Pixel Scroll 6/18/17 ‘Twas Pixel And The Filey Scrolls Did Fifth And Godstalk ‘Neath The Wabes

(1) FILIAL PROS. “For Father’s Day, 9 famous writer dads and their awesome authorial offspring” – the LA Times feature includes a segment on Stephen King, and sons Joe Hill and Owen King.

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(2) BAD MARVEL DADS. Hidden Remote considers “Who is the worst dad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?”

Before we break down who the worst dad is, let’s give an honorable mention and round of applause to the very few awesome fathers and father-figures in the MCU!

  • Uncle Ben — He didn’t only step up and raise Peter to be good and kind, but he also taught us all that “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

And the winner (loser?) as worst dad? It’s a tie!

Guys, this one is a toss up. Ego and Thanos are both so terrible, we’re not sure which is the most wicked. But, personally, I believe Ego is the worst of the worst.

(3) WISCON REPORT. Claire Light at Literary Hub tells what it was like “At the World’s Preeminent Feminist Speculative Fiction Convention”.  

The way this 5-day, 1000-attendee, multigenerational festival plays out is not quite what you might expect from a bunch of futurist nerds. Public bathrooms (separated genders—to be determined by the user—and all-gender bathrooms alike) have bottles of Dr. Bronner’s at each sink, for the chemically sensitive. The convention reserves a quiet place for those with a tendency to become overwhelmed by sensory input, as well as “safer spaces” dedicated to trans/genderqueer people, people of color, and people with disabilities. WisCon’s accessibility policies are a model of thoughtfulness.

…Other events founded at WisCon and becoming convention staples include the Floomp, an annual queer dance party, which started out seven years ago as “The Gender Floomp” to bring a new generation of queer and genderqueer issues to the forefront in a fun and celebratory way. As WisCon has come to increasingly demarginalize queerness, the Floomp has been folded into the traditional social programming of the convention and is now its primary and most popular party.

There’s also the POC dinner, once a table for 11 at a restaurant, and now an annual organizational headache for short story writer and Angry Black Woman blogger Tempest K. Bradford, who has to find a room to fit nearly 10% of the convention’s attendees every year. And last year, a group of Asian attendees got shabu shabu together; as they’ve already repeated the dinner once, it’s already well on its way to becoming a new tradition.

(4) CARRYING A TUNE. Charlie Jane Anders speaks from firsthand experience about “The Wild Magic of Karaoke” at Tor.com.

And yes, if you can’t sing at all, that just means more wild spoken-word stylings. Take a page from the master of songcraft, William Shatner, whose singing ability remains somewhat theoretical but who has recorded the definitive renditions of countless songs at this point.

The point is, karaoke is magic. It’s taking songs that we all know, and turning them into something ephemeral and wonderful and frequently a bit bizarre. Karaoke is a chance for everybody to expose his or her own inner avant-garde pop diva, and let the musical insanity burst out for everyone to see.

When I was teaching Clarion West back in 2014, I had some amazing times with my students, and I like to think we bonded a lot in general—but I really didn’t get to know them, and discover the full range of their personalities, until we went to this weird nautical-themed karaoke bar where half the decorations were mermaids and the other half were signs explaining that the bartender didn’t need to put up with your s—-t. Some of science fiction’s most promising new writers busted out with renditions of Lady Gaga, Madonna, and The Cars that stay with me to this day.

(5) WHAT ATWOOD THINKS. While authors always have opinions about adaptations of their work, they’re not always willing to talk about them publicly – here’s a rare instance: “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Margaret Atwood on the 5 Biggest Differences Between the Book and the TV Series”.

Her Name Is June

In the novel, the heroine is given the name “Offred” by her captors at the Red Center, where fertile women are retrained to be Handmaids: breeders who are assigned to the ruling families in the hopes of bringing new babies into this fertility-challenged world. That name translates as “Of Fred,” the identity of the man whose home she lives in, and who rapes her on appointed nights every month. We are pointedly never told Offred’s pre-Gilead name. For the show, Miller made the conscious choice to give Offred a distinct identity for the flashbacks to the era before America fell and picked the name June, confirming a long-held fan theory.

Atwood says: “The readers have already decided that’s her name, and who am I to disagree with them? It wasn’t in my mind, but there wasn’t any other name in my mind either. It fits because in the first chapter, the women exchange names and all those names show up again later on except June. So by default that would have to be her name! That’s a pretty good deduction and I’ll go with that. This is June, and she really does have an identity; it’s forbidden, but it’s there. I’ve told fans before, if it works for you, go for it.”

(6) IX GALLERY. “IX Gallery Opens Its Virtual Doors”. Gallery’s inaugural online art show just went live on Thursday. This first show is exhibiting about 120 pieces of art from some of the most recognizable SF&F artists working today. It appears that they have already sold 3 pieces of artwork since Thursday afternoon.

The IX Gallery Inaugural Show runs June 15-August 14.

IX Gallery, a division of IX Arts, is the first online-only gallery dedicated exclusively to contemporary imaginative realism. As a natural extension of IX’s reach and solidly established inspiration value, this year-round effort is designed to provide gallery curation and structure in an online-only environment that allows for the widest possible access while reducing the burden on artists for participating.

It is structured like a normal gallery – rotating shows that are a combination of group and solo efforts, rather than a constant online inventory or catalog, and we do not “rep” any of the artists in the show. Everything is handled on a show-by-show basis to allow the artists maximum flexibility in their participation.”

Click for a list of coming Exhibitions. These artists are listed as part of the inaugural show.

Linda Adair, Samuel Araya, Julie Bell, Shaun Berke, Brom, Armand Cabrera, Jeremy Caniglia, Dan Chudzinski, Kinuko Y. Craft, Felipe Echevarria, Bob Eggleton, Craig Elliott, Jody Fallon, Scott Fischer, Teresa N. Fischer, Marc Fishman, Annie Stegg Gerard, Justin Gerard, Donato Giancola, Lars Grant-West, Rebecca Guay, John Harris, Michael C. Hayes, James Herrmann, Richard Hescox, Stephen Hickman, Greg & Tim Hildebrandt, Greg Hildebrandt, Luke Hillestad, Patrick Jones, Rich Klink, J. Anthony Kosar, Jota Leal, Vanessa Lemen, Don Maitz, Gina Matarazzo, Matt Mrowka, Aaron Nagel, Tran Nguyen, Ryan Pancoast, Lucio Parrillo, Colin & Kristine Poole, Colin Poole, Mark Poole, Rob Rey, Tooba Rezaei, Forest Rogers, Laurence Schwinger, Dave Seeley, Hajime Sorayama, Matthew Stewart, Bryan Mark Taylor, Vince Villafranca, Chet Zar, and Dariusz Zawadzki.

(7) ON EXHIBIT IN LONDON. “‘Anime Architecture’: windows on dystopia” is En Liang Khong’s review in Financial Times of Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan , an exhibit at the House of Illustration in London that has lots of illustrations for cyberpunk anime movies, including Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor: The Movie, and other examples of “real-kei”, “where futurity is set in counterpoint with realism.”

Anime Architecture at London’s House of Illustration traces the production design behind these cyberpunk anime — “noir” films reimagined for the future — in which specialist artists pioneered a visual language that drew on the booming Asian megacities of the early 1990s in order to broadcast a vision of future dystopias.

But the future is fleeting, constantly outdated by our own shifting socio-political fears and dreams. Wandering through the rooms of Anime Architecture is a reminder of how quickly visions of the future can become old, spooky and elegiac. And there is poignancy to these images: the artists represented here come from the last generation of Japanese animators who still believed in drawing by hand.

(8) COHEN OBIT. Morton Norton Cohen (1921-2017), an American author and scholar, hdied June 12. He was a Professor Emeritus of the City University of New York. He is best known for extensive studies of children’s author Lewis Carroll including the 1995 biography Lewis Carroll: A Biography.

(9) MEADOWS OBIT. Author Patrick Meadows (1934-2017) died April 22. A graduate of Florida State University with a Degree in English, he had lived in Majorca since 1969. His first published story, “Countercommandment” appeared in Analog in 1965. His other four published stories appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction later in the Sixties, and three of them have been digitized and made available on his website. [Via Gordon Van Gelder.]


  • June 18, 1983 — Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.

(11) SHY. Wil Wheaton – a star on the outside, is still a shy guy on the inside.

(12) HOL-RY COW! Screenwriter James Gunn told his Facebook followers that “‘Scooby-Doo’ wasn’t supposed to be a kids’ movie”.

Gunn added the film would have looked completely different if he had it his way.

“And yes, the rumors are true — the first cut was rated R by the MPAA, and the female stars’ cleavage was CGI’d away so as not to offend,” he wrote. “But, you know, such is life. I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that. And I was able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it.”

(13) READY, AIM. The Traveler from Galactic Journey tweets an ad from 1962.

(14) VISITING THEIR FUTURE. By the way, here is a photo of Professor Elliott and The Traveler from their visit to Wondercon.

(15) BEAUTIFUL MACHINES. “If memory serves me correctly (and it alas doesn’t always),” says Cat Eldridge, “Gibson typed Neuromancer on a typewriter.” Snopes suggests the old technology still has appeal — “Call it a Comeback: Old-School Typewriters Attract New Fans”.

Typewriter enthusiasts gather at an Albuquerque restaurant to experiment with vintage Smith Coronas. Fans in Boston kneel in a city square and type stories about their lives during a pro-immigration demonstration. A documentary on typewriters featuring Tom Hanks and musician John Mayer is set for release this summer.

In the age of smartphones, social media and cyber hacking fears, vintage typewriters that once gathered dust in attics and basements are attracting a new generation of fans across the U.S.

From public “type-ins” at bars to street poets selling personalized, typewritten poems on the spot, typewriters have emerged as popular items with aficionados hunting for them in thrift stores, online auction sites and antique shops. Some buy antique Underwoods to add to a growing collection. Others search for a midcentury Royal Quiet De Luxe — like a model author Ernest Hemingway used — to work on that simmering novel.

(16) ATARI RISES AGAIN. But Rhett Jones at Gizmodo says “Atari’s New Console Sounds Like a Bad Idea”.

“We’re back in the hardware business,” Atari’s CEO Fred Chesnais told VentureBeat in an interview at E3 2017. Beyond that, Chesnais offered no other information aside from saying it will be based on “PC technology” and that it will be revealed at a later date. The teaser video claims that the “Ataribox” is a “brand new Atari product years in the making.”

This is the online ad that triggered Jones’ article.

The ad reminds John King Tarpinian “In the first Bladrunner movie there was an ATARI Fuji logo-shaped building in the city.”

(17) A TOUCH OF HARRY IN THE NIGHT. For those of you near Pasadena, here’s something for you to do September 9 — “Eat See Hear Outdoor Movie: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone”. Food trucks. Dogs welcome.

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

This is the tale of Harry Potter, an ordinary 11-year-old boy who learns that he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is snatched away from his mundane existence by Hagrid, the grounds keeper for Hogwarts, and quickly thrown into a world completely foreign to both him and the viewer. Famous for an incident that happened at his birth, Harry makes friends easily at his new school. He soon finds, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he would have imagined.

(18) BESTSELLING TOY PREDICTED. The generations have run from Chatty Cathy to Prattling Peter: “Sphero’s Adorable Spider-Man Toy Will Make You Forget BB-8”.

Rumored in late March, the app-enabled superhero was officially unveiled this morning with a video that reveals what’s essentially a chatty Amazon Echo (“Alexa!”) with Peter Parker’s attitude and sense of humor.

Featuring emotive LCD eyes, not unlike the mask in Spider-Man: Homecoming, this adorable little wall-crawler (it’s about 9 inches tall) has its own Spider-Sense, enabling it to detect and react to movement. He can tell jokes, relate stories, wake you up and even patrol for “intruders.” More intriguing, perhaps, is that Spider-Man can talk kids through more than 100 storylines, and allow them to make their own plot-altering decisions in a Choose Your Own Adventure fashion. Don’t worry about running out of stories, though, as Sphero plans to add more through the device’s web connection.

(19) MINDGAMERS TRAILER. Here’s your grim future. Or is it present?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Sean R. Kirk, Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jabberin’ Joe H.]

91 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/18/17 ‘Twas Pixel And The Filey Scrolls Did Fifth And Godstalk ‘Neath The Wabes

  1. “File as thou wilt,” shall be the scroll of the Law.

    [I don’t mind being second. It’s entirely fitting and appropriate that the title guy should get in at the head of the line.]

  2. “But oh, saberish padawan, beware of the day, if your Scroll be a Pixel! For then,you will softly and suddenly file away, and never be Godstalked again!’

  3. And I spent yesterday morning into this afternoon at the Maine Medical ER due to a recurring viral infection. I got a chest X-ray followed by the stomach cat-scan and lots off blood work. And experienced my first cather which I really could done without. And I’ll be headed there tomorrow with an assist from my landlord as my throat’s shutting down again.

    Oh and morphine’s really, really effective at cutting down on pain. So effective that I had a surgical team talk to me early this morning and I didn’t even know they were there…. I’ve got a kink in my small intestine that’s probably not a problem but bears watching.

    Aging’s definitely not fun.

  4. Cat Eldridge: Sounds like you really got worked over hard — I’m sorry to hear it and hope the doctors can level you out soon.

  5. (4) karaoke is really at its absolute best when there’s a drag nun with a saucy pun name encouraging you to sing your heart out.

    I cannot disagree with this, though I have never experienced it.

    (15) Which is why I hate the Etsy-ites and others who just rip typewriters apart to make gewgaws out of them. They’re wonderful machines.

    (18) How long before someone hacks this into a Deadpool?

    @Cat: Ouch on the poking, esp. catheter, but yay for morphine.

  6. @Cat. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    I saw Hidden Figures and the Martian this weekend. Hidden Figures was a really well done movie, but I don’t see it as being SF. It’s not just that it was real life, there is also very little about the science of space travel or computing in the movie.
    The Martian had some science, but not as much as the book. The Mars landscape scenes were great. But I felt the movie did not do a good job of conveying how much time passes. It would have been much better if they had added a time marker like having the actor grow a beard that keeps getting longer or something..

  7. Our Ever So Gracious Host says to me Sounds like you really got worked over hard — I’m sorry to hear it and hope the doctors can level you out soo

    One hope so. It’s certainly no fun and it equals having (at different times in my life) malaria, and yes it’s real, cat scratch fever. That I got the year I got divorced. Still got the cat who gave it to me, a lovely Abyssinian male whose litter got dumped in a barn because they weren’t quite perfect. The only thing not perfect about him was all of his teeth had to come out because they were genetically rotten.

  8. Lurkertype says Ouch on the poking, esp. catheter, but yay for morphine.

    Morphine was surprisingly good, sort of like a lethe field. I could’ve have used a lethe field back in the later Eighties when I had my left should joint removed after breaking it overseas. Medical costs notice: way back then that medical procedure cost well over forty thousand dollars and the detailing of charges ran to, if I remember correctly, some forty pages.

  9. bookworm1398; Hidden Figures was a really well done movie, but I don’t see it as being SF. It’s not just that it was real life, there is also very little about the science of space travel or computing in the movie.

    I have yet to see anyone claim that Hidden Figures is science fiction. It doesn’t need to be. It just needs to be what Hugo voters consider a “Related Work”. And given how many science fiction works are based on the space program, the genesis of which is covered in the movie, I think it amply qualifies as that.

  10. bookworm1398: The Mars landscape scenes were great. But I felt the movie did not do a good job of conveying how much time passes.

    That was one of my observations, as well. You do see him getting skinnier and bonier as time passes, but the tick marks on the wall and the references to elapsed time in the script don’t really bring home the magnitude of it.

    However, I think that the scriptwriters did a great job of making the book into a good movie by expanding the characters greatly from their roles in the book and showing more of the action on the Hermes and on Earth. I loved the book, but I think that a faithful movie adaptation would have been damn dry and boring.

  11. Gah, Cat, it sounds as though you have really been put through the wringer in the last few days. Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

  12. Caught up for now. Yay!

    @Cat – sorry for your difficulties. At least the morphine was good? I hope you fully recover very soon.

  13. Is there a good example of a film which effectively depicts a period of some weeks or months in a way that feels like they’re happening? I also felt The Martian didn’t quite pull it off, although since they did a rather better job of depicting time passing than 30 Days of Night did I was willing to forgive it. I can think of films that do a fine job at depicting years passing, but I can’t think of one that did weeks or months well. (Weeeeell, I liked how they did it in Twilight: New Moon, but since the film is otherwise mostly awful…)

    Re: Hidden Figures: It does indeed fit in the category as a related work, but I am curious about whether there are people who will rank it further down on their ballots because they would rather see an sf/f work win, all other things being equal. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was at least a few, especially considering that Related Work itself is a category that I’ve seen people express dissatisfaction with.

    Re: Handmaid’s Tale, I watched the first episode and I thought it was excellent, but I’m having a bit of a hard time persuading myself to watch the rest. Partly because the heat is not being kind to my brain function, which does not handle television well at the best of times (and I need to finish Supergirl before it disappears off of streaming, although much to my relief I’m all caught up on the other SuperFlArrowofTomorrowverse shows and Elementary), but also because it’s so effective I find it positively stressful to watch.

    (7) On Exhibit in London

    Oooooh. I shall add it to my list of Exhibitions I’ll Totally Be Realistically Able To Get To, For Sure. (I’m largely in denial: Public transport in London is pretty terrible once you factor in a wheelchair – AND DID I MENTION I HAVE MY WHEELCHAIR IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND GREEN AND I LOVE IT EVEN THOUGH I HAVE YET TO PUT A DRAGON ON IT – and an aversion to using the bus; they’re too shaky and I tend to be in pieces by the time I get to the destination, in a depressingly literal and painful fashion.)

    (15) Beautiful Machines

    There was an excellent twitter thread awhile back posted by a guy who accidentally found a typewriter museum while travelling in Europe. There are a lot of pictures – I particularly liked the one for writing music, but the display comparing the mechanisms of ordinary keys and quiet ones was very cool.

    @ Cat Eldridge

    Sorry to hear that – dealing with health crap sucks. Morphine is a silver lining, of course.

  14. @Meredith

    I can’t disagree with your diagnosis of the Handmaid’s Tale, it’s simultaneously excellent and horrible to watch.
    (Incidentally, the linked article includes spoilers if you’re watching in the UK)

  15. I’m a few chapters into Raven Stratagem. I’m very much enjoying it so far.

  16. As I understand it, Gibson used a typewriter because he had no experience with that newfangled weird technology known as the computer. It wasn’t some sort of bizarre hipsterism or anything. The PC was still relatively new, and mostly used by techno-geeks. Gibson wasn’t actually a techno-geek.

    As someone old enough to remember the era of the typewriter–I don’t miss them at all, sorry. Especially the manuals–hated those. The Selectric wasn’t bad. In fact, the Selectric’s keyboard may still be the best I’ve ever used–even better than the classic “Model M” of the original PC. But other than that, I have zero nostalgia for the typewriter era.

    (Side note: I think I was the first person to break one of the legendarily indestructible Model M keyboards. While the original IBM PC was still a super-seekrit project, and I was under horrifying non-disclosure agreements, I actually managed to drop one so hard that we couldn’t resuscitate it. It took me a few years to realize how astounding this feat was.)

  17. Xtifr: The Selectric wasn’t bad. In fact, the Selectric’s keyboard may still be the best I’ve ever used–even better than the classic “Model M” of the original PC. But other than that, I have zero nostalgia for the typewriter era.

    I learned how to type quite young, on a Selectric. I loved that model. (My mom, who had been a Business Education teacher, couldn’t use them — because she’d learned to type on a manual, and when she hit the carriage return on a Selectric, the ball typed characters all the way back to the left; she had serious skillz.)

    But yes, the first time I used a PC and word processor program, my eyes lit up, and there was no going back. 😀

  18. 15) I found it a lot easier to learn computing skills precisely because I’d already learned to touch-type on my dad’s old Olivetti portable… which I still have, and which will do just fine as a backup, in the event of some electricity-ending global catastrophe.

    But word processors have advantages which cannot be denied.

  19. I just saw Hidden Figures last week and was thinking about this debate after I watched it. I concluded that it has enough deviations from our timeline, especially with Sympathetic White Man Kevin Costner Character, to qualify as Alt History – so the SF vs. Related debate is irrelevant because it’s totally a fantasy 😉

    Seriously though, really enjoyed it and it’s definitely Related enough for me, so if I vote in this category it’s going high on my list*. It does sacrifice accuracy for Good Feels but I think that makes it a more enjoyable movie, especially if you’re aiming to disruptively happy-cry on a long flight.

  20. I learned to type on a Royal mechanical mumblety years ago. Apparently it branded my muscle memory. It took years for me to get used to the ‘soft’ keyboards on PC’s and I still get occasional comments on how hard I hit the keys.

  21. Still missing my old Underwood Standard No. 5, on which I typed many worthwhile letters, and some good words. I have a portable typewriter that Ned Brooks gave me, and even typed a missive on it. Maybe two! I don’t like ‘art’ that consists of ripping up musical instruments, books, people, whatever. I feel like a kid outside a bakery watching rich people laugh as they throw pastries at each other for fun.

    A movie that depicts passing of time well. Paradoxically, I’d suggest GROUNDHOG DAY for a start.

  22. I learned to type on a Royal mechanical mumblety years ago.
    My parents had an ancient (1920s) Royal that had been retired from the PO my mother’s father worked in. It was still going into the 1970s, when my sister had it. I used an Underwood manual in typing class in HS, and I’ve met IBM Selectrics and their rather weird Executive. (I have an Olympia daisy-wheel electronic typer, but haven’t used it in years.)

  23. I still use an IBM Lexmark typewriter occasionally at work, for when it’s more convenient to type something (like the address on an envelope) than print it.

  24. I inherited a Smith Corona Corsair portable* manual typewriter. It had a really small font sized which meant I had to write more when the assignment was a certain number of pages. It wasn’t a particularly efficient mechanism and that meant that you really had to strike the keys with a certain amount of force. Built up the muscles in your arms.

    After the first year in college, I took to borrowing electric typewriters from friends. One thing younger people might not realize is how loud typewriters could be. I remember searching for places to type late at night when an assignment was due the next day and my roommate was sleeping.

    Looking back on it, getting one of the first generation skinny Macs really was a blessing.

    * It had a plastic cover with a handle that snapped over the body.

  25. Minor Meredith Moment: Cidney Swanson’s Saving Mars, first of six books in the series, is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon US. I read the whole series and thoroughly enjoyed them; they remind me a bit of what I wish Podkayne of Mars might have been.

    Not that I dislike Podkayne, but this series is a better fit for modern audiences.

  26. @Xtifr

    As I understand it, Gibson used a typewriter because he had no experience with that newfangled weird technology known as the computer.

    I remember reading something like that years ago in an interview with Gibson – he wasn’t any sort of computer nerd at all when he wrote Neuromancer. Your comment reminded me of the recent File770 thread regarding writing what you know and how that applies to SFF.

  27. Gibson used a typewriter because he had no experience with that newfangled weird technology known as the computer

    Compared to part of the afterword of “2010: Odyssey Two”…

    “This book was written on an Archives III microcomputer with Word Star software and sent from Columbo to New York on one five inch diskette. Last minute corrections were transmitted throught the Padukka Earth Station and the Indian Ocean Intelsat V”

  28. Writer’s Digest had a cartoon once of a writer at his electric typewriter, being thanked by his wife for using the earphone. The noise had been driving her crazy.

    Started off banging on an ancient upright typewriter (yeah, you know the ones) with no W on it. My cousin and I used to write each other as soon as each letter arrived, and I got pretty quick with just the pointer fingers. In 9th and 10th grade, I took typing and got all the fingers involved.

    Places I worked seemed to have Selectrics, which was fine with me. Then there was the Selectric II, with correction ribbon. This led to the Memory 75, another IBM with a round element, which could store FIVE PAGES in its memory, so that I could type a test in English, German, Spanish, or French (foreign languages department), correct all the errors, and then output it to a ditto master. Hey presto! No more fixing by overstriking and removing the wrong bits with the corner of a razor blade!

    I started on a temp job at the University of Houston, and they asked me if I wanted to use a typewriter or a word processor. I went straight for the word processor (a CPT, this being 1983, with a very nice interface that spoiled me) and ended up being hired on permanent, till I went to Rice for more money.

    Still later, I learned publishing programs. Now, even word processors feel clunky and limited to me. First Quark, and then when they got all squirrelly and started shouting at every customer that they wanted to rip them off, I learned InDesign (just as it became the de facto industry standard). I certainly do like InDesign, though I wish my old keyboard shortcuts for Quark still worked. My fingers want to reach for them.

  29. Kip W: Places I worked seemed to have Selectrics, which was fine with me. Then there was the Selectric II, with correction ribbon

    At college I heard I could get a part-time office job if I could type 45 wpm, which I knew I could do on my manual. They tested me on a Selectric — on that, I could type 70 wpm. That was a fine machine. And I got the job.

  30. Mom & Dad had a little manual typewriter that I seldom got to play with — I mean, use. I took a typing course in 9th grade; they had some of those industrial-grade electric models. I did … not super well. And that course is the reason it is physically impossible for me not to double-space at the end of a sentence. If I want to single-space, I have to double-space, then backspace.

    I got an electric typewriter as a high school graduation present and used it pretty much all through college, aside from a few brief forays to the word processors in the on-campus computer lab in my junior & senior years.

  31. I learned how to type on an IBM keypunch machine. I wasn’t fast but I did eventually lower my error rate and not send so many punch cards to the university dumpster. The dup key was my friend…

  32. Karaoke is definitely not for everyone. I tried it once and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I just couldn’t do it and was utterly humiliated. I can sing okay, it’s not that. I think it was a combination of anxiety and a processing issue. I simply couldn’t follow where I was supposed to be in the tune.

  33. Very glad I took business typing in high school in the 1980s, but not at all sad to see the typewriter replaced by the word processor and the PC.

  34. Most computer keyboards these days have the opposite problem from the typical problems with typewriter keyboards–they’re too mushy, and provide little or no kinetic feedback. The Selectric and the original PC’s Model M keyboard had the perfect (in my and many other people’s opinion) between a light touch and distinct, obvious feedback from the keypress.

    It’s worth noting that the Model M is still being made by Unicomp, the company that originally built them for IBM. They’re pricey, but since they’re also nigh-invulnerable, it’s not a bad investment, for you heavy typers out there. My aunt swears by them.

  35. I learned to type via some sort of typing game on a TI-99/4A. By the time I took typing class in high school, I could type maybe 60wpm (on the computer keyboard). The class used electric typewriters, which I recall being similar. I still almost failed the class because I was a snotty 15 year old and hated school, and the typing instructor and I mixed like oil and water.

    Oh weird, I think there’s a Youtube video of the typing tutorial:

    @HelenS – I feel you on the karaoke. I’ll only do it among very good friends. I’m not terrible, but I’m not good, either. It helps that I have a couple very good friends who are tone deaf and also enthusiastic karaokers. If I’m looking too nervous, they’ll jump in with me and sing along. Something about them not caring how bad they sound makes me feel better.

  36. I had a different experience from Mike. I could type pretty fast on a manual with just two fingers, but when I had to pass a typing test on an electric I got the word count easy, but had so many errors because my fingers would graze a key and it would register, that I failed. It meant that I got hired as a clerk rather than a clerk-typist, at a significantly lower salary. A year or two later, used to the machine, I took the test again and passed. I was promoted to clerk-typist. Yay, more money! I was very disillusioned by the next paycheck. I was expecting the $20-some dollars a week I had lost out on originally (this was the early 70s, when that was real money). My weekly “raise” was….17 cents.

  37. I tested at 100 wpm in a test (on a correcting Selectric, correcting as I went and putting in a fresh sheet of paper when I had to) just before we left Colorado in 1980, and I never had to take another typing test. I’ve since taken tests online that tell me I’m still that fast, but no faster. If anything, I’ve added a word or two, but those are balanced out by more errors.

  38. My mother could do like 90 wpm on a manual. She was the US college champion her senior year. Like OGH, she was a wonder on an electric. When in her old age she volunteered in the office of a charity that used computers (well duh, it was the 90’s-00’s), the young secretaries marveled at her. Although it took her quite a while to get used to the soft touch of the keyboard. Needless to say, she had amazing finger strength.

    I worked at a place that was ALL computers (and AI development at that) and when I had to do envelopes, I darn well got out the Selectric. So much faster and easier. If noisier. At that time, there were also still a ton of government forms that had to be typed on paper and snail mailed, so everyone had some use for the typewriter. Being substantially government-funded, those forms were important.

    You had to type 30 wpm on a Selectric to get an A in my required high school typing class. I did 32 on the final. Am much faster on a computer, of course; I went to word processing in 1982 and never looked back.

  39. You had to type 30 wpm on a Selectric to get an A in my required high school typing class.

    I was hitting 35 on a manual. I do much better on a computer, but I tend to make errors more now. (Current keyboard: Kensington “Keyboard for Life”. It’s lasted a couple of years, which is better than most do, although the labels are wearing off the keys. I have another for when this one goes.)
    The CS department secretary wore out at lest one Selectric. She was zipping along at 70 to 100, I think.

  40. I do have mechanical keyboards on my home & work computers now, and they do feel better than the mushy membrane keyboards I was using for years & years.

  41. @Arifel,

    I don’t classify “Hidden Figures” as Science Fiction, but for the purposes of Hugo eligibility, it only has to be a work of “dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects“, so it definitely qualifies on that last criterion.

    If I was voting this year (I’m not), I would struggle on whether “Arrival” or “Hidden Figures” gets my top spot.

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