces next to his face. He came into the living room, and his future ex was standing in a pile of unspooled audiotape, holding the device and a match. She dropped the latter into the tape. A bunch of other things happened. As I said, he had problems, but for some reason I always liked him. Probably because I wasn’t married to him, for starters.

    One time he was talking to another one of the electronics teachers at the Voc-Tech where I was taking radio-TV repair, and he was telling about how he used to carry these transmitters behind enemy lines and send a signal for our guys to home in on and bomb, and he’d then run to safety with the transmitter on his back, sometimes catching bullets. It turned out that the other teacher had been one of the guys in the exact same area, only it had been his job to repair the bullet-ridden devices that came in and get them back into active service again. Small world.

  2. Looks like I was too late on the last thread.
    Can anyone help me find a illustrated book from 10 to 15 years ago? It was a color illustrated novel(la) – lush and gorgeous and I swear it seemed to be in the same vein as Robopocalypse.
    I hope someone can help me jog my memory.

  3. Thanks for (5) Destination Moon. Evidently there’s a little dust in my eye. Sniff.

  4. Kip W on June 24, 2018 at 7:44 pm said:

    One time he was talking to another one of the electronics teachers at the Voc-Tech where I was taking radio-TV repair, and he was telling about how he used to carry these transmitters behind enemy lines and send a signal for our guys to home in on and bomb, and he’d then run to safety with the transmitter on his back, sometimes catching bullets. It turned out that the other teacher had been one of the guys in the exact same area, only it had been his job to repair the bullet-ridden devices that came in and get them back into active service again. Small world.

    Add some kissy face between the two of them and I’d read that story.

  5. @Iphonome: “Add some kissy face between the two of them and I’d read that story.”



  6. 16) There’s a very nice comic called Carthago about how divers open up an underwater cave and find that the Megalodon’s have survived there. It has that scary Jaws feeling.

  7. 14) I’m sure a genre savvy dragon could kick start a paper based currency by issuing promissory notes: Bank of Smaug promises to pay the bearer 1 gold piece on demand. So long as the bearer isn’t stupid enough to demand the gold piece from the dragon it should all work….

  8. @17, as Stoic Cynic referenced above, the first time I saw this lampshaded was in the movie “Romancing the Stone”, where Our Heroine accidentally ends up in a Columbian jungle and Our Hero hacks off the heels of her shoes with a machete. “Those were Italian!” “Now they’re practical” (Of course, the architecture of a high-heeled shoe isn’t practical even with the heel chopped off. But I suppose it’s better than barefoot….)

  9. IanP:

    I think it’s Secret of the Sixth Magic that has a chap starting up a bank with promissory notes, promising to pay “one magic token” for each note, once (one of) the magic(s) stops working.

    Hm, I should probably see if either of the first or second book exist in e-copy.

  10. (7) Of the three weapons, only the Ewok ax will work as claimed. That ought to factor into value.

    (15) Perhaps one has to have lived with gaslighting to have seen this one comng.

  11. I’m back from a weekend away which included a visit to the Bodleian Library’s Tolkein exhibition. I was going to report back and say that I loved it, and that it was interesting not just for Tolkein-specific bits and pieces but for anyone interested in the process of an individual highly invested in worldbuilding. The draft maps, despite their well-documented geological impossibilities, are particularly beautiful. It’s not a large exhibit but my friend and I spent at least an hour looking at all the different pieces, which range from doodles in the margins of the crossword to the original hand-“aged” pages of the Book of Mazarbul (the one the Fellowship discover in the Mines of Moria).

    HOWEVER, after reading the scroll, I’ve realised that there was a clear lack of pre- and post-Smaug economic analysis, and I’m wondering how this could possibly have been allowed to stand…

    (Side note, being away means I apparently missed my having name in scrolling lights yesterday… belated thanks for that!)

  12. @11: which Batmobile could that be? It’s too new for the TV series (mid-1960’s) and seems too old for any of the movies (1989ff)

    @13: Is she talking about self-published work, or about work that somebody is trying to sell to a publisher? I can see hiring an editor for the former, maybe, but I would think Yog’s Law still applies to the latter.

    @15: talk about “welcome to the [unevenly distributed] future!” (aka “first-world problems”). I’ve been reading enough nonfiction about the weaknesses of “smart” devices to be glad I don’t have any — none of the boosters of this tech seem to have been thinking about even the basic weaknesses (default passwording?!?) — but this is beyond anything I’ve read about. I was wondering whether anyone has written this in a story (as SF, not a haunting); the closest that occurs is Mycroft harassing the Warden in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, although there the issue is handing too much control to a central processor rather than putting processors in the devices.

    @Stoic Cynic: talk about fanatics! I’m not sure this knocks on the wood report — the story says so little about SW5-6 that it’s not clear whether the resin castings were just for general use or also used by the stars — but the effort the ~fans put into their research and reproduction is amazing.

  13. What will the 21st century dragon do with cryptocurrency? I think we would definitely see the advent of Dragocoin.


    I assume you have to provide your own pew-pew noises though.

  15. I think we would definitely see the advent of Dragocoin.

    I already mentioned HobBitCoin over at Cam’s post….

    (It involves intensive mining activities. Which aren’t actually technically required, but they keep the dwarves happy.)

  16. @ James Moar

    I already mentioned HobBitCoin over at Cam’s post….

    There’s plenty of competing cybercurrencies out there right now, so there’s room for one more. Dragocoin doesn’t mine coins, it plunders *other* coins!

  17. 7) I’m convinced there’s material for a scholarly dissertation on the iconography of the C96 “Broomhandle” Mauser (which is what Han Solo’s blaster is, with a bit of additional detailing). It seems to turn up any time there’s a need for a gun, but not a conventional gun – it’s a clearly gun-shaped object, but not the sort of gun you’d expect. (Which makes it handy for SF purposes – besides Star Wars, it’s the weapon of choice for the Earth security guards in the Doctor Who story “The Seeds of Death”, where it works about as well as you’d expect against an Ice Warrior.)

    Admittedly, sometimes it’s just the only prop a parsimonious production company has handy… leading to a ludicrous scene in ITC’s The Persuaders, where they add the shoulder stock/holster, put a scope and a really long silencer on it, and try to kid the viewers it’s a sniper rifle.

  18. 13) I have a few bones to pick with this. First of all, there are more than two kinds of editing, and line editing is not the same thing as copyediting. My job title is “production editor” but that’s really a misnomer; I’m a copyeditor in a digital-only environment who has some additional duties–I don’t do a lot of the work a regular production editor does. And I absolutely *do not* do line edits. Am in fact forbidden from doing them, because of the nature of the material I work on. Copyediting will make your shitty sentence grammatically correct, but it will still be a shitty sentence; a line edit will rewrite your shitty sentence so that it still sounds like your voice but is actually a good sentence, *and* it will make it grammatically correct. It’s sometimes called “copyedit-plus”.

    These numbers are insanely low. For a 300 page manuscript you should expect to pay *at minimum* $2,000 (Cdn.) for a decent copyeditor with any self respect. I charge $40/hr with an average speed of 5 manuscript pages per hour, and I charge a middle-of-the-road professional rate (I also have a “friends and family” rate of $35/hr). It jumps to $50/hr if you want a line edit, and $60/hr if you want fact checking. If you make last-minute changes or do other unprofessional things that will require me to redo work, you pay three times our agreed rate for that additional work. A substantive edit will cost you a lot more. A decent substantive editor may only work on five or six books a year, and they have to eat, too.

    This may be a genre thing–I don’t edit genre materials, I edit non-fiction and academic materials… but I’d be homeless if I was freelancing full time and I charged the sort of rates she’s suggesting.

    15) I had an argument on twitter a few years back w/ some med-tech guy who was trying to push IoT devices as a solution for homecare for seniors with dementia or other health issues. I said it was a recipe for elder abuse, and he said I was fear mongering. The idea that IoT technology might be leveraged by bad actors was a completely foreign idea to him.

  19. Andrew: This story (“Domestic Violence” by Madeline Ashby) was published in Slate recently

    Thanks for the link, Andrew, I enjoyed the story.

    However, Slate must have some sort of Trojan built into their site. When I opened that link in a tab, the memory my browser was using went from 1,700MB to 3,500MB, and the little fan inside my tablet started cranking for all it’s worth. I’ve noticed this happening recently with various clickbait sites — usually it’s the fan cranking on that alerts me to the fact that something on a site is chugging MB and CPU cycles, and I have to close the tab AND shut the browser down to get it to stop. Just closing the tab leaves whatever is running still running.

    Given this little nugget, I’m wondering if the website admins for these sites are running their own little enterprise on the side, using the devices of unwitting site visitors.

  20. @JJ: it’s usually the ads and similar nonsense. There have been reports of ad network code being used for similar nefarious things, and the code for a given ad is generally not vetted by the site devs at news and magazine sites; that is more than likely your culprit.

  21. August: it’s usually the ads and similar nonsense. There have been reports of ad network code being used for similar nefarious things, and the code for a given ad is generally not vetted by the site devs at news and magazine sites; that is more than likely your culprit.

    If that’s the case, wouldn’t the memory be released when the browser tab is closed?

  22. Not necessarily? I know Firefox used to be notorious for memory leaks caused by certain specific tasks.

    Edit: Asana does this or me on FF, for instance: if I don’t restart the browser every three hours on days when I use Asana on FF then eventually it takes down my entire system. I switched to Chrome because that problem doesn’t exist there (and my primary tools for work don’t play nice with Safari).

  23. @Ingvar: “. . . promissory notes, promising to pay “one magic token” for each note . . .”

    That reminds me of Flying Sorcerers by David Gerrold and Larry Niven, about a “sorcerer” (off-worlder) showing up to the consternation of the local sorcerer. At some point, promissory notes for work by the two “sorcerors” are used, but local sorcerer Shoogar’s notes are exchanged four-to-one for Purple’s notes, so they come to be called “quarters.” 🙂 I haven’t read this book in ages but I seem to recall it was amusing.

    @Chip Hitchcock: “I was wondering whether anyone has written this in a story (as SF, not a haunting); the closest that occurs is Mycroft harassing the Warden in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, although there the issue is handing too much control to a central processor rather than putting processors in the devices.”

    IIRC there were a couple of movies with “evil AI” versions of this, “smart buildings,” people trapped within, etc.

  24. Then there is Salon’s proposal to use readers’ computers to mine cryptocurrency.

    The linked story has a lovely freudian typo: “the program did illicit some raised eyebrows, as Monero [the cryptocurrency involved] has recently been associated with criminal activities”.

  25. @JJ & @August: Thanks for the information re. hijacking computers to mine cryptocurrency. Sigh.

    BTW here’s one trick (found at one of the links off the page JJ linked to) used to make it keep mining after the browser tab/window is closed. They open another window in the background and put it in a weird location, though I suspect that only works on some computers due to pop-up blockers, some OSs not putting windows completely out of sight (so a user may see and close it), etc. On Windows, I’d probably notice it; my settings make browser windows show separately in the task bar. I might not notice on my Mac, though I’ve found the pop-up blocking built in works fairly well in Safari and I rarely get weird pop-ups.

    Howtogeek.com has an article about how to block this stuff, though I side-eye this handwringing comment . . .

    Some adblockers also block cryptocurrency miners, but we don’t recommend using those because the web runs on ads. Blocking all ads will only encourage more websites to use cryptocurrency miners and other terrible things against users without adblock.

    . . . not use general ad blockers because web runs on ads, so everyone will use your CPU if you do that. ::eyeroll:: I was going to say “not legit sites,” but then I found apparently Salon.com will do it, although they sorta tell you (“don’t want ads? let us use your computing power”). Hmm.

    [ETA: Salon info ninja’d by johnstick!]

    Howtogeek.com’s recommendations seem to be Windows-based, but it’s good to hear some ad blockers block this stuff anyway. I customized mine to block the URL for coinhive using the URL in this article (option #4), though I made mine a bit broader, to block any resource loaded from the Coinhive domain.

    (This reminds me, I should pay more attention and whitelist sites that don’t use annoying [flashing, moving, video/audio, etc.] ads. I’ve been lazy about this for too long.)

  26. @August: (copy/line edit rates)

    I think there’s a non/fiction difference coming into play there, and I’d even class essays and opinion pieces in with the latter category. When poking about to see what competitive fiction rates are, I most commonly see per-word rather than per-page or per-hour rates. This makes intuitive sense to me, as IME a good editor will be faster than a bad one and IMO they should not be penalized for being quick.

    Now, when I do formatting and/or technical cleanup work on an ebook, I usually do like to go hourly, because there’s frequently little correlation between word count and complexity in those tasks. I can and have spent more effort cleaning up a hundred-page novella than was required for a 500-page novel, just because the styles were screwy in one and uniform in the other. (A thousand standard paragraphs are as easy to cope with on that level as three, thirty, or three hundred thousand.) For that reason, if a client wants to publish several short pieces separately but has them all prepared or is writing them as a batch, I will recommend putting all of the content into one document and telling me how they want it chopped up. That way, I can do the cleanup once for the batch instead of once per story. I know indies work on a shoestring, and I’m willing to do what I can to make the task easier on both of us. Heck, I even prepped a template document for J.B. which corresponds to a CSS file I keep on hand; I like repeat customers! If a new style needs to be added, I can update the template and CSS to account for it, and unused styles will get stripped out at the end.

    As for nonfiction, I would expect that work to be considerably more intensive on both a copyediting and a formatting level. One doesn’t typically deal with a lot of tables, illustrations, and bullet lists in fiction, and all of those have their own headaches that quite rightly demand a slower pace and premium price. I’m sure you can speak better to that aspect, though.

    ETA, @Kendall: “IIRC there were a couple of movies with “evil AI” versions of this, “smart buildings,” people trapped within, etc.”

    I definitely remember Electric Dreams as an example, and another that I haven’t seen was Demon Seed. Then there’s the recent X-file…

  27. @Rob Thornton surely you mean “Dracoin”

    (6) It wasn’t clear from the link whether these are new stories or reprints of the ones that came out back in 2004 or so which I remember as being ‘not horrible.’

  28. @Chip Hitchcock, Kendall, Rev. Bob: Philip Kerr’s Gridiron is an example of the “sentient building run amuck” genre. I’m not sure it’s the best, but it’s probably the most respectable, what with Kerr being Officially Proper Litratcha and stuff….

  29. @Rev. Bob: I don’t think speed is necessarily a sign of skill at all; it’s largely a sign of the demands placed on your time. (I base my rates largely on the recommendations of the Editor’s Association of Canada, fwiw, who recommend a per-page rather than per-word accounting; they’ve updated their per-hour rates to be less specific than they used to be, however, and I still go by their older recommendations.) At my day job I tend to work at a pace that’s close to 10-15 pages per hour, and I have been asked to edit as much as 300 pages in a single day. My deadlines are generally not negotiable–my primary (in-house) client runs a very specific training program, and the time between a writer finishing the work and it needing to be in the hands of the students is often very, very short… sometimes only a matter of hours, rarely longer than a week, and usually about a day. I get the work done, but my error rate is significantly higher than it was when I was working at a pace close to what the CEA recommends, which is what I did as a freelancer; I have yet to have somebody come back to me w/ problems from my freelance work, but it happens all the time with my in-house stuff, and my pace is absolutely the reason for that (it’s also the reason I’m the first person to be willing to take this project on twice; three copyeditors before me burned out and refused to continue with the program because the speed expectations are unreasonable in the extreme; I, frankly, need the income stability more than they did).

    One of the most important parts of getting things right, I find, is having the space to think about a problem or detail, to look it up, to think about it some more, to put it aside and come back. If you don’t have that, or if you don’t allow it for yourself even in times when you could, you may wind up making choices that are technically correct, but aren’t necessarily the right choices for the project (and of the three Cs of copyediting–clarity, consistency, and correctness–being technically correct is far and away least important). Nearly all of the “rules” are actually just choices, and it’s better to make the right one than to be slavish to the style guide. And that’s not something you can throw money or manpower at: it just takes time.

    It’s also worrying when I talk w/ my fellow editors: in Canada, even adjusted for the exchange rate, we make significantly less than our fellows in the United States and the UK, especially for substantive work. In fact, substantive editors here make about half of what they do in the US, on average, according to industry surveys. And the trend is downward: fewer and fewer clients are willing to pay for editors at all, and those who do are refusing to pay what they used to. When I freelance, I still have to pay taxes and other overhead costs, plus things like insurance (basic medical is covered in Canada by the government, but my physiotherapy, for instance, isn’t) that I don’t have to worry about when I’m in-house. All that needs to be factored into my hourly rate. I have 13 years experience and I’m starting to see publishers–PUBLISHERS–offering people $300 to edit an entire novel. Writers aren’t the only ones who have trouble getting paid, and I’m not crazy about how the self-publishing world is helping to normalize these kinds of rates.

  30. Huh. Well, that was just a wild-ass guess on my part about what’s been happening. I hadn’t heard that websites were actually admitting to doing this. Obviously Slate isn’t even bothering to ask permission — and I’m not running an ad-blocker, so they can’t claim that as an excuse.

    I downloaded and installed the free trial of Malwarebytes Premium, which is supposed to block cryptominers amongst other things, then clicked on the link to the Slate story again. No whopping chunk of RAM or CPU got taken this time.

    Just when you think companies can’t get any more scummy than they already are, they prove you wrong. 😐

  31. @August

    FF didn’t used to run tabs in separate sandboxes unlike Chrome. That’s changed now afaik. Should stop a hung /crashed tab from taking out the browser and while it might not stop cryptominers it should mean they die with the tab.

  32. Chip Hitchcock; Re 13: I think she’s *mostly* talking about self-pub, though with the big name publishers doing less in-house, some professionals get a full editorial lookover beforehand, too, as well as the more usual (and often free, reciprocal, or at worst much cheaper) critiques and beta reading services.

    As for whether this violates Yog’s law: this is not a scammer saying “If you pay us for these edits we will publish this work”, which is where Yog’s Law applies (A writer sends their MS to the agent or publisher, and gets an offer of representation and/or an advance, and no money should come *from the writer.) This is the author choosing, of their own free will, to hire a secondary freelancer. This is prior to the actual sending, and not part of the promise of publishing or “ways to identify scammers”.

    Ditto for sensitivity readers and paid critique work.

    And for self-pub, the rules are different, because self and if you tried to do it and apply Yog’s law, you would generally fail, because freelancers do not work for a cut of future profits. But even then, Yog Sysop himself has pointed out, the *publisher* should still be the one putting out the costs for editing (of any/all kinds), proofreading and page setting, and cover art and graphic design, it’s just that the publisher happens to be the same human being as the writer.

  33. @Arifel, a mountaineering blog I’m catching up on has a 2014 post that mentions that Mount Mulanje in Malawi, Africa, is rumored to be Tolkien’s inspiration for The Lonely Mountain. The blog author is British, for what it’s worth. (The blog entry is mostly about climbing Mulanje and only mentions Tolkien briefly – I just included the link for completeness.) Mulanje is a standalone massif, not part of a chain, which makes sense.

  34. Bradbury’s “The City” isn’t exactly a sentient city and its buildings run amok, but, well, kind of. I’m not sure it qualifies as “amok” because the City is doing exactly what it was set up to do, but it might be considered “amok” because it does some very destructive things and it is, like the domestic abuse issues above, a revenge scheme. A revenge scheme writ global.

  35. I will never again agree to copyedit for anything other than an hourly rate, given my experience copyediting Robert Heinlein novels for the (defunct since 2007) Meisha Merlin Publishing Co., the initial publisher of the Virginia Edition complete works of R.A.H. I wasn’t recruited for this work; I wrote to the publisher after reading about the VE at the Locus website in early 2005, provided my qualifications, and accepted a per-page contract when it was offered. Twice in later months I had to spend hours composing letters arguing (successfully) why my per-page rate had to be increased.

    There were several large areas of variability that caused slowdowns in my work. One had to do with the vagaries of OCR (the files I worked on were OCR’d from scans of first-edition hardcovers; the books themselves were also sent to me). Another was that, as any editor should do, I studied the text until I was satisfied that I had come up with all the queries that were necessary – some of which led to the realization that the author himself had missed errors in galley proofs that weren’t present in the original typescript he had prepared. (Such as “He dropped his feet to the desk” at the end of chapter 11 of Starship Troopers – a few readings led me to realize that made little to no sense, and it turned out that the original MS had it as “deck”, so today the VE is the only edition showing that sentence as it should be.)

  36. I did ‘copy editing plus’ back in the early 90s for consumer magazines in the UK. At the time, the going rate was £120 a day, with maybe six person-weeks of work per monthly issue. Given the extra text density of a novel, I’d expect it to take considerably longer/cost more. But I’d hope a novelist wouldn’t require the ‘plus’ part of the service.

  37. I did a copyedit-plus for a memoir by a guy who’d been a music journalist since before I was born–he’s modestly famous in Canada, but mostly for being a MuchMusic VJ, though he was still working as a journalist then–and it may have been the worst prose I’ve ever worked on, which was shocking to me, given his career. I probably went too far on that project, but *he* was really happy with it, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

  38. I remember being told – again, 20-year-old information – that the journalists for British tabloid The Sun were the ones who collected the facts. It was up to sub-editors to turn those facts into The Sun’s lambert prose. Maybe your music journo came from the same school?

    We used to run a column on educational software when I was an editor. I was very pleased to get a freelance writer for it who was not only in charge of selecting this software for schools in a large region of England, but he also wrote a column for The Sunday Times. And then I saw his copy: by far the worst prose of all the pros I’d come across.

  39. Okay, I have a question completely unrelated to either this Scroll or the comment thread thus far. I’m hoping the answer is a known issue and some (un)kind soul can just point me to some existing detailed response, because I refuse to believe that I’m the only person who’s thought to ask this.

    Over the weekend, I finally watched Avatar. Never saw it in theaters, didn’t pick it up on disc, but I saw that it was available for free and I had some time to kill. Anyhow, thinking back on the movie, three things have to all be true simultaneously and I don’t see how they can be:

    1. Humans use a form of wireless telepresence to operate their avatars like waldos.
    2. The flux region blocks instrumentation in combat aircraft, which by all rights should be shielded to the highest spec possible.
    3. Avatars work perfectly in the flux region. No signal drops, no control issues, no lag… no problems whatsoever.

    I’m not the only one questioning that third point, right? Please tell me there’s an answer out there.

  40. @August But good luck getting different people to agree on the definitions of proofreading, line editing, copyediting, or substantive editing. The people you work for may well think that what you’re doing is the standard definition of “production editor,” for example.

    I had a client last year ask me about proofreading rates, and say what he was looking for. I wrote back and said “for the sort of proofreading/light copyediting you’re looking for, I would charge [amount],” and he said yes. We were both satisfied, and I’m going to be editing another book for him later this year. But he thought that the sort of edit he was looking for was called “proofreading.”

    A couple of months after that, the person who gave him my name asked for a proofreading job. She really did want proofreading, which I was happy to do–but a cold read, not the old sense of proofreading in which I am largely checking whether the typeset document matches the manuscript. I

  41. @Jonesnori Ah, that climb looks fascinating (although I’m personally more of a sea-level-or-below type human). My internal idea of the Lonely Mountain was always that of a single cartoon triangle sticking up out of the ground, but consultation with the books indicates that it was originally more of a troubled starfish shape.

    (On a completely different note, I went to check my 3 volume edition of LOTR to look at the maps there too, and I discovered that the second and third volumes both have synopses of the plot so far, to help jog readers’ memory! If Tolkien readers in the 90s were entrusted with plot synopses in later volumes of what is literally supposed to be the same book, is it so much for publishers today to let me have plot synopses in later books of a continuous series?)

    (For the record, I’m on the “all maps are great, especially if they have dragons, eh to geology” side of fantasy map drawing.)

  42. @Rev. Bob: James Cameron has described how ayuniltìrantokx operate as, and I quote, “pure fucking magic”. I wouldn’t be surprised if the presser literature (which cites the work of one Dr. Lovecraft in the early development of the project, and nasty things being done to chimpanzees and prisoners) uses the word ‘quantum’ once or twice.

  43. @Arifel, I hasten to assure you that I am strictly an armchair climber. I find the stories fascinating, and Mark Horrell writes well. (He self-publishes, too. Most of his books are what he calls lightly-edited travel diaries, and they sell for the minimum Amazon allows, $.99 or £.99 or €.99. He has one longer book.)

    The closest I’ve come to the mountaineering experience was a total cheat – my late husband and I in our last vacation together took the cog railway to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. No climbing at all, but we did rise above the clouds, and experienced the wonder of an environment all covered with hoarfrost, with the only touch of color the train itself, looking like it was posing in a photo studio against a white backdrop. There were also the fluffy clouds below and clear blue sky above. It was *amazing*. We were very lucky – Mount Washington frequently has bad weather and can have extremely high winds. But anyway, I can understand one reason climbers love the mountains.

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