Pixel Scroll 6/8/18 Near A File By A Pixel There’s A Scroll In The Ground

(1) WORLDCON 75 BONUS. 2017 Worldcon Vice-chair Colette H. Fozard sent an update about the printed souvenir books people are looking forward to receiving.

We have the list of people to send the printed souvenir book to, and we’re sorry for the delay but it is due to a bonus!  We’re doing a limited-run reprint of our short story anthology, Giants at the End of the World – A Showcase of Finnish Weird, and that book will be included with the mailed souvenir books. We ran out at con, so we’re printing more to include with this mailing. We expect the printing and mailing to be done by the end of June.  Thanks so much for your patience!

(2) ANIMATED SPIDER-MAN TRAILER. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is coming from Sony Pictures Entertainment this Christmas.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.


(3) VOTING. WIRED’s Adam Rogers, in “Elections Don’t Work at All. You Can Blame the Math”, examines voting systems, and in particular Instant Runoff Voting as it applies to electing a new mayor for San Francisco. This is comparable to the system used for Hugo voting prior to EPH, except that SF voters are only allowed to rank 3 candidates while Worldcon voters can rank all available candidates (including No Award). Among other things, it’s apparently slowing the determination of the outcome as paper ballots could be postmarked as late as election day.

…See, the San Francisco mayoral election isn’t just another whoever-gets-the-most-votes-wins sort of deal. No, this race was another example of the kind of cultural innovation that California occasionally looses upon an unsuspecting America, like smartphones and fancy toast. Surprise, you guys! We don’t even vote like y’all out here.

The way it worked is called ranked choice voting, also known as an instant runoff. Voters rank three choices in order of preference. The counting process drops the person with the fewest first-choice votes, reallocates that candidate’s votes to all his or her voters’ second choices, and then repeats. Does this sound insane? Actually, it’s genius. It is also insane.

(4) MANITOBA BOOK AWARDS. Craig Russell writes, “I’m pleased to say that Fragment is on the shortlist for The Michael Van Rooy Award!” (See all the award categories on the Manitoba Book Award shortlist.)

The Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction

  • The Bootlegger’s Confession by Allan Levine, published by Ravenstone Press, an imprint of Turnstone Press
  • Fragment by Craig Russell, published by Thistledown Press
  • The Mermaid’s Tale by D.G. Valdron, published by Five River Publishing
  • Strangers – Book 1 of The Reckoner Series by David A. Robertson, published by HighWater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press

The Manitoba Writers’ Guild ceremony for the upcoming Manitoba Book Awards will be held on Friday, June 15.

(5) BOURDAIN OBIT. Culinary explorer and TV personality Anthony Bourdain died of suicide on June 8. The Huffington Post explores his genre connection in “Anthony Bourdain’s Boyhood Dream Was To Make Comics. Few People Know He Did.”.

Bourdain once told CNN that he was a serious comic book collector as a kid. “At the end of the day, I’m a super nerdy fanboy,” he said. He admitted to Jimmy Fallon that, unfortunately, he sold his collection for drugs back in the 1980s.

In 2012, Bourdain co-wrote his first comic with author Joel Rose. It was called “Get Jiro!” The setting is the not-so-distant “Bourdainian” future.
Foodies have taken over and celebrity chefs not unlike mob bosses run the world. The mysterious Jiro-San is the new hotshot sushi chef in town. The city’s warring culinary factions have each given him an ultimatum: Join our
side or die.

(6) BERTIN OBIT. Horror writer Eddy C. Bertin died May 22 reports his publisher David Sutton.

Very sadly I have to report that veteran horror and Cthulhu Mythos writer, Eddy C. Bertin, died on 22nd May while on holiday on the island of Crete. My association with Eddy goes back to my fanzine Shadow, in 1968, for which he wrote many articles on a variety of horror topics, including on the Cthulhu Mythos and European horror writers. His distinctive short stories were picked up by The Pan Book of Horror,The Year’s Best Horror Stories and many more anthologies and magazines over the years. He was born in Germany, but later moved to Ghent and wrote in Dutch, Flemish, German and English.I am proud to have published a collection of his stories in 2013, The Whispering Horror.


  • June 9, 19491984 was first printed, in London.


  • Born June 8, 1910 — John W. Campbell, Jr.
  • Born June 8, 1928 – Kate Wilhelm
  • Born June 8, 1943 – Colin Baker

(9) MAGICAL MYSTERY THEATER TOUR. Coast-to-coast, north to south, “MST3K Live 30th Anniversary Tour” could be coming to a venue near you. Or not. Check it out at the link.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 announces the MST3K Live 30th Anniversary Tour featuring, for the first time in 25 years, original host and MST3K creator Joel Hodgson back in the red jumpsuit as Joel Robinson. Alongside new MST3K host Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray), Joel, Jonah and the Bots will bring new movies and all new riffs and sketches live to the stage across U.S. cities this fall. The MST3K Live 30th Anniversary Tour kicks off October 9 in Portland, ME and hits 29 cities to perform 42 shows across the U.S. Tickets for all dates go on sale Friday, June 8 via AXS.com and local venue box offices.

Of the upcoming tour, Hodgson says, “The craziest and most exciting thing for me is that I am putting on my old jumpsuit and will be riffing live, shoulder to shoulder with Jonah, Crow, and Tom Servo for two incredibly strange feature films. I’m going to have to go into training to get caught up to the skill level of Jonah and this new cast. If you saw last year’s tour you have some idea just how talented these young movie riffers are.”


(10) LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION FIGURE. You have truly made it when you have your own action figure. Entertainment Weekly has the story: Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro has an action figure — here’s your first look”.

NECA’s Guillermo del Toro action figures

(11) ROCKET STACK RANK. Eric Wong sent a link to RSR’s “Outstanding LGBT Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017” article. He notes —

June is Pride Month, and here are 45 outstanding stories with LGBT characters from 2017 that were either finalists for major SF/F awards, included in “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, or recommended by prolific reviewers in short fiction (see Q&A).

This list could be useful for making nominations for the 2018 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards for Best Short Fiction (published in 2010-2017). Anyone can nominate through June 30, 2018. Stories from 2017 are below. See Outstanding LGBT Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2015-2016 for earlier stories.


  • 31 of the 45 stories are free online.
  • 16 of the stories earned 33 of the 82 available finalist slots for the Eugie(1/5), Hugo (9/18), Locus (11/30), Nebula (8/18), and Sturgeon (4/11) awards. That’s 40% of the award finalist slots even though LGBT stories were only 10% of all stories reviewed by RSR in 2017 (81 out of 810) and 35% of award finalist stories (16 out of 45).
  • Authors with the most stories here are JY Yang (3), Sam J. Miller (2) and Sarah Pinsker (2).
  • Four of the stories were written by Campbell Award-eligible writers.
  • Prolific reviewers with the most recommendations here are RSR (18), RHorton (17) and GDozois (15).
  • Each of the 11 magazines covered by RSR had at least one recommended LGBT story, with Clarkesworld having the most with 7 stories among the 45.

(12) GALLOWAY SETTLEMENT. The January 15 Pixel Scroll linked to an op-ed by Margaret Atwood (“Am I a bad feminist?”) regarding University of British Columbia professor Steven Galloway, who had an affair with a student and was accused of sexual misconduct.

Galloway has received a settlement from the university — the CBC has the story: “Author Steven Galloway awarded $167K in damages following UBC firing”.

Author Steven Galloway, fired by the University of British Columbia in 2016, has been awarded $167,000 in damages following arbitration.

Galloway admitted to having an affair with a student but was also critical of the university’s handling of the case, which sparked a divisive debate on campus and in the country’s literary community.

On Friday, an arbitrator on the case said that some communications by the school contravened Galloway’s privacy rights and caused harm to his reputation.

In his four-page decision, John B. Hall writes mostly about the process of the arbitration with little detail about what specific communications were damaging….

(13) CAP LAUNCHES AGAIN. Marvel has created a trailer for Captain America #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates & Leinil Yu.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Danse Exquise on Vimeo is an absurd animation from Miyu Productions, set to the music of Claude Debussy, that includes a dancing crab and a political rooster.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Eric Wong, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Bill, Craig Russell, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs  to File 770 contributing editor of the day Christian Brunschen.]

118 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/8/18 Near A File By A Pixel There’s A Scroll In The Ground

  1. Iphinome: you have done me a great favour, at least, by reminding me I don’t have to wade into the weeds of someone else’s argument. I think I’ll go find some other cute animals to watch.

  2. Rob Thornton:

    Favourites been Skindred, Rose Tattoo and Sky High. I’ll see if I can get a better report later when not drunk on elderberry cider. And Tom of Finland Vodka.

  3. @Rick Thanks for the link to that foreword by Bourdain. Even back here in 1532, we liked him.

  4. We are having some english people we meet every year. They say they do not have anything alike in England. Headlinining this year on Sweden Rock is Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Backyard Babies and more. But I prefer the smaller bands.

    If any filer is into visiting a punk festival in England next year, I’m on.

  5. @Lee: “A nice example of RVO there — Reverse Victim and Offender.”

    I don’t think the fired teacher is a Reverse Victim of his affair partner (who is not in any sense that I can see an Offender). I do think he’s a victim of his employer.

    It’s not either-or and it’s not backwards-forwards. It’s more like transitive. He shouldn’t have had an affair; his employer shouldn’t have violated his privacy.

    @Nancy Sauer: “If one is a professor, there is no such thing as an age-appropriate affair with a student.”

    What I was getting at is that the power differential in this case was not due to age.

  6. And hot damn, it’s a hairy-nosed wombat! They’re endangered! A baby one is always a great thing!

    …we’ve done “in a scroll in the ground, there lived a hobbit” surely? Then that only leaves “Wouldn’t know his pixel from a scroll in the ground”…

  7. Ascroll just off the pixels of Langerhans

    “Repent, Pixelscroll!” said the Tickboxman

  8. @ John A: Your latest comment is not supported by the previous comment history. If you’d started from that position rather than accusing people of victim-bashing, nobody would have felt the need to disagree with you.

  9. @RedWombat:

    I thought it was “in a file in the ground, there scrolled a pixel.” Or was it “in the clearing scrolls a pixel, and a filer by his trade”?

  10. Rev. Bob: I thought the title was a take on Leonard Nimoy’s “Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.”

  11. Rev. Bob: So there’s a hole in the middle of my record? (Wait, there is!)

  12. There’s a scroll in the bottom of the file.
    There’s an item in the scroll in the bottom of the file.
    There’s a pixel in the item in the scroll in the bottom of the file.

  13. Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, about last Friday, Scroll-the-Pooh filed in a WordPress all by himself under the name of Pixel.

  14. For sale: One Scroll. Only 35,000 pixels on the clock. Unrolls like new.

  15. It hasn’t helped that they’ve decided that the deadline for mailed-in absentee ballots was that they could be mailed on Tuesday so they were given until Friday to get to City Hall.

    It’s state law: as long as ballots are postmarked by 8PM on election Tuesday they have until Friday to get to the county registrars and still be valid. This year counties have until July 6 to get their final results to the Secretary of State for certification. Results will not be official until then. BTW, the California Secretary of State’s website has all sorts of nifty information, including a spreadsheet of all unprocessed ballots. (https://vote.sos.ca.gov/)

    @rickmoen: we used to swear San Francisco chose its supervisors based on who would provide the most entertaining stories for the Chronicle.

  16. Eli on June 8, 2018 at 8:45 pm said:

    3) […]As for the article itself, the author didn’t really make any effort to explain why ranked-choice/IRV is “insane.”

    I think it’s in reference to Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem. Which is mentioned in passing. But that’s not about why IRV is bad/insane. That’s about how voting is insane: several desirable properties of a voting system are mutually exclusive. Not just IRV. Any voting system.

    Of course, the fact that no voting system can simultaneously provide all the properties we want from a voting system doesn’t mean all voting systems are equal. Most people who have studied voting systems agree that plurality (aka first-past-the-post or FPTP, aka the voting system most of the US and large parts of the rest of the world use) is one of the worst! Certainly one of the worst that actually attempts to look fair. 🙂

    Ranked voting systems are generally much better, even though they’re not perfect. But note that not all ranked voting systems are instant-runoff. Instant runoff does not guarantee a Condorcet winner, which is a criterion I happen to like. Ranked pairs is an alternative which also uses ranked voting, but performs pairwise comparison between all the candidates, guaranteeing that a Cordorcet winner (if one exists) will take top place. Unfortunately, the math is harder and scarier, which is probably why it isn’t as widely used. But I like it.

    Still, instant-runoff is a perfectly decent approach. Much better than plurality/FPTP.

  17. A couple of facts relevant to the San Francisco election:

    (1) Minneapolis did the same thing a few years ago, though I think most people cast their in person rather than by mail. It took quite a while to count, because they had thirty-five (yes, 35) candidates, including Captain Jack Sparrow (yes, that’s his legal name), a Pirate Party candidate who was not Captain Jack Sparrow, and the Lauraist Communist. (I know all this because Naomi Kritzer blogs entertainingly about Minneapolis elections, from the Soil and Water Commissioners on up to mayor, senate, etc.)

    (2) Washington and a few other states hold elections entirely by mail, and any ballot postmarked by election day and arriving within some reasonable time afterwards is counted. A few years ago, an incumbent city council member was running against a socialist challenger. The incumbent declared victory and threw a party election night, based on the ballots that were counted in the first hours. His concession speech a few weeks later, after the ballots mailed closer to election day had been counted, was reasonably gracious.

    (I mentioned that the challenger was a socialist because she was the first socialist elected to anything in Seattle since the 19th century, and I got the impression that the incumbent assumed that she couldn’t possibly win, because people wouldn’t vote for a socialist.)

  18. I remember that Jameson Quinn thought that the Hugo final ballot would be better served by Majority Judgment rather than the IRV that we actually use. With MJ, you wouldn’t rank the 6 candidates; you’d rate them as (for example) excellent, good, fair, and poor. If on the initial round, everyone had a median of poor, then there would be no award.

    The idea is that it’s easier to rate than to rank in many cases, particularly the stories that aren’t at the top of your list.

    It would also eliminate the confusion over how “No Award” currently works.

    However, the algorithm itself might be a little hard for people to wrap their minds around, and I suspect it’ll be quite a while before people are ready to tinker with the voting system again. We’ll have our hands full keeping them from repealing EPH in the next couple of years.

  19. Related to absolutely nothing except random waking thoughts: “I used to practice battlefield embroidery, but then I took an arrow to the needlepoint.”

  20. But that’s not about why IRV is bad/insane.

    The specific problem with IRV – i.e., the place where Arrow’s Theorem strikes in this case – is the failure of monotonicity. That is: it is possible for A to win an election by IRV, but if some of the voters moved A up on their ballots and there were no other changes, A might lose.

  21. @Jim Parish: is it possible to demonstrate that with a Scrollable number of ballots?

    As long as we’re playing old-lyric titles:
    “If you were a Scroll and you Filed very high”
    (note that the original was by a Hugo nominee)

  22. @Greg
    People don’t understand IRV very well now. I’ve seen what they can do to a paper ballot. (And I point out, every time that someone brings up IRV in connection with politics, that if people who have been using it for decades have trouble with it, they’re going to have even worse problems with people who are unfamiliar with it.)

  23. @Charon: Ah, Red Rocks. Much of my misspent youth was misspent there. I miss it. It really is the best.

    @Iphinome: Sorcery! Nothing could possibly naturally be that cute! And endangered, even — is the cuteness too much even for them?

  24. People may not understand IRV very well, but it seems to be working ok in the many places that have adopted it. The Republic of Ireland uses IRV in their presidential elections, and I don’t hear a lot of complaints from there. Nor have I heard many complaints from the people of San Francisco or the other nearby cities which recently started using IRV. And I live in one of those nearby cities, so I’m pretty sure I would have heard if the complaints were widespread.

  25. @Lurkertype Such cute must be saved for only the most dire of circumstances lest people develop a resistance.

  26. Iphinome, thank you for the wombat video!

    I played it through three times. I still can’t decide whether Mama Wombat is thinking, “Here, Junior, let me show you all of the parts of our house”, or “OMG, I carried him in my pouch for six months, and now, no matter where I go, he’s stil under my feet! I can’t get one damn moment of peace for myself!” 😀

  27. @Xtifr
    Mostly it’s the attitude that some people seem to have, that switching to IRV will immediately Fix All Our Election Problems. (I don’t know about the other places using it, but I understand S.F. is only counting for the first three places. And they don’t have to do the No Award test.)

  28. @JJ: I had to watch it again to settle this very important question for myself, and IMO she’s thinking he’s underfoot everywhere she goes. No peace for Mama.

    We know this even in 1927.

  29. With MJ, you wouldn’t rank the 6 candidates; you’d rate them as (for example) excellent, good, fair, and poor. If on the initial round, everyone had a median of poor, then there would be no award.

    Can’t say I like the idea that something with a median of “fair” would be considered award-worthy, but I suppose the folks running the show could set the cutoffs where they thought they made sense.

    Still, I expect that rather than rating works straight, I’d want to know what those votes translated to in terms of “award-worthy” and “not,” and anything I thought wasn’t award-worthy would be rated below that cutoff, since the point of awards is not to grade stories, etc., but to recognize and celebrate excellence.

  30. (11) Re: Queer short fiction recommendations

    By the way, if you’re looking for rich sources of short SFF with significant queer content, you could do a lot worse than check out Podcastle.org. In the time I’ve been reviewing them for Short SFF Reviews, better than 25% of all stories had enough queer content that they got the Q tag in the content tags. (I have *cough* been known to contribute to that statistic, though the most recent story I had published there was before I started reviewing.)

  31. Re: Queer short fiction

    Y’know, the recent link to “The Thing in the Walls Wants Your Small Change” was a great example of why I don’t understand how anyone sees LGBT representation in fiction as threatening. So a girl named Caro likes a cute girl named Aly who swoops in and takes care of her when she gets sick. So what?

    Plotwise, the story wouldn’t have been measurably different if Aly had been Al – the character’s the new significant other whom Caro worked up the courage to ask out, and their gender gets mentioned but doesn’t otherwise come into play. Works the same if you gender-flip everybody, come to that – Carl and Al, Grampa and Daddy, even the bit players. The relationships are what matter, not the gonads. There’s nothing especially gender-specific about any of the roles, at least not to the point of affecting the plot. (I don’t mean that the characters are androgynous, but that there are enough existing gendered tropes that it could’ve been “cast” the other way and worked just fine.) One might make the case that the story works a little better by leaning into traditional feminine gender stereotypes for certain characters, but IMO that’d be a pretty weak argument.

    And I’m a straight, cis white guy born and raised in a red state. More to the point, as the only child of a single mother, not to mention a kid who’d much rather read a book than play football, I got verbally and sometimes physically abused (by peers, not family!) for not being butch enough. Whenever I left my house as a kid, I was wrapped in a pervasive culture of heteronormativity and toxic masculinity.

    Characters in a book – ink on a page, pixels on a screen, actors on film – do not threaten me. I’m secure in who I am and who I’m attracted to. Reading about a girl who likes girls or a dude who likes guys isn’t going to change that. No amount of LGBT content in a story will magically rewire my brain and send me off to a doctor for gender reassignment surgery or into a gay bar to find a date. If I can manage to read about a two-headed alien stealing a spaceship or watch an alien lizard-lady conquer Earth to steal our water, the existence of an LGBT character or relationship doesn’t even rate a raised eyebrow.

    Whenever I see Manly Macho Men thump their chests, or Fragile Flower Women come down with the vapors, while proclaiming how awfully political and divisive it is to write a sentence or scene where two fictional characters with the same fictional plumbing share a fictional kiss, go on a fictional date, or even hop into a fictional bed together… well, it makes me wonder what they’re really scared of. (And they call us snowflakes!)

  32. @Hampus

    On British rock festivals I guess Download is the closest (and is taking place right now). This year’s headliners are Ozzy, TesseracT, Bad Religion, Guns and Roses, and The Hives among others. There are plenty of other bands (both old and new) performing too.

  33. @Rev Bob: what they’re scared of is being shown that the model they’ve built their lives around isn’t the only one, and that following it doesn’t automatically make them virtuous people — or at least, more virtuous than some Other People. For someone who has been taught to define themselves as Not Other, beyond or separately from more abstract concepts of virtue/rightness/…, that’s threatening. Worse, it suggests that what they’ve built themselves around could be outright wrong — and that’s crushing. I have little sympathy for the people whose beliefs gave us President Cheeto, but what I have is a recognition that some people were given such rigid boundaries so early that stepping beyond those boundaries is difficult. The Jesuit-attributed saying (“Give us a child until they’re five…”) is not 100% true, but it’s true enough.

  34. @Chip:

    Y’know, I wish I could disagree with that.

    It just strikes me as really bizarre when science fiction fans, of all people, have no problems suspending their disbelief to allow cross-fertile sex and procreation between aliens with no common genetic heritage, but one same-sex kiss is weird and unrealistic. We’re supposed to be the ones reading speculation and imagining new ways of relating to each other and to The Other, inventing new technology and physics and seeing what humanity looks like when you add those to the equation… as Heinlein once put it, inventing automobiles and imagining the drive-in theater. As SFF authors and fans, “novel and different” is supposed to be Our Thing.

    I guess it’s like the ad for… was it Galaxy, with the Western scene repurposed as a sci-fi scene just by changing the set dressing? I want my spec-fic to be more than “1970s cultural norms, but with rockets for planes, aliens for nonwhites, and zap guns for pistols, and all the Earth people are straight white Americans but we won’t say what happened to any of the other cultures.”

    I realize that’s a challenge. I realize that not everything I read will meet it. I don’t think saying “gay people exist and are every bit as human as the rest of us” is anywhere close to being such a high bar, and it saddens me a bit when I feel my spirits lift because someone has dared to “reach” for that. It’s kind of like the Bechdel test: passing it should be everyday, not a cause for celebration, and yet we’re not there yet. The signs of progress are encouraging, but it’s disheartening to see how long the road ahead still is.

    ETA: And now I want to write that Kirk/alien bedroom scene where the bright blue woman gets him undressed, only to be confused by his lack of a gestational pouch as she readies her ovipositor… 😉

  35. Rev. Bob on June 10, 2018 at 8:19 am said:

    ETA: And now I want to write that Kirk/alien bedroom scene where the bright blue woman gets him undressed, only to be confused by his lack of a gestational pouch as she readies her ovipositor… ?

    Okay but how much kissy-face will there be?

  36. @Iphinome:

    Before or after the reveal? 😀

    Heck, now I’m picturing a “Misadventures of the Diplomatic Corps” scene. Like, a half-dozen or so veteran Starfleet diplomats sitting around a table, playing cards and telling tales about some of their worst screw-ups. Maybe have a yeoman dealing, so there’s an audience insert there who has to have some of the stuff spelled out while the rest of the diplomats are laughing their butts off.

  37. That song came out in the big early heyday of music videos, and also when we were renting and using a VCR to record ALL the videos we could, and watching them often over the years. Despite being mainly a follkie now, that time period happens to be well lodged in my DNA.

    It’s also the one my husband has the least knowledge of, due to spending those same years in Kenya. He only learned “Under Pressure” via Grosse Point Blank, in the late 90s.

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