Pixel Scroll 6/3/18 And The Gates Scrolled Open. “It’s Old Filer; Pixel Means Friend”

(1) OVERCOMER. Robyn Bennis provides “A Debut Author’s Guide to Social Anxiety”.

….If, on the other hand, the above feels like a gross exaggeration of your social anxiety, then perhaps I do have a handful of weird old tips for you.

Perhaps the most important thing is to have someone on your side. I am extremely lucky to have talented and fearless people who want me to succeed, and it has helped immeasurably. Now, this may seem like a bit of a paradox. Social anxiety can make recruiting your friends not just a Herculean task, but a mild imposition on them, and therefore an impossible request. “How can I make such a request,” you say, “as worthless and unworthy as I am? My friend surely has better things to do—like staring into space or streaming the complete run of She’s the Sheriff. I can’t let them waste their time on me.”

To get over this, the first thing you have to do is acknowledge that your brain is lying to you. I mean, Suzanne Somers is great and all, but that show just doesn’t hold up. Good acting can only go so far in saving such a horrible premise.

Oh, and your brain is also lying about your worthlessness. You are worthy and deserving of the help of others. But seriously, who the hell thought that show was a good idea?

(2) THE BOVA ERA. Do my eyes deceive me, a kind word for Analog? Well, not about just any issue — James Davis Nicoll reviews the Special Women’s Issue from June 1977 in “Nothing Without a Woman or a Girl”. (So, perhaps Galactic Journey will say something kind about the magazine in another 14 years?)

I have excoriated Ben Bova’s fiction in the past, but I have nothing but admiration for his work as editor for Analog. While Disco-Era Analog might seem a bit stodgy to modern eyes, at the time Bova was a breath of fresh air. Rather than settle for being a second-rate Campbell, he did his best to be a first-rate Bova. He recruited new authors, many of whom differed (excitingly) from Analog’s Old Guard. He also bought more stories by women than did his predecessor1. While some old guard objected to Bova’s direction, enough readers enjoyed it to give him a remarkable six Best Editor Hugo Awards, as well as one nomination for the same category….

Eyes of Amber won the Hugo. The Screwfly Solution won a Nebula. Two major awards for stories from one issue is remarkable. Other stories, such as the Tellure, may not have won accolades but were memorable enough for me to remember as soon as I laid eye on them. All things considered, this was a pretty awesome read to be my third ever issue of Analog. It’s no surprise that Bova was nominated for a Hugo on the basis of his 1977 work.

(3) ON THE TABLE. E.D.E. Bell lists five vegan foods to try:

…In my mind, whenever someone asks what could be vegan about fantasy, it proves to me that they’ve never been a vegan reading fantasy. In addition to a lot of the violence and war in the genre (it’s usually a central component, even outside of grimdark), the best scenes feature someone riding their steed in a fine leather vest to grab a hock of ham. I’m not even sure I know what hocks are, but I have concluded they are key to the development of fantasy heroes. So, you know, my fiction is just focused a bit differently. In fact, I think that diversity and exploration is what fantasy is all about.

I’m not here to get into all of that, though. I’m here to talk about one of Cat’s and my favorite subjects: yummy food. Now, I’m not an authority on gourmet cuisine. Go to a vegan restaurant or check out many amazing online vegan chefs for that. (I’m particularly fond of Richa Hingle.) Hey, I’m not even a great cook. But I haven’t eaten meat in almost a quarter century, so I can definitely speak to “what we eat.” Don’t worry. This is just a quick blog to spark some ideas. But if you don’t mind eating plants, here are five simple foods you could give a spin….

(4) WHERE RIVERS AND FANS MEET. The 2018 Confluence will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel from July 27-29, with Guest of Honor Catherynne M. Valente and special music guest S.J “Sooj” Tucker.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first Confluence, although it is not the 30th Confluence (they had to skip 1999 and 2013).

(5) TOURISTS. Stormtroopers and other Imperial military personnel dropped in to see the sf exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History today. (Photo by John King Tarpinian.)


  • Born June 2, 1920 — Bob Madle, one of only two surviving attendees of the very first Worldcon. It’s possible Bob is the oldest living SF fan.


(8) PIONEER FILK. Rob Hansen has added what appears to be the earliest filking fanzine produced in the UK to his THEN fanhistory site: “Songs From Space (1957)”.

Presented here is what appears to be the earliest filking fanzine published in the UK, which is dated August 1957. It was published by Eric Bentcliffe, reworked lyrics were by Sandy Sandfield, and artwork by Eddie Jones.

The final song, Space Club Drag, is inspired by The Space Club, a clubroom for London fandom that Helen Winick had tried to establish around the turn of the year.

(9) OPENING IN JUNE. Parade’s Lambeth Hochwald, in “Incredibles 2: The 10 Most Incredible Reasons We Love the Parr Family”, interviews the cast and writer/director Brad Bird, who says that the two Incredibles films “major in family and minor in superheroes.”

The most incredible family of superheroes is back. The Parrs, the lovable, fearless family of five we first met in 2004 in The Incredibles, will return for another animated adventure when Disney-Pixar’s Incredibles 2 arrives in theaters June 15.

And although 14 years have passed, it’s like the clock has barely ticked at all: The new movie picks up seconds after the first one ended, with the same cast of characters. Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) hurtles back into superhero work, while her husband, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), remains behind as a stay-at-home dad with the couple’s three kids, teenage Violet (Sarah Vowell), adolescent Dash (newcomer Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack.

(10) CONCAROLINAS. David Weber told his Facebook followers the terms under which he agreed to be a ConCarolinas special guest next year.

I have been in contact with Jada at ConCarolinas by Messenger, and she tells me that they will be making a live announcement at closing ceremonies, with the video to be on their Facebook group, which will make clear that going forward they will be inviting guests they feel are genre-related and that as a convention which has never taken a political stance they will not tolerate being told that guests must lean one way or another or that guests are uninvitable because of their political stances. They will expect anyone who attends to be able to be in a room with another person who disagrees with him/her and be civil to one another. They will also not be beholden to bullies or trolls and will not disinvite guests after such attacks. They will also mention what happened to John, and state that the mutual decision for him not to attend was wrong and that they apologize to John for the hurt and the frustration that was caused by their decision and for the fact that their initial statement did not make it clear that HE was the one being harassed and bullied by vile, unfounded allegations (which went so far as to drag his wife into the fire) and threats to harass him at the con which would have turned a regional con into a battleground. On that basis, I have agreed to attend the con as a special guest next year.

Weber also says the convention will give him a contract about his appearance.

Weber wrote at length about his expectations yesterday, concluding —

People, the object is to fix the problem, not to pile on (from either side) and not for anybody to issue masochistic mea culpas. But there is a point at which grown-ups have to begin the “fix the problem” conversation by acknowledging that they screwed up and publicly apologizing to the object of their screwing up. To be blunt, ConCarolinas owes John Ringo a public apology for not making clear who was the victim and strongly condemning the hatemongers who attacked him AS HATEMONGERS.

Coming from Weber, that is perhaps not a surprising characterization of those who had issues with Ringo’s selection as a special guest.

The ConCarolinas chair delivered the statement she negotiated with Weber this afternoon at closing ceremonies – here is the video.

Weber’s reaction to the video is:

At the moment, I am VERY satisfied. I’m sure that some people are going to wish that there’d been more self-flagellation and public contrition, but she was reading a prepared statement that she wanted to be sure got every point covered. Under the circumstances, I think this is a positive admission of the mistakes that were made, an apology to John, a proper characterization of the vileness of the allegations thundered against him, and a very decent starting point to move forward. And speaking as someone who’s had to eat a little crow in public himself upon occasion, I know how hard it is — especially coming back after the fact — to apologize in a case like this.

(11) FAN OVERBOARD. Honor Harrington fandom has been experiencing some rough sailing. Longtime volunteer Tom Coonradt announced his retirement as the Senior Master Chief Petty Officer of the Royal Manticoran Navy due to a conflict with leadership.

…It is with a very heavy heart that I say this.

It is my opinion that John Roberts is the worst possible fit for a first space lord this, or any, Organization could have.

Since before John Roberts became first space lord he has treated me with disdain, condescension, and disrespect. And I know I am not the only one. Culminating with a public outburst at a respected member of this organization at Manticon.

John Roberts refuses to communicate with me in writing, he says because he communicates poorly in writing. My concern is that there is ZERO accountability there. There is no recording of a spoken conversation that can keep a first space lord honest. He has out rightly and in writing (ironically) refused to discuss anything with me at all in writing, even if it is a simple message of “I want to talk to you about this topic, when can I call you?” I had on the phone, only a few short weeks ago, given him several possible solutions to our communication issue. When I thought we had reached a compromise, the only thing he sent me, ironically enough, is the new policy on how to replace the SMCPON. One he refused to discuss further with me after I gave my impressions.

He has no ability to be flexible, and in fact will refuse to listen or even acknowledge any advice, idea or criticism that he doesn’t agree with….

The group’s website defines The First Space Lord as the Senior Executive Vice President of The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association, Inc.

The full text of Coonradt’s statement can be found attached to a comment on this post.

(12) DEPT. OF HARD TO KEEP SFF AHEAD OF REALITY. At TechCrunch “‘Upgrade’ director Leigh Whannell talks low-budget worldbuilding”.

TechCrunch: It’s interesting that it came from your imagination, because in some ways it feels very prescient. We had our own robotics event a couple of weeks ago and one of the big moments onstage was someone in a wheelchair who was able to take a few steps thanks to an exoskeleton.

Whannell: So the exoskeleton that helps people with paralysis walk and move, this movie is the internalized version of that, where it goes one step further and there’s nothing exterior. It’s a chip.

It has been interesting to watch the world catch up to my script. Because when I wrote the first draft of this script, automated cars and smart kitchens were still science fiction. And in the ensuing years, they’ve become ubiquitous. I mean, my wife’s car parks itself and talks to her. And my daughter thinks it’s perfectly normal to have a voice talking to her in the kitchen, and she asks it to play songs and it does. So in a way I feel like I’m living in the world of the movie I wrote all those years ago.

(13) PARVUS IS OPEN. Colin Coyle of Parvus Press says they are open for novel and novella submissions until July 15. See details on the publisher’s website under Submissions.

Coyle also notes that their Kickstarter for If This Goes On edited by Cat Rambo has raised $6,074 of its $10,000 goal in the first four days.

(14) DEPARTMENT OF MYSTERIOUS HINTS. Here’s your first clue:

(15) HEARTS OF TABAT. Marion Deeds reviews Cat Rambo’s Hearts of Tabat at Fantasy Literature.

…On the surface, Hearts of Tabat might be a slightly satirical comedy-of-manners, but the Beasts are growing restless and rebellious, and something (or someone) is trying to siphon away the magic that protects the land. When, abruptly, Bella Kanto is accused of sorcery and exiled, it is clear something is very wrong.

Rambo’s world is beautifully described, complex and plausible. Good people are complicated, and aren’t always good. Sebastiano works daily with the Beasts, seeing their natures, yet spouts standard bigoted lines about how they can’t be accorded the same rights as humans. Adelina’s infatuation with Eloquence causes her to ignore her own better judgment. Eloquence himself is charming and seductive, but we see a different side of him at home with his sisters.

A large part of the Tabat society is religion. The Trade Gods and the Moon Temples, with their different belief systems, are depicted convincingly. The effects of poverty are not romanticized. Frankly, Obedience has it so bad at home that when she is abducted along with a magic student I can only think that’s going to be a step up for her….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Cat Rambo, Jack Lint, Rich Lynch, Colin Coyle, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

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177 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/3/18 And The Gates Scrolled Open. “It’s Old Filer; Pixel Means Friend”

  1. @OGH

    Yes, you keep inferring – inventing – that information, even when none of the principles has said that happened.

    I went back to listen to the video. From the video came this one statement:

    “….there were threats to harass him* at the con…..”

    *meaning John Ringo

    I guess the issue turns on the definition of “harass”. Did they communicate a physical threat? Did they communicate a threat to disrupt any event where he is present?

    In the case of the former, Mr. Ringo is the obvious victim. In the case of the latter, both he and the con were the victims. I don’t think I’m teasing gossamer into gold ingots on this one.

    Or is their claim of threatened harassment only valid if they publish the emails/voicemails/smoke signals in a public forum?

    @Stoic Cynic

    I now believe libertarianism only works where there is a common ideological and values framework in a community and no significant disparities in resources available to individuals.

    I think I kind of agree. If your point is that voluntary social safety nets (of the sort that the proto-typical libertarian prefers) only work under that condition, then I agree. However, generous social spending programs only work well in a similar community with a common ideology and values framework.

    Impressions and perceptions aside, I’m not exactly a total libertarian. Infrastructure is a necessary area of government spending as are honest courts and law enforcement.

    And….this will probably get my libertarian card revoked….but I think there are some New Deal era programs that could be really productive with a little tweaking. I’d like to see the Constitution amended first to make them legal, but that’s a separate issue.

    Money is the root of ALL Evil! Send $20 for more info

  2. (Apologies if this proves to be a duplicate comment. First attempt vanished into the ether)

    @Rev. Bob, I assumed it wasn’t played for laughs in the book, but don’t you think it was a deliberate play on words by the author? (A kris being a type of long knife).

    Similarly, no one in the Honor Harrington books makes jokes about Rob S. Pierre’s name, as far as I can remember, but it was still enough to make me think “Really? Oh, come on!” when I was reading Weber.

    Jokey names disrupt my WSOD. YMMV.

  3. @Lee

    For my money, the best of Weber’s work is Path of the Fury and its later expansion In Fury Born. (If you just want to read one of them, I recommend the latter; you won’t miss anything thereby.) Yes, the kick-ass female protagonist is every bit as much of an unbelievable prodigy as HH, but the side characters more than make up for that, it passes the Bechdel test with flying colors (due to the nature of the side characters) the plot is engaging, and it’s a stand-alone, so you don’t have to worry about tropes repeating over and over again. It’s on my Desert Island Books list.

    In Fury Born is the one David Weber book that’s sitting unread on my shelves. I also have the first one or two Kris Longknife books somewhere.

  4. Dann: At the very least, I am highly suspect of China’s “social capital” initiative because it is being operated by the government. A government that is not impartial.

    And you think that a large-scale reputation capital system run by the populace would not be massively exploited through manipulation by people trying to take down business competitors or getting revenge for personal grudges? Oh, you sweet summer child.

  5. @Cora
    I’ve read “In Fury Born”. It’s not bad – better than many of the Harrington books.

  6. @Nickp: “don’t you think it was a deliberate play on words by the author? (A kris being a type of long knife).”

    Is it? Never knew that.

  7. Nickp: A kris being a type of long knife

    Thank you for making me one of Today’s Lucky 10,000. 😀

  8. I was only familiar with the Crysknife of Dune fame. Should have considered that most of the unfamiliar words there were not made up outright.

  9. On the subject of Weber’s names, the one that really irritated me was that of a smarmy Havenite character during the time of Honor’s captivity: “Guillermo Rodham”. I file that one alongside Poul Anderson’s “Ned (Neddy) Moriarty” in The Boat of a Million Years.

  10. And Weber’s Mostest Evilest Mass-murderingest Worse-Than-Hitler Psychopathic Villain in his “Armageddon Reef” books is named… wait for it…. Clintahn. (Or something like that; I can’t be bothered to find the exact misspelling….)

  11. Regarding the word “kris” – I’d certainly seen that word and knew it to be a type of knife (I think I saw the word in a Doyle story), but until today, I never associated the word with the Crysknives of Dune (I always took the Crys- part of that to be short for “Crystal”). Learn something new everyday. I too find jokey names to be WSOD-breaking – though sometimes I interpret them as “in-story” jokes (someone named Chris Longknife might decide that “Kris” was an amusing way to spell the name). Rob S. Pierre doesn’t work as an “in-story” joke, though.

    I did like Basilisk Station, mostly for the day-to-day problems of command, like figuring out how to do an assigned job that one is understaffed and under-equipped for, while dealing with personnel who are unsuited in one way or another for their jobs, and for the “Aha” moment Honor gets when she figures out the plot against her, and how to fix it (people who read the later books will be startled to learn that the dramatic battle at the end of this book involves less than a half-dozen missiles in toto).

    @Cassy B: Makes sense that the Dutch would have that attitude.

  12. I’ve enjoyed the Honor Harrington books but I must admit that I use the “John Galt speech technique” on them.
    That is, I skip over the wordy, drawn-out,”Jesus, how much more can this go on” military info-dumps that he loads on.
    Oh, and skip the strange ‘schematics’ of ships and missiles and pods.
    I’d imagine that reduces the word-count by a good percentage.

  13. @Harold Osler:

    I like seeing the weapon tech development, from a worldbuilding standpoint. I mentioned a while back that I’ve been designing a fictional telepresence interface and implant. I could’ve just posited that someone invented it, and it may come out that way in the fiction, but going through the development process opens many other possibilities. I know, for instance, what older versions look like. I know why a certain feature exists in the software but was disabled until later versions, which suggests a story all its own.

    That said, I don’t bother checking Weber’s figures when he talks about how many millions of warheads get through the PD system, or how fast the ships are going as they pass, or anything else like that. I just nod, smile, and look at the results of the exchange.

  14. Kris is one of those words I can’t remember learning, although for some reason I connected it to Malaysia while Wikipedia says it’s most found in central Java. However, I’d walked past the Longknife titles many times and not realized the possible pun; does that make me one of 10,000? My utterly unsupported guess is that Herbert was thinking of “crystal” (“kris” is a species of knife, not an adjective), but I wouldn’t lay money on it; he might have heard something random and misinterpreted it.

  15. @Harold Osler

    I’ve participated in a number of discussions over which parts of HH books should be edited out based on what various readers generally skip. IME most of us scan/skip a good 1/3+ of his books with weapons/ships and/or political info dumps being the most frequent closely followed by character building moments by those who are reading it strictly for the MilSF. I’ve often concluded he could put it 2-4 versions of the books for his various readers:

    1. Complete book
    2. Only MilSF components including weapons and ship info dumps cutting out political and personal relationship info dumps
    3. Basic MilSF leaving off info dumps on weapons and and ships including relationships info dumps and will tolerate political info dumps (although most of us wouldn’t complain if they were edited down)
    4. Basic MilSF heavily edited down to the barebones of the story removing 80%+ of info dumps

  16. Tasha Turner: I’ve often concluded he could put it 2-4 versions of the books for his various readers

    That would be awesome! I’ll take the version with the character-building, strategy, and action scenes, but the political proselytizing and the weaponry minutiae removed, please. 😀

    (My impression is that there are Manticorans who use the interminable counts of weapons fired and destroyed in some sort of boardgaming.)

  17. I assumed it wasn’t played for laughs in the book, but don’t you think it was a deliberate play on words by the author? (A kris being a type of long knife).

    As the co-creator of a fantasy hero named Fletcher Arrowsmith, I wouldn’t know anything about that sort of thing.

  18. Gonna take a wild stab in the dark here and guess that such a character must be a wizard?

  19. @Oneiros:

    Yeah, right? Just like Bobby Drake, that mutant with the fire powers…

  20. Speaking of names, this week I learned about Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith. The combination of double-barreled aristocratic Spanish name with the most common and prosaic of English surnames reminded me of some SF character names.

    Her husband retired as Lieut. General Sir Harry Smith, Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, and the city of Ladysmith in South Africa is named after her, so between the two of them their names were a real Imperial melange.

    (She seems to have led a very adventurous life, and I have put Georgette Heyer’s biographical novel about her on my tbr pile)

  21. I have somehow always known that a kris is a knife.

    Some thought and a quick google suggests Kipling.

  22. @Chip

    Kris is one of those words I can’t remember learning, although for some reason I connected it to Malaysia while Wikipedia says it’s most found in central Java.

    I heard of them in the “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators” series (yes, I am old), where it was called a “Malay kris,” so I had the same assumption.

  23. The particular bit of Kipling that Google suggested was a Just So story, The Crab that Played With the Sea. I know that I was read these stories before I could read, and read them myself before school age:
    … and the man took his kris – a curving wavy dagger with a blade like a flame –

    As to where in the world the story is supposed to be:

    One side of his great shell touched the beach at Sarawak; the other touched the beach at Pahang

    So we are certainly in Malaysia. And of course it would not be Kipling without some casual racism:

    ‘You are lazy’ said the Eldest Magician. ‘So your children shall be lazy. They shall be the laziest people in the world. They shall be called the Malazy- the lazy people;’

    Shocking, I know, but they were different times, and it evidently was OK in those days to put that semicolon inside the single quotes.

  24. There was a vast malaise upon the land.

    Say, all this talk reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:

    HE: Do you like Kipling?
    SHE: I don’t know; I’ve never read any.


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