Pixel Scroll 6/24/17 The Love of Pixels Is The Root Of All Scrolls

(1) SIXTY MINUTES. Here’s video of what happened during “Seanan McGuire’s Continuum 13 Guest of Honour Hour.”

On Sunday 11th June, 2017, Seanan McGuire hosted a Guest of Honour hour in which she answered questions at Continuum 13. Unfortunately, not every person waited for a microphone to ask their question. Seanan’s answers are still amazing and you can get the context from the answer. Continuum 13 was the 56th Australian National Science Fiction Convention.


(2) MORE CONTINUUM 13 GOODNESS. There was a special cake at the launch party for Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones, but since the Wayward Children series it’s part of is not a zombie series, the cake imagery was probably a callout to her Newsflesh series.


(3) OVERHEARD ON THE INTERNET. More McGuire advice.

(4) WORKSHOP HUMOR. Walter Jon Williams posted a photo of the Taos Toolbox participants and speakers posed “Beneath the Sign of the Bear”.

I realized too late that I should have got a photo of us all lying dead at George [R.R. Martin]’s feet, and titled it “The Red Workshop.”

He also quoted Nancy Kress’ notes from the critiques, specifically the funny parts. Here are a few examples:

* “She got off too easy for eating the child.”

* “This could be cool, if I knew what was going on.”

* “If she had proper self-control, she wouldn’t be blue.” (Color, not mood)

* “We’ve got prehistoric parasites living in people’s brains, and volunteers are going ‘Yes!’?”

* How does dodging bullets qualify you as a good bride?”

* “I admired the multi-purposing of the rabbits.”‘

* “If editors are trolls, are publishers dragons?”

(5) EXPANSE AUTHORS AMA. Here’s the link to Reddit’s Ask Me Anything with Expanse writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

“Can you name a story element that NEEDED to change for TV in order for the show to work?”

Miller had to become much more active in the show. Losing the internal monologue of prose always means finding ways to make the same points in a way that a camera can see them.

“An unforeseen change?”

I hadn’t realized how important it was going to be to pull Drummer forward, or how much that was going to pay off.

“A change that met the most resistance from yourselves or the TV writers?”

There’s a moment in the book when Muss explains to Miller that he’s a joke to the other cops. It’s a gut-punch in the books, and we all fought to find a place for it in the show, but it just didn’t fir anywhere.

“A change that you wish had been made in the books if you had the chance to go back?”

Nope. The books are the books and the show is the show. There are some places in the book where I’d make things a little clearer than I think we left them. Why Ashford acts the way he does, what exactly the timeline of Julie Mao was. It’s all in the books, but sometimes I think I’ve made things clear that are still a little smokey.

(6) REVIVAL. If they weren’t about to bring it back, I might never have heard of it: “‘The League of Gentlemen’ is officially returning”.

Cult TV show ‘The League of Gentlemen’ is set to officially return after writer Reece Shearsmith announced that he was working on a script for the warped sitcom’s revival.

The show, which follows the lives of residents in the bizarre village of Royston Vasey, originally aired on BBC 2 between 1999 and 2002, before a full-length film was released in 2005.

Now, the show’s revival has been confirmed, after talk emerged of an anniversary special earlier this year.

(7) TAXONOMY TIME. In “Municipal Fantasy”, Danny Sichel advocates for a subgenre distinct from urban fantasy,

There’s urban, and there’s fantasy… and there’s the space between them. An enforced separation between the modern world – the urban environment – and the magic.*  They’ve developed separately over the years (which is typically shown as leading to a certain degree of stagnation in the magic). The magic is hidden from the science and technology, and so it does not advance while they do.

But what if this weren’t so?

If we undo those justifications… if we assume their opposite… we get fantasy where magic has openly come back into the modern world, or been revealed to the general public to have been here all along. Or, alternately, magic has openly been around long enough that an equivalent to our modern technological society has developed. And, perhaps most importantly, that magic is an issue of public policy.

I propose that this subgenre be called: “MUNICIPAL FANTASY”.

“What’s the difference between ‘municipal’ and ‘urban’?”, you might be wondering. “Don’t they mean essentially the same thing?” And in a way, they do, but synonyms are never exact. They both refer to cities… but ‘urban’ is a general feeling, an environment, a mood. ‘Municipal’, conversely, implies more of a system, with regulations and public services. ‘Urban wildlife’ is raccoons eating your garbage and ‘urban legends’ are just stories you heard about a friend of a friend of a friend, but “municipal wildlife” feels like the raccoons are only eating the garbage because it’s their job, and “municipal legends” feels the story won’t be told outside city limits.


  • June 24, 1983 Twilight Zone – The Movie premiered theatrically.
  • June 24, 1987 Spaceballs opened in theatres.
  • June 24, 1997 — U.S. Air Force officials release a 231-page report dismissing long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, almost exactly 50 years earlier.

(9) I SEE BY YOUR OUTFIT. The four-minute mile. The twelve-minute spacewalk. Records are made to be broken — “600 students dress as Harry Potter to celebrate 20th anniversary of ‘The Sorcerer’s Stone'”

A group of more than 600 students gathered in one place and dressed as Harry Potter to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first book in the series.

England book publishers Bloomsbury Books shared a photo of the hundreds of students as they set the Guinness World Record for most people dressed as Harry Potter in one gathering in celebration of the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.


(10) COLD FACTS. Space.com’s article “Pew Pew Pew! Why Scientists Are Fired Up About Futuristic Space Lasers” is most excited about the peaceful use of lasers in satellites to monitor vast areas of the Earth.

Another NASA mission using lasers to peer at Earth is named Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2). Scheduled to launch in 2018, ICESat-2 will use an array of six lasers — three paired beams — to track ice-sheet thickness and changes across Greenland and Antarctica, so that scientists can better estimate the risks posed by melting ice due to climate change, panel member Brooke Medley, a research associate with Earth Sciences Remote Sensing at the Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Future Con audience. ICESat-2 is continuing the work started by an earlier mission, ICESat-1, which was the first satellite to deploy lasers from space to measure surface elevation in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, according to NASA. The amount of ice cover in those two regions is enormous: Greenland’s area is about three times the size of Texas, while Antarctica is roughly twice the size of the contiguous United States — far too big to accurately measure elevation changes from the ground or by airplane, Medley said. ICESat-2 will conduct multiple passes overhead at an altitude of 299 miles (481 kilometers), and its lasers will gather data that will enable researchers to calculate ice volume and track changes over time.

(11) SHORT SUBJECTS. Doris V. Sutherland offers insights and intriguing comments in “2017 Hugo Reviews: Short Stories” at Women Write About Comics. Here’s an excerpt from the review of Amal El-Mohtar’s award-nominated story.

“Seasons of Glass and Iron” shows both a knowledgeable and playful attitude towards fairy tale conventions. In the world of the story, magic operates on a numeric basis, a reference to fairy tales’ fondness for certain numbers, the three little pigs, the seven dwarfs, and so forth. While Amira is granted a constant stream of golden apples that materialise from nowhere, she is allowed only one at a time: she must eat her present apple before the next one will appear. But once Tabitha arrives, and Amira begins sharing the apples with her, this changes: Tabitha is allowed seven apples at a time.

“I think it’s the magic on me,” she says. “I’m bound in sevens—you’re bound in ones.” On a more symbolic level, the story opens with Tabitha musing about the significance of shoes in fairy tales, from Cinderella’s glass slippers to the red-hot iron shoes worn by Snow White’s stepmother. To Tabitha, shoes represent marriage, although they are not her first choice of symbol. “I dreamt of marriage as a golden thread between hearts—a ribbon binding one to the other, warm as a day in summer,” she says. “I did not dream a chain of iron shoes.”

The story is not as revolutionary as it seems to think it is. After all, revisionist fairy tales form a longstanding tradition in feminist circles, one that has been practiced by authors from Andrea Dworkin to Angela Carter. “Seasons of Glass and Iron” adds a queer-positive angle, but in an era with entire anthologies devoted to LGBT SF/F, this is not particularly groundbreaking. When Tabitha and Amira get together at the end, it seems as inevitable as Sleeping Beauty being awoken with a kiss or Cinderella finding her Prince. But then, perhaps that is a sign that the revisionism has worked.

(12) BURRITO-ING FOR DOLLARS. Dan Sandler suggested charity might benefit from an audio collaboration between John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton:


(13) REALLY A WONDER. The Hollywood Reporter has been watching the box office: “‘Wonder Woman’ Set to Become Top-Grossing Live-Action Film Directed by a Woman”.

Patty Jenkins’ movie will achieve the milestone shortly after topping the $600 million mark on Wednesday.

Director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman continues to make history in its box-office run.

Sometime Thursday or Friday, the Warner Bros. and DC superhero tentpole will eclipse the $609.8 million earned worldwide by Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! (2008) to become the top-grossing live-action film of all time from a female director, not accounting for inflation.

Wonder Woman also has a strong shot of passing up Kung Fu Panda 2‘s $665.7 million to become the top-grossing film of all time from a female filmmaker with solo directing duties. Jennifer Yuh Nelson helmed the 2011 animated sequel.

Starring Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman passed the $600 million mark at the worldwide box office on Wednesday, finishing the day with a cume of $601.6 million, including $289.2 million domestically and $312.4 million internationally.

(14) CULTURAL CONCUSSION. As ScreenRant sees it — “Wonder Woman: 15 Movie Moments That CRUSH Sexism”.

There’s no denying it: the arrival of Wonder Woman has dealt a massive blow to Hollywood sexism, after years of male superheroes dominating the spotlight in any and all blockbuster franchises. Judging by Wonder Woman‘s opening weekend sales, the idea that ‘women don’t sell’ in superhero shared universes may be permanently vanquished (for DC’s universe, at least). But given how well Diana takes on sexism in the movie itself, it only seems fair that the real-world result should be as big a victory for the feminist ideals of equality, punching the patriarchy squarely in the nose (in front of and behind the camera).

Their list begins:

15. The Amazons Crush The Bechdel Test

…But when Queen Hippolyta and Antiope discuss the Amazons’ duty, the conversation between Diana’s two mother figures is most certainly about her, and not the absent God of War looming somewhere on the planet. For Hippolyta, her mother, all motivation is based in keeping Diana safe, even selfishly turning her back on the Amazons’ duty for her own blood. For Antiope, she wishes to train Diana not because it is required to kill Ares, but because it is Diana’s destiny, and in service to the realization of her potential.

And the first time viewers realize they’re watching two accomplished actresses over the age of 50 discussing their daughter’s future in a superhero blockbuster… well, it becomes clear how rare such a scene really is.

(15) MORE WW BACKGROUND. Well before the movie came Tom Hanley’s Wonder Woman Unbound:  The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine (2014).

This close look at Wonder Woman’s history portrays a complicated heroine who is more than just a female Superman with a golden lasso and bullet-deflecting bracelets. The original Wonder Woman was ahead of her time, advocating female superiority and the benefits of matriarchy in the 1940s. At the same time, her creator filled the comics with titillating bondage imagery, and Wonder Woman was tied up as often as she saved the world. In the 1950s, Wonder Woman begrudgingly continued her superheroic mission, wishing she could settle down with her boyfriend instead, all while continually hinting at hidden lesbian leanings. While other female characters stepped forward as women’s lib took off in the late 1960s, Wonder Woman fell backwards, losing her superpowers and flitting from man to man. Ms. magazine and Lynda Carter restored Wonder Woman’s feminist strength in the 1970s, turning her into a powerful symbol as her checkered past was quickly forgotten. Exploring this lost history adds new dimensions to the world’s most beloved female character, and Wonder Woman Unbound delves into her comic book and its spin-offs as well as the myriad motivations of her creators to showcase the peculiar journey that led to Wonder Woman’s iconic status.

(16) HORROR’S KING. The Guardian asks and answers: “Misery loves company: why Stephen King remains Hollywood’s favorite author”

As a source of adaptation fodder, King is a studio executive’s godsend, because his work is trend-proof. Scan the long, long list of King adaptations and the standout quality will be the steadfastness of it all; ebb and flow as the cultural tides may, King’s work has never lost its luster or lucre. And its eclecticism is the key to King’s perennial popularity; his style never falls out of fashion because King has never defined it to mean one thing in particular.

(17) LITRPG. The English version of Survival Quest, the first in Russian LitRPG Vasily Mahanenko’s The Way of the Shaman, was met with 236 mostly 4 and 5 star Amazon reviews, says Carl Slaughter.  The latest in the series, The Karmadont Chess Set, came out in April 2017.

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Todd, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day clack.]

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72 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/24/17 The Love of Pixels Is The Root Of All Scrolls

  1. I would just have him kill the men involved, not the wives. Let’s not compound the crime.

    Well, he’s a highwayman. He’s not very nice.

    That treats the women in the tale as accessories to the men only. And I am taking this way too seriously I know. But the last line made me laugh anyway.

    Something also needs to happen to Tim the ostler, who’s the one who was sweet on the innkeeper’s daughter, so he grassed on the highwayman and thus got her killed. He’s probably still whining about being friendzoned, and calling people “milady.”

  2. Kurt, OK. Definitely something bad needs to happen to Tim! Thanks for the laugh. It startled the cat.

    (The cat is already not happy with me because she wants to be fed, and the vet put her on antibiotics and her next dose is due to be administered in about 45 minutes, which is when I plan to feed her dose+food. She is currently trying to evoke pity by being piteous and affectionate at the same time. Also weighing down my arms while I try to type.)

  3. The only issue I ever had with ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ was that in the original short story, one of the reveals near the end is that the banker had been black and Red was of old Irish stock. I read it quite young, so it was the first time a book had messed with the default of all characters being white unless otherwise stated for me. Made it really hard to enjoy the movie the first time around.

  4. @Kurt, microtherion, anyone else I missed: (Stephen King adaptations)

    I think The Mist (the movie, not the series, which I haven’t seen) was bloody brilliant, especially with King himself saying he wished he’d thought of that ending. It (the miniseries, not the upcoming movie) was decently well-done given its constraints – four hours on a broadcast network – but there was just So. Damn. Much. left out. That book’s big strength is its sheer weight, the depth of its setting and history; it’s a shame they weren’t able to do much of anything with that. The old rule of thumb is one printed page per screen minute, and It chopped 1,038 pages down to 180 minutes, so… yeah. The Mist, OTOH, was a novella of around 100 pages, so it might as well have been tailor-made for a movie – which I think is why it worked so well as one.

    I would go on, but I cannot brain right now. Been on pain meds (toothache, a bad one) for the last day and a half, got up to watch Sunday night TV, and watching yesterday’s Doctor Who was a bit too much. Back to bed now, with perhaps some more Tom Smith as the next pill takes effect. Or not.

  5. @Bravo Lima Poppa on Stars are Legion – yeah, the world building is deeply flawed/beyond redemption, but the visuals are awesome (space motorcycles flying past tentacles in SPAAACE), and the ending is massively rushed . So no, I don’t think you’re missing something.

  6. I agree regarding the adaptation of The Mist. I hated the novella’s ending when I first read it as a kid, but I’d grown to accept it. The ending they gave it was horrible but in a good way.


    as for the John Wright story, it reads as if it had been conceived by Ayn Rand pegging Joseph Ratzinger.

    Almost lost the cat on my lap with the LoLing.

    Still haven’t got to the RP entries in my Hugo reading. I’m a bit over halfway through This Census-Taker, which I’m enjoying more than I’d expected from what I’ve heard. However, it’s a slow-moving, moody piece, which is messing with my head since I still have a lot to read in the next couple weeks. McGuire’s novella is next on my list.

  7. microtherion: as for the John Wright story, it reads as if it had been conceived by Ayn Rand pegging Joseph Ratzinger.

    Over on SuperversiveSF, Lamplighter has been quoting from bad reviews of the story and “proving them wrong” by saying “It does not!” and “It does so!” 🙄

    Logical thinkers, the Puppies are not.

  8. I think The Mist (the movie, not the series, which I haven’t seen) was bloody brilliant, especially with King himself saying he wished he’d thought of that ending.

    Yeah, I stopped listing well-reviewed King movies as of around 1994, but had I continued, THE MIST, THE MIST woulda been on the list.

    Because THE MIST, THE MIST, reviewers couldn’t resist.

    Yeah, THE MIST was on their list.

    Of, uh, movies they liiiiiiiiiked.

  9. Two of the earlier King adaptations that haven’t been mentioned are Christine and the TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot. Both are fondly remembered by me and got fairly good reviews if my memory doesn’t fail me.

    It is pretty easy to forget the good ones when the ’80s brought us Pet Sematary, Cujo and Maximum Overdrive. Although I remember thinking Cujo wasn’t so bad as a film because the book was obviously written with a film in mind. But that made the book not so hot from my point of view. Cujo and Pet Sematary were probably the last King books I read for a very long time (until Cell).

  10. It is pretty easy to forget the good ones when the ’80s brought us Pet Sematary, Cujo and Maximum Overdrive.

    And the 90s brought Tommyknockers. Admittedly, in that case, the source material might not have been among King’s best works, but certainly Pet Sematary and Cujo were first rate novels, as was The Stand, and it’s a bit disappointing, bordering on puzzling, why none of these translated into first rate movies.

  11. Snowden:

    Two of the earlier King adaptations that haven’t been mentioned are Christine and the TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot. Both are fondly remembered by me and got fairly good reviews if my memory doesn’t fail me.

    6.6 and 6.8 at IMDb, respectively. So just a tad short of my arbitrary cutoff of 7.

    It is pretty easy to forget the good ones when the ’80s brought us Pet Sematary, Cujo and Maximum Overdrive.

    PET SEMATARY also gets a 6.6. CUJO a 6.0 and MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE a 5.4.


    Pet Sematary and Cujo were first rate novels, as was The Stand, and it’s a bit disappointing, bordering on puzzling, why none of these translated into first rate movies.

    It takes an awful lot of things going right to make a good movie and it doesn’t take many things going wrong to make a bad one. The odds are always against a good result.

  12. I did not at all like the movie adaptation of Pet Sematary. Tommyknockers was the book that knocked me off reading King for years. It was also right before he took a long break from horror, making me wonder if maybe he was tiring of it and I sensed that in Tommyknockers.

    I loved Maximum Overdrive. I was 12. It was basically my introduction to AC/DC. I make no apologies.

    Also, I loved Cat’s Eye.

  13. Tommyknockers was the book that knocked me off reading King for years. It was also right before he took a long break from horror, making me wonder if maybe he was tiring of it and I sensed that in Tommyknockers.

    Not that long a break — his next novel was THE DARK HALF.

    What happened after he finished TOMMYKNOCKERS was, his family held an intervention and confronted him about his drug abuse, and he put in the work to get clean. His output slowed down some, and got less manic.

    I kind of admire TOMMYKNOCKERS. Once you realize it’s about cocaine addiction, it’s got a dramatic power to it. But it could use another draft to get it under control a little. I don’t think King could have gotten anywhere near writing it without the drugs, but it’d be interesting to see what it was like after post-drugs King rewrote it with a little distance, a little reflection.

  14. @Kurt Busiek – That’s interesting. My memory has warped to where Tommyknockers was it for horror. Looking at his bibliography, that’s not it at all. I just stopped reading him for the most part at that point. I’ve read books of his here and there (he’s one of my girlfriend’s favorite authors, and she’ll give me the heads up when she thinks I’ll like one of his books), but never got back on the bandwagon.

    Also interesting re the coccaine addiction. Maybe if I ever get Mt. Tsundoku under control I’ll re-read it.

  15. If you mostly stopped reading with TOMMYKNOCKERS, and you ever have time again, there are much better books he’s written since — BAG OF BONES and DUMA KEY are favorites of mine.

    But TOMMYKNOCKERS does make an interesting read if you go in aware it’s a big ol’ metaphor.

  16. Huh, checking IMDb, I note that the TV Show of The Dead Zone has a slightly higher rating than the movie. (7.5 vs. 7.2.)

    Fascinating. I’m not entirely sure I agree, but I do like both (even though they’re entirely different).

    Haven has a 7.6; I’m definitely not sure I’d rate it higher than either of the above, but there ya go. (It also may beat Lawnmower Man as the King adaptation with the least connection to the original material–but unlike the latter, it doesn’t suck.)

    eta: Of course, the tv shows are all post-90s. So they’re tangential to Kurt’s argument. I just thought it was interesting.

  17. I would like to belatedly give @microtherion an internet for the JCW simile, and take back half a one for putting that visual in my head. Shudder. The LOLs stand, however. Mrs. JCW isn’t going to quote that one!

    @Kurt: please accept this vinyl copy of “Private Eyes”.

  18. @Kurt Busiek: ” . . . Yeah, THE MIST was on their list. . . .”

    ::giggling while bowing::

  19. Chip Hitchcock – yes, it was a bit weak on history, but I’d been working on various versions of that essay (some of which went into much greater detail about how taxonomy works — lumping vs splitting, the olinguito as an example of finding new taxa within old ones, odd numbers vs even numbers as an example of how the only times taxonomy isn’t arbitrary is for closed systems where everything is known, ad nauseam) for several years.

    I eventually gave myself a deadline of “have it ready for the next issue of MONSFFA’s zine”. True, it doesn’t do much historical exploration, and the list of examples is nowhere near complete (just this evening, for instance, I remembered P. Djeli Clark’s “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” (2016)), but I felt it was important to leave something else for other people to write about.

  20. The Dead Zone is my favourite King-movie. Walken at his best, Martin Sheel really scary. And great supporting cast.

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