Pixel Scroll 6/3/16 Second Pixelscroll To The Right

(1) LATEST MOWATT RHINO RUN CUT SHORT BY INJURY. Jim Mowatt tried to follow his London Marathon triumph by running the Edinburgh Marathon but midway through his knee gave out.

At around 15 miles Steve asked me for his Lucozade bottle. I dig around in his back pack and hand it to him. My leg is hurting so I cadged some ibuprofen gel from him. His tendons were hurting and he asked me to rub some gel on his knee also.

Steve ran on, I stepped out to try and catch up and found the knee pain had increased dramatically. I gritted my teeth and tried to carry on and then suddenly discovered that I could no longer put any weight on my left leg without it buckling from the pain. I staggered over to the side of the road and found a tree to prop myself upon with one leg held in the air. A marshall came to help, asked if I needed medical assistance and I said yes.

While we were waiting I heard various exchanges on his radio. Not everyone was as willing to stop and receive assistance. Someone else apparently was weaving all over the road in considerable distress, bumping into other runners. Marshalls had asked him to stop but he didn’t seem to hear them and carried on. Someone was shouting over the radio, “stand in front of him, it’s the only way to stop them when they are like this.” I had no such problems stopping myself running. Putting any weight on that leg at all sent huge rolling waves of agony flashing out sharply from my knee. I wasn’t keen on the notion of letting that foot touch the ground anytime soon.

….Carrie pointed me at the train station and we began our long slow walk up the hill. A very tall man appeared from nowhere and asked if we wanted a lift up to the train station. “Yes, absolutely!” yells I, “that would be brilliant”. He vanishes for several minutes and then reappears in a car and drives us to the train station. I think he must have seen us from his living room window and made the decision to help. Just a downright wonderful thing to do. Thank you tall man from Longniddry. You are a damn fine chap.

(2) TIE UP YOUR BOAT TO IDAHO. Steve Fahnestalk recalls his “Moscon Memories” at Amazing Stories.

As I mentioned we asked Robert A. Heinlein to be our GOH, but he demurred at first, saying his health would not allow him to commit to any convention (Figure 5); he later said he would commit to coming as long as his health would allow. Later, closer to the con, he suggested Verna Smith Trestrail as a GOH instead, because her father, E. E. “Doc” Smith, had attended the University of Idaho in Moscow. None of us, of course, had known this. (And if you don’t know who Doc Smith was, your reading is sadly behind the times. Check out the Wikipedia article.) I corresponded with Verna, and she gave us an enthusiastic “yes!” Figure 6, the Kelly Freas convention badge, is a portrait of Verna leaning out of the back of a train—don’t ask me why; I’ve forgotten—and holding out her arms to Worsel of Velantia, one of Doc’s non-human Lensmen. Verna and Al, her husband, trekked out to Moscow from the wilds of Leesburg, Indiana, and we were all hooked. Verna on us, and we on Verna. (Al wasn’t into all this stuff, being more of a Western kind o’ guy, but he bore up really well.) Verna bustled around MosCon, buttonholing anyone who stood still for five minutes, and gave them the lowdown on Doc; she also gave a talk on Doc at the con. Because Heinlein couldn’t attend, he wrote a short article about Doc, which I put in the program book; being a thrifty sort, Heinlein recycled it and reprinted it in Expanded Universe; we PESFANs, of course, are proud of printing it first.

(3) BUSBY RITES. The Memorial Service for James M. Busby will be held on Tuesday, June 14 at The Church of Latter Day Saints 2000 Artesia Blvd., Torrance. Service begins at 11a.m.

The family requests no flowers instead please make a donation in Jim’s memory to continue his life’s passion to educate and preserve space to the Aerospace Legacy Foundation.

(4) THE WINNER. Black Gate’s John O’Neill’s choice as “The Most Successful Anthology of 2015 [is] Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan”. Why?

It’s beginning to look as if Jonathan Strahan’s Meeting Infinity is the most successful SF anthology of 2015… at least if you use story reprints as your yardstick (which I kinda do).

Nine of the anthology’s stories were picked for year’s best collections by Horton, Clarke and Dozois.

(5) ROOMMATE NEEDED. A female reader has just had their MidAmeriCon roommate withdraw, and if there’s a female reader who’d be interested in sharing, e-mail a message to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com and I will forward it. (Or if you prefer to work it this way, communicate to me and I will have the person write a message to be forwarded via email to you.)

(6) SPEAR OF LIGHT AUTHOR. SFFWorld interviews Brenda Cooper.

Are strong female characters important for you?

Thanks for the lovely leading question! Of course they are. And even more important, strong female characters that are complete with brilliance and challenges.  I’m not impressed when “strong female characters” translates to “women who act like men.”  I also like balance – I have strong men and strong women, and sometimes weak men and weak women.  Not so much in this book as Lym and the Glittering are placed that reward strength rather deeply. But still, characters should be complex, interesting, and they should grow. Women should be at least as strong as men, and just like in our current world, sometimes they need to be a little stronger.

(7) FIRST PITCH. Patrick Redford asks “What the Hell, Japan?” at Deadspin.

All sorts of people throw out first pitches before baseball games. Old guys, dinosaurs, washed rappers—you name it, they’ve done it. But this week, Nippon Professional Baseball—ever the innovators—went and put every quirky MLB first pitch into the toilet with this bizarre, unsettling play-within-a-play first pitch faceoff between Sadako from The Ring and Kayako from The Grudge.

The post has lots of GIFs of the action.

(8) PORTALS. Jonathan Thornton reviews Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire at Fantasy-Faction.

The story is set in Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. It is set up by Eleanor West after she returned from her own magical world to help other children who’ve been through the same thing as her adapt. The novella follows Nancy, a girl who’s just returned from the Halls of the Dead, where she has spent decades pretending to be a statue and is promised to the Lord of the Dead, as she joins the school and begins to adapt to her new life. Nancy’s parents are thrilled to have her back and just want to give her their love and help her, but they are unable to understand her experience, or what she’s going through now. This has obvious parallels with the experiences of those who suffer from mental health problems or victims of trauma – indeed, Eleanor tells the parents of the afflicted children that her school is a sanitarium.

The children’s experiences also have parallels with those whose sexual orientation or gender identity comes between them and their family. Nancy is asexual, and her parents are having difficulty understanding this aspect of her life. Kade is a trans man who is living as an intelligent and productive young man at the school while his parents still want their little girl back. More generally still the children’s condition could also be read as a metaphor for the transition from childhood to being a young adult, the point when you grow away from being your parents’ child into your own identity as an individual member of society. McGuire explores all these themes and ideas in the novella, and throughout it all treats her characters with respect and sensitivity, whatever aspect of their pain or personal history she is exploring.

(9) FOOTAGE FROM THE CULTURE WARS. Jason Ahlquist’s About Tomorrow is a feature-length documentary in progress “about the intersection of science fiction and politics told through the 2015 Hugo Award balloting controversy.” He plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign in July.

Also known as “Puppygate,” the controversy revolved around the efforts of two right-wing groups and their use of coordinated voting blocs to influence the outcomes of one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards…..

“I want this film to be a vehicle for exploration of the larger depths of sci-fi’s role,” said Ahlquist, “not only in how we see our future, but how we’ll act on our hopes and fears.” Ahlquist went on to say that production on the film is nearly complete, and that, “production will wrap at the 74th World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City before we move into post-production.”


(10) X-MEN. “Meet the Underappreciated Woman Who Invented X-Men’s Apocalypse” – a profile at Vulture.

Her name is Louise Simonson, and she co-created Apocalypse (his look came courtesy of artist Jackson Guice) in the pages of Marvel Comics’ X-Factor, in 1986. Simonson — “Weezie” to her friends — is one of the better superhero-comics writers of the past 40 years, a person who crafted beloved stories about the X-Men and DC Comics’ Superman, just to name a pair of the more famous properties she has worked on. The 69-year-old was also a pioneer: She did much of her most famous work when women writers were a rarity in the comics industry. Despite all that, she’s never gotten her due in mainstream media outlets. But within the comics world, her name reverberates.

(11) NEWS, WEATHER AND SUPERMAN’S DEATH ON THE TEN. From Gamespot I learn “Superman Is Dead Again – What That Now Means”.

Back in 1993, Superman died while fighting Doomsday. In the comics, the world mourned the death of the Man of Steel, and soon saw other Supermen rise to take his place. The real Superman eventually returned to life, and his adventures continued. That was in the previous comic continuity. In the current continuity, which started in 2011, Superman is dying again. This time, his death and return is something different.

Yeah, sure it is. Excuse me while I don’t give a damn. Superman’s life status has become as routine as the weather report.

(12) APPERTAINING YOUR OWN CON. Alexandra Erin explains in considerable detail that just because a Helsinki Worldcon co-chair hopes Erin will be at next year’s con it doesn’t mean they’re paying her way. Apparently not everyone immediately understands that.

This is probably the last time I’ll bother qualifying something neat like “a WorldCon head personally told me she’d be jazzed if I were there” by explaining the real world to dedicated denizens of a carefully constructed artificial reality, for the simple reason that I know it doesn’t work. It’s more my fascination with the disconnect between actual reality on the ground and the stories that swirl based on a few glimmers of that reality and much speculation that prompts this post.

What a different world we live in than the one that is ascribed to us.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

58 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/3/16 Second Pixelscroll To The Right

  1. @Kathodus, Xenu

    If there’s any book that count’s a check-box fiction this year, it’d Jim Butcher’s Cinder Spires, even if he is the great shining white knight of white guys who hate checkbox fiction. The only difference is the checkbox are pretty much to many of the tribes of modern fandom. And this book suffers more for it’s real box-checking than any of the Ancillary books, the Bel Dame books, anything Jemisin’s written, or any of the other fabled yet rarely seen box-checking referenced in tirades by sci-fi’s bit of the alt right. But each tribe of modern fandom get’s its box check. And it makes for a book that didn’t need to be this boring.

    Angry boi redditors? Captain McBlackcoat, cruelly oppressed because he has no social graces due to Always Having To Speak The Truth. He’s even in a longcoat, and to really throw a bone to the Firefly fans – he’ll be a little gruff to Gwen. The beautiful, vivacious, strong character. Willful, in charge, perfect for someone who views themselves as nerd, a woman, an socially adept. Butcher at least admits this part of fandom exists – low bar, but look at who nominated him. (But we’ll occasionally make her willfully blind and in need of wiser heads to tell her what’s going. Because the tribe of nice guys needs to the character that speaks to them, about how even the women the “deserve” need them. For that woman’s own good, of course.)

    The etheriealists are for the tribe of would-be wild ones/eccentrics/misunderstood/”misunderstood”. If you like bad boys (but not too too bad) Benedict. The furries also have Benedict. The crafty and awkward get Bridget. And a talking cat, because fans love cats – all the webs would agree on this.

    And it’s not just the ensemble. Good size of bit of the setting is about checking the boxes too. Age of Sail inspired or themed, vaguely military stuff has a huge constituency. Check. (As someone who enjoyed Dread Empire’s Fall, I can throw few stones…) Got to have a big icky creature, and must have a string pulling Bond villain type. Check and check. Layer in the Victoriana because steampunk is alive and well in fandom. Check. So much of the rest of the book, check, check, check. And given how Butcher’s definitely Puppy-curious, and the last little while of US politics, the Spanish-themed enemy’s probably a check to a certain tribe of fandom too.

    Cinder Spires was longer than it needed to be for the tautness that is usually a great quality of Butcher’s writing. But I think he just had to check all the boxes, and do the sci-fi novelist version of “covering the quadrants.”

    Jim Butcher is very good at plotting, very good at keeping a story hopping along, can at times really put you into the characters shoes. I liked a lot of earlier Dresden. He can build a pretty decent world (Macro-scale; just don’t use the books to find your way around Chicago.) This story paints by the numbers. The strange and different society… Part of me is eager for the next book because I want to know how the world got to be how it was. A lot of me though thinks that after the checklist this first book displayed, Butcher wouldn’t dream of making an explanation that was different or challenging.

  2. @Mike Glyer Tasha Turner: robinareid made a comment with a link to a Bradford post. I apologized to Reid for putting it in the deep freeze, which I did because of the tweet. What’s confusing about that?

    Since you deep froze her comment I didn’t see it and was very confused. I should have kept my confusion to myself and assumed I’d missed something.

    A drink to world peace. If anyone finds my brain or has a spare I could use one it’s been a long rough week emotionally and physically.

  3. Tasha Turner: And after I replied to you, I changed my mind and restored the comment. Which is more confusing. But you generated a better result.

  4. @TYP – I can see how you’ve arrived at those conclusions. I hadn’t thought of what Butcher was doing as checking off boxes so much as writing a rollicking yarn, and using shortcuts for characters. I don’t have a lot of experience with Butcher, largely because when I attempted a first go at the series, years ago, I saw the same “problem” (in scare quotes because some people want by-the-numbers characters). I’ve been enjoying The Aeronaut’s Windlass much more than any of the Dresden material I’ve read, but then, it’s rare for an author’s first book to be their best representation, and it’s not usually a lot of fun to start a series 13 books in.

    I don’t see it doing anything new, but it is so far very enjoyable. Seems a bit fluffy for a Hugo, but at the same time, what finalist in BDP Long Form isn’t?

  5. @Hal Winslow’s Old Buddy: re administrative churn!

    Ah, we could have a rip roaring old time over a couple of drinks sharing the stories (all too common these days).

    I think there must be some warning in Administrative Manual Quarterly against talking to faculty!

    I remember once, in a meeting, bringing up the problems the last time Solution Q had been floated, and being told that faculty were all just too negative, and if we just had a positive perspective, all would be well.

    The worst things have been some campus-wide initiatives usually to do with some new hybrid of business (total quality management) and teaching that come with fancy names and pressure to participate (and promises that said participation will count toward tenure). Then after the poor (usually not yet tenured person) agrees, spends time and energy on the initiative, and comes up for tenure, nobody up the greasy pole remembers the initiative, and the lack of the correct scholarship/grants is a reason to deny tenure. I’ve warned tenure-track faculty about that after an experience a few years ago with a friend in Physics.

  6. @Henley

    And Butcher is the master of it, and proof the puppies love someone who will check their boxes.

Comments are closed.