Pixel Scroll 6/9/23 Pixel Was A Scrollin’ Stone

(1) ON THE FRONT OF F&SF. Here is The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s July-Aug 2023 issue cover.  The cover art is by Mondolithic Studios.

(2) 2023 NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL. The 2023 National Book Festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, August 12, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (doors open at 8:30 a.m.). The event is free and open to the public. Some creators of genre interest appearing at the Festival are:

George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo) discusses his latest collection of stories in Liberation Day.

TJ Klune returns with another fantasy adventure, “In the Lives of Puppets,” a tale of artificial intelligence robots and their human son.

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Meg Medina shares the graphic novel adaptation of “Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass” with the novel’s illustrator Mel Valentine Vargas.

Interested attendees not able to join the festival in person can tune into sessions throughout the day. Events on several of the stages will be livestreamed on loc.gov/bookfest. Videos of all presentations will be made available on demand in the weeks after the festival.

(3) KNOST WINGS FINALISTS. The 2023 Michael Knost Wings award finalists have been announced by The Imaginarium Convention.  The award “focuses on authors of speculative and/or dark fiction, specifically authors who are up-and-coming . . . or those who have been around a while but do not get the recognition they deserve.”

The award is named for Michael Knost, is the 2015 recipient of the Horror Writers Association’s Silver Hammer Award for his work as the organization’s mentorship chair. He is also a two-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, and is known for his mentoring, writing classes, and bestselling works. Nominees/finalists are chosen by a committee of editors and authors, and Knost selects the award recipient.

This year’s nominees/finalists are:

  • John F. Allen
  • Anton Cancre
  • Elizabeth Donald
  • Sandy Lender
  • Tommy B. Smith

The winner will be announced during the Imaginarium Awards Banquet on July 15.

(4) REMEMBERING WHEN. Craig Newmark is the ‘Craig’ of Craig’s List, but before that he was 1/3 of Rat’s Mouth Fandom (back in the 1980s). He made the news this week for donating $100M to veteran charities.

You can decipher the origin of Rat’s Mouth Fandom if you know this about Boca Raton FL:

The meaning of the name Boca Raton has always aroused curiosity. Many people wrongly assume the name is simply Rat’s Mouth. The Spanish word boca, or mouth, often describes an inlet, while raton means literally, mouse.

(5) OTHER DARTS. Jacqueline Carey responds to readers who asked why there aren’t trans folk in Terre d’Ange: “Summer 2023”.

It’s Pride Month and we’re celebrating the official relaunch of the original Kushiel’s Legacy trilogy with these shiny new trade paperback editions! It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 20 years since Kushiel’s Dart burst on the scene, exploding with intrigue, heroism and unabashed sexuality the likes of which the fantasy genre had never seen.

In many ways, it’s still ahead of its time; but not all. When I polled a group of longtime readers, this was one of the most common questions on their mind:  Are there trans folk in Terre d’Ange?

Fair question! I created an entire theology based on the idea that love in all its forms, including sexual, was a divine force with agency in the real world. Pansexuality is the norm in Terre d’Ange. Even BDSM has a presiding deity! These books were groundbreaking! So what about gender identity? Where the heck are the trans and nonbinary characters? Where are the intersex and asexual characters?

Here’s what I’m not going to do, which is pull a Rowling and tell you, “Oh, Alcuin was nonbinary all along!” I mean… sure, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. But no. Coming from the author, it’s bullshit if it’s not on the page. I didn’t make that specific choice for the character. Nor did I create a society which explicitly acknowledges the full spectrum of human gender identity.

Sorry, guys. I did my best at the time with the knowledge I possessed. I simply wasn’t aware enough of the breadth and depth of human expression to encompass its totality in my worldbuilding. However, “Love As Thou Wilt” is some damn solid bedrock. It’s strong enough to support a broader and deeper understanding of the world. The love and acceptance were always there.

(6) LIFEWRITING PODCAST. Steve Barnes and Tananarive Due’s recent podcast Lifewriting: Write for Your Life! is “On the WGA strike, community for writers – and Clarion West!”

In this episode, Steve and Tananarive talk about some of the reason for the WGA screenwriters’ strike and the importance of community for writers — and welcome guests Rashida Smith and Stephanie Malia Morris to talk about Clarion West. Find out more information at www.clarionwest.org

(7) CLARION WEST EVENT. There will be a Clarion West fundraiser on November 10: Ted Chiang and Dr. Emily M. Bender in conversation, moderated by Tom Nissley, at Town Hall Seattle. Details to follow.

UW Professor of Linguistics Emily M. Bender talks with award-winning science fiction author Ted Chiang about the nature of creativity and the role of the author in relation to AI-generated storytelling. Moderated by Jeopardy! champion and Phinney Books owner Tom Nissley.

(8) OVERLOOKED, NOW OVERHEARD. Longtime Horror Writers Association member Mort Castle is enraged that he was not contacted to be part of the HWA blog’s “Celebrating Our Elders” Q&A series. (The Scroll linked to a couple of those posts.) He has published “An Open Letter To The Horror Writers Association” on Facebook. Below is a screencap of his public post. Castle’s concluding statement reads:

…The HWA needs to apologize. The HWA needs to attempt to make amends.

I do want to thank those people, the many HWA members and many others who’ve contacted me, letting me know they considered the HWA’s treatment of me to be flat-out wrong.

Your support means so much. It helps.

But it does not set this wrong thing right.

If you would like to help do that, I ask that you contact The Horror Writers Association. You might add comments on the HWA Facebook page and I hope you do.

I ask that you express your thoughts about Mort’s Uncelebration on the part of an organization that says it supports horror writing and the people who create it.

Somtow Sucharitkul’s comment on the open letter brings much needed lucidity and practicality to the issues.  


2022[Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

So let’s talk about Rachel Swirsky. She has two Nebulas, one for her “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window novella, the other for her short story, “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”. No Hugo wins to date but she has been nominated four times including for that same novella. 

She was the founding editor of the PodCastle podcast which does fantasy fiction and served as editor. Ann Leckie was the founding assistant editor. Impressive.

Our Beginning is from the January Fifteenth novel which was published by Tor.com just last year. It was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. 

And now here it is…

UBI Day: Early


The blizzard first touched land in Maine. It glazed lakes and lighthouses and red-shingled roofs, and billowed through naked ash trees. It chased coastal waves southward to New Hampshire and then moved inland through Concord and into upstate New York, past Saratoga Springs and Syracuse. In Canastota, the historic Erie Canal froze beside iced railroad tracks, neither taking anyone anywhere. 

Hannah Klopfer felt grateful once again that she and the boys had been able to find a furnished rental inside their budget that was within easy walking distance of necessities like the post office and the grocery store. She zipped up her down jacket and tugged her hat over her ears. She patted her pockets: wallet, phone, keys. As she grabbed her scarf from the aging brass rack by the door, it made a shuddery twang against the greasy metal. 

As the twanging faded, Hannah heard a distant, quiet shuffle from the back of the house. Something wooden groaned. Hannah’s mouth went dry. The ends of her scarf dropped from her hands, unwound, and fell loosely across her chest. Her heart pounded. She hadn’t expected Abigail to find them so fast. She took a deep breath to shout upstairs for Jake and Isaiah to start piling furniture against their bedroom door.

A high-pitched giggle broke the quiet, followed by another. Hannah exhaled in relief. Thank God. It was just the boys playing. 

Her heart hadn’t stopped pounding, though. Damn it. Damn it! What was she supposed to do when the boys wouldn’t listen? This wasn’t about sticking their fingers in their cereal or getting crayon on the walls. Did it really matter that it was developmentally normal for a seven-year-old to test authority if it ended up giving Abigail a way back into their lives?


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 9, 1930 Lin Carter. He is best known for his work in the 1970s as editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series. As a writer, His first professional publication was the short story “Masters of the Metropolis”, co-written with Randall Garrett, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1957. He would be a prolific writer, average as many as six novels a year. In addition, he was influential as a critic of the fantasy genre and an early historian of the genre. (Died 1988.)
  • Born June 9, 1934 Donald Duck, 89. He made his first appearance in “The Wise Little Hen” on June 9, 1934. In this cartoon, Donald and his friend, Peter Pig, lie their way out of helping the titular little hen tend to her corn. 
  • Born June 9, 1943 Joe Haldeman, 80. Whether or not it was written as a response to Starship Troopers as some critics thought at time, The Forever War is a damn great novel which I’ve read at least a half dozen times. No surprise that it won the Hugo at MidAmeriCon and the Nebula Award.
  • Born June 9, 1949 Drew Sanders, 74. He’s an LA resident who’s active in con-running and costuming. He has worked on many Worldcons and is a member of LASFS and SCIFI, and has been an officer of both groups. He co-chaired Costume-Con 4 in 1986.
  • Born June 9, 1956 Patricia Cornwell, 67. You’ll know her better as the author of the medical examiner Kay Scarpetta mystery series, now some twenty-six novels deep. She is here, well in part as I do like that series a lot, because she wrote two SF novels in the Captain Chase series, Quantum and Spin.
  • Born June 9, 1961 Michael J. Fox, 62. The Back to The Future trilogy stands as one of the best SF series ever done and his acting was brilliant. Since 1999 due to his Parkinson’s Disease, he’s has mainly worked as a voice-over actor in films such as Stuart Little and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Prior to his diagnosis, he performed on Tales from the Crypt and directed “The Trap” episode. He would return to live action performing in 2014, bless him, with The Michael J. Fox Show series. 
  • Born June 9, 1967 Dave McCarty, 56. He’s a Chicago-area con-running fan who chaired Chicon 7. He has been the Hugo Administrator for Loncon (2014), MidAmeriCon II (2016), for Worldcon 76 (2018), and again for the Chengdu Worldcon (2023).
  • Born June 9, 1981 Natalie Portman, 42. Surprisingly her first genre role was as Taffy Dale in Mars Attacks!, not as Padme in The Phantom Menace for which the fanboys gave her far too much hatred which is what they do when they do not have a real life. She’d repeat that role in Attack of The Clones and Revenge of The Sith and of course get fresh grief from them. She’d next play Evey in V for Vendetta. And she played Jane Foster, a role she played oh magnificently — and got more grief for — first in Thor, then in Thor: The Dark World and then in Avengers: Endgame. She reprised the role in Thor: Love and Thunder, playing both Jane Foster and Thor.

(11) NEW HOMES FOR PULPS. This strikes me as a more elegant (and remunerative) version of “Operation Surprise Package” in Bill, the Galactic Hero. “Sci Fi and Fantasy Pulp/Magazine Subscription (2 Per Package)!” offered by Chris Korczak, Bookseller.

The trouble with Tribbles: Chris Korczak wasn’t sure what to do with the thousands of science fiction and fantasy magazines piling up around him. He’s an antiquarian bookseller in Easthampton, Mass., who specializes in role-playing games and related titles. He knew the old pulp magazines comprised a rich record of the genre’s literary and artistic gems, but finding a buyer for each copy felt impossible. 

Don’t Panic: Korczak recently started offering these old magazines as part of an unusual mail-order service. Subscribers receive two randomly selected issues as often as they’d like for $14.49 per shipment (details). 

The magazines — mostly from the 1970s and ’90s, but some as far back as the 1940s — provide a kind of time travel through the world of science fiction and fantasy. “They’re really cool,” Korczak tells me, “and they’re just jam-packed with good stories by good authors.” A shipment could include copies of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog, Argosy, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, If, Galaxy and other “smaller print-run publications.” (To be clear: These are not reprints; they’re original issues, some with their old mailing labels still attached.)

The randomness of each shipment is part of the thrill. Korczak estimates that “more than half of the magazines contain authors who are household names.” Subscribers might find stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, George R.R. Martin, Frank Herbert and others. (Of course, mixed among the stars, there’s sure to be some dead planets, too.) 

“They’re so cool when you go through them,” Korczak says. “And the artwork — a lot of good illustrations there that are only on those covers.”

If that sounds enticing, boldly go.

(12) JEOPARDY! David Goldfarb reports on a Jeopardy! sff reference.

In the Double Jeopardy round, Literature for $800:

This writer known for robotic laws (which might come in handy soon) wrote his “Lucky Starr” series as Paul French

Returning champion Suresh Krishnan responded correctly.

(13) LATE NIGHT SNACK. Science’s article “Let there be dark” explains how “Crops grown without sunlight could help feed astronauts bound for Mars, and someday supplement dinner plates on Earth.”

For the first astronauts to visit Mars, what to eat on their 3-year mission will be one of the most critical questions. It’s not just a matter of taste. According to one recent estimate, a crew of six would require an estimated 10,000 kilograms of food for the trip. NASA—which plans to send people to Mars within 2 decades—could stuff a spacecraft with prepackaged meals and launch additional supplies to the Red Planet in advance for the voyage home. But even that wouldn’t completely solve the problem…

…Robert Jinkerson, a chemical engineer at the University of California (UC), Riverside, thinks the answer is for astronauts to grow their own on-board garden—in the dark, with plant growth fueled by artificial nutrients rather than sunlight. It won’t be easy; after all, plants evolved for hundreds of millions of years to extract energy from sunlight. But Jinkerson believes it can be done by reawakening metabolic pathways plants already possess—the same ones that power the germination of seeds buried in the ground and then shut off once a seedling’s leaves start to reach for the Sun. In his vision of the future, electricity from solar panels could transform water and carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaled by a spacecraft’s crew into simple, energy-rich hydrocarbons that genetically modified plants could use to grow—even in the darkness of space or the dim light on Mars, which receives less than half as much sunlight as Earth….

(14) TRAILER PROMOTING BOOK ABOUT FURRIES. Furry Planet: A World Gone Wild by Joe Strike covers a lot of ground.

From a veteran furry comes an immersive entry into the world of furries and furry fandom, with a colorful look at an amazing subculture, the timeless human instinct to identify with animals, and a wealth of photos and illustrations showcasing fursuits and furry art. Furries are the creative subculture of people who identify with animals. You can find them at furry conventions, furfests, worldwide—tens of thousands of people donning their most elaborate fursuit. In costume, at conventions, with friends or alone, furries unleash the animal within, letting their inner beasts roar and their inner cats purr, aware of the power—and joy—to be found in connecting with one’s animal side and encouraging others to do the same. In Furry Planet, long-time furry and a media staple for commentary on the culture, Joe Strike—a certified “greymuzzle,” as older furries are known—dives deep into this compelling subculture to share its appeal and rewards. Strike addresses stigmas and misconceptions head on and traces the history of the culture from forty thousand-year-old lion-man figurines through sixteenth-century legends of monkey kings to modern day television and movies starring anthropomorphized animals living human lives. He shares how furry fandom began in the United States but has spread across the globe and delves deep into the various iterations of the culture today, in the process covering events, media, art, storytelling, community resources, costume creation, and advice for newcomers. An unprecedented in-depth look at this intriguing, offbeat world, Furry Planet is complemented by colorful images throughout and is sure to inform and excite fans of the culture, as well as anyone who has ever been curious about it. Inside you’ll find: Insight into the natural impulse to anthropomorphize animals and the joys of furry culture A fascinating history of furry culture A thorough guide to furry conventions, fursuit costume creation, and resources for furries A wealth of colorful photographs from furfests and of superb fursuits Gorgeous furry artwork Much more!

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In 2020, The Late Late Show with James Corden brought us “Marvel’s Mrs. Maisel: Rachel Brosnahan Enters the Marvel Universe”.

James Corden and Rachel Brosnahan look back on their attempt to bring Midge Maisel into the Marvel Universe. Memories of the chemistry between Thanos and Midge have us all wondering how the mashup never made the screen.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Rich Lynch, Cathy Green, Daniel Dern, Gordon Van Gelder, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/9/23 Pixel Was A Scrollin’ Stone

  1. No subscriber notice was sent for this post.

    Will one magically appear later, like last night? Who knows.

  2. Paul Weimer says That’s a good answer to the question. It shows growth and change and awareness on the part of Carey.

    Carey’s intelligent post brings to my mind an interesting question — Just how far does trans sexuality and culture go back in genre fiction?

  3. Paul Weimer says Is it earlier than Delany and Le Guin? Hmmm

    I don’t think so.

    More importantly, when did trans culture become a commonplace theme within our genre? When Le Guin wrote The Left hand of Darkness, it was a highly unusual theme.

  4. In the US, it’s Indictment Day. In the UK, it’s Boris Johnson Resigns From Parliament Day, apparently also a day worthy of celebration.

    Carey’s remarks give me a warm glow, to see such maturity and and awareness, in an author talking about what’s, to current eyes, lacking in the work that made her career.

    Currently listening to The World We Make, by N.K. Jemisin.

  5. (5) I agree, it’s a good answer. More might be that given the percentage of such people, their appearance might be limited, depending on the story. Stop being mad at someone who was writing decades ago for not having awareness of 2023 sensibilities.
    Birthdays: Lin Carter was also a good speaker.
    Joe Haldeman and Starship Troopers. Ah, no. It was about the Vietnam War. And if you don’t understand what it was like living back then in this world….

  6. I suspect there might be earlier examples of trans or nb in SF, safely attributed to alien species. But yeah, for the idea that humans might fall into such categories, I think Delany and Le Guin are probably it.

  7. LeGuin would have also got it direct from Sophocles, potentially with a detour through the theater since a play by surrealist pioneer Guillaume Apollinaire was apparenlty being performed in North America by the late 60s with the title “The Breasts of Tiresias.” (I’m looking for specific productions of it, so if anyone has the info please share.) Its original French production had presumably also been an influence on Woolf.

  8. Many (including myself) consider Ozma of Oz to be a transwoman. Did Baum intend that reading? Maybe, maybe not, but as Barthes said, ‘omae wa mou shindeiru’.

  9. More correct to say “from Ovid” if one argues that surviving Greek texts don’t literally describe the event of gender transformation. One would have more of a case that it is referenced obliquely.

  10. “I’ve got those No-Notification, Jetpack’s-on-vacation, feeling devastation, Scrolls”

  11. Like Paul Weimer, my thoughts turned immediately to Tiresias. Perhaps I should get out more.

    Mythologically speaking, there’s also Loki, of course… I wonder if ambisexuality is a common feature of trickster deities? Any other examples anyone can think of?

  12. There are earlier examples in genre SF than Delany and Le Guin. St. Clair’s “Roberta” (1962) is an early SF story that I reviewed on my site about transgender topics. I suspect the news crush around Christine Jorgensen’s 1952 sex reassignment surgery inspired SF authors to include more references in their work. Please note that St. Clair’s vision is somewhat hard to parse. I’ll suggest (and others in the comment section of my review did as well) that it was progressive for the early 60s yet something that we would find deep fault with now. The historian in me was fascinated by the story.

  13. Not necessarily genre or trans, but Shakespeare (and Elizabethan drama in general) is full of women disguising themselves as men. More recently we have Some Like it Hot and Tootsie. I assume all of these are now banned in Florida because freedom.

  14. (5) That was a great way to handle that. (Also, how about Virginia Woolf’s Orlando as an early example?)

    (6) Ooh! I used to watch their videos on the Evil Facebook, until it stopped alerting me of their videos.

    (8) It’s not as if Mort Castle wrote a how-to book on writing horror… Oh, wait! 😉 I know not everybody appreciated Mort Castle making a public post about this. On the other hand, sometimes that’s what you have to do. On the third hand (body horror), it can lead to messy discussions and thus backfire.

    (11) I’m bookmarking that page… just in case I “run out” of old SF digests and pulps.

  15. @Mark: ” Ah, no. It was about the Vietnam War”

    One of the things about works of art is they can have both text and one or more subtexts.

  16. (5) There are more dog owners than trans persons in the US. But there are seldom dog owners in North American SFF.

    (8) I would not count him as one of the 21, for sure.

  17. @Steve Wright– Coyote. While Coyote is mainly concerned about the adventures of his penis (really! there’s some cool tales but only read them in winter, when they’re supposed to be told!), Coyote does at times appear as female.

  18. If you’re a giant in your field who was left out of some recognition, you are supposed to privately ask your friends to go public with fulsome praise for your accomplishments and bitter hurt over the grievous insult of your omission.

    Any praise Mort Castle gets now from the HWA won’t seem genuine, given that he was only honored after he personally demanded the honor.

  19. Jan-Erik Zandersson: “But there are seldom dog owners in North American SFF.”

    This is a little surprising, as I was able to think of several off the top of my head (“The Night We Buried Road Dog” (Road Dog is a person but the dogs are dogs), “Deerskin” “Nine Princes in Amber” (the sister at the beginning has dogs), “Lirael” doesn’t count (not North American), “Wizard of Oz”, I’ll stop here.

  20. Early SF of course had aliens evolving something other than male-female binary, transcending their evolutionary roots, having sex with the human sexes, etc. It does seem there must be more examples of a human being changing sex (other than the Margaret St Clair), but I can’t think what they are.

    Arthur C. Clarke possibly gets credit for a mass change in human reproductive practices to be followed by a posthuman world without sex.

    But a human society with many individuals that transition between male and female I think must be from the surrealists, moved into the modernist camp by Le Guin. IIRC, she relied on handwavium about how those characteristics appeared uniquely in a single human population which didn’t age well as the science of genetics improved, so later SF writers had to deal with that too.

    Maybe I’m missing what is referred to above, where did Delany go into transgender themes?

  21. rcade: Who cares if it “seems genuine”? It’s obviously not genuine if they didn’t recognize him to begin with. That ship has already sailed.
    And I disagree with the notion that it should have been handled privately. Handling allegations of mistreatment privately almost always benefits the mistreater more than the mistreated.
    Castle’s analogy to corporate culture is spot-on. I’ve worked in plenty of toxic environments where any complaint against the chain of command was quickly ushered behind closed doors so that the complainer could be put in their place. When you’re standing in your boss’s office being glared at from behind a desk there is little doubt about who is in charge.

    The HWA reminds me more and more of a high school clique where only the “cool kids” matter.

  22. Who cares if it “seems genuine”?

    Mort Castle cares.

    And I disagree with the notion that it should have been handled privately. Handling allegations of mistreatment privately almost always benefits the mistreater more than the mistreated.

    You’re making it sound like not being chosen for a “Celebrating Our Elders” Q&A compares to suffering abuse. There is no mistreater. He wasn’t mistreated. He was overlooked or the people choosing the elders liked other elders better.

  23. @Joachim, thanks, and I’ve successfully dredged up a memory of “Aye, and Gomorrah” from Dangerous Visions (1967). Were there others that predate the late 70s?

  24. @Paul King: mostly because I stopped trying to think of any after about sixty seconds.

  25. A few more: John Varley’s “Picnic on Nearside” is from 1974. Tanith Lee’s Don’t Bite the Sun is from 1976. Both are set in futures where changing genders is routine. And now that I look it up, Heinlein’s I Will Fear No Evil is from 1970.

    In another Tanith Lee novel, Death’s Master, Simmu, Twice Fair, can switch genders at will. That one is from 1979.

  26. Whileaway didn’t seem transgender in 1975, but today it does.

    The first man to give birth was Zeus.

  27. Many years ago I read a book where, in a spaceship-based repertory theatrical company, the same person played, in an x-rated “Romeo and Juliet”, the parts of both Mercutio and Juliet; their genitals could be innies or outies as needed….

    I am entirely blanking on the title or author, but I recall it was very funny, in a madcap careening-from-disaster-to-disaster sort of way.

  28. @Andrew (not Werdna), thanks! I’ve been trying to come up with the name of the book for the last several hours; you’ve probably saved me from a sleepless night!

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