Pixel Scroll 6/7/16 Pixel Sally, Guess You Better Scroll That Pixel Down

(1) THE WAY TO LIVE IN FANDOM. In “A few post-Wiscon thoughts on being an ally” Sigrid Ellis covers several topics, and this segment speaks to fans far beyond the environs of WisCon.

Here’s the thing: if the fates are kind, all of us will one day be old in fandom. Two, three, four generations will pile in after us, building on what we have fostered. We, too, will be pushed to the margins and passed by.

Yet my heart and head are with the youth. With the future. I cannot bring myself to condemn change that spreads power among more people. I cannot argue against hearing more people tell their own stories. I cannot stand against representation, inclusion.

And yet, and yet, and yet …

What I want, what a crave, is for people to LISTEN to each other. To empathize. I want the young’ns to thank those who came before for their victories, however incremental. I want the founders and established folks to respect the anger and impatient demands for change. I want the next generation to not throw out everything just because it was done before. I want the previous generation to avoid “because we always do it this way” as a reason.

When I hear some Old Fart say something dismissive and intolerant, I wince. I want to prevent my respected elders from showing their ass in public, I want to cover for them, I want to protect them from being overheard.

When I hear some Young Turk calling to burn it all to the ground and start again, I wince. I want to run interference, I want to soften their demands, I want to compromise and meet them halfway.

(2) WHAT IT’S ABOUT. In a piece for Bloomberg, “’Star Wars’ Is Really About Feminism. And Jefferson. And Jesus”,  Cass Sunstein has excerpts from his book The World According to Star Wars.

….Like a great novel or poem, Star Wars doesn’t tell you what to think. You can understand it in different, even contradictory ways. Here are six of those ways.


From the feminist point of view, is Star Wars awful and kind of embarrassing, or actually terrific and inspiring? No one can doubt that “The Force Awakens” strikes a strong blow for sex equality: Rey is the unambiguous hero (the new Luke!), and she gets to kick some Dark Side butt. Just look at the expression on her face when she has a go at Kylo Ren.

By contrast, the original trilogy and the prequels are easily taken as male fantasies about both men and women. The tough guys? The guys. When you feel the Force, you get stronger, and you get to choke people, and you can shoot or kill them, preferably with a lightsaber (which looks, well, more than a little phallic — the longer, the better).

But there’s another view. Leia is the leader of the rebellion. She’s a terrific fighter, and she knows what she’s doing. She’s brave, and she’s tough, and she’s good with a gun. By contrast, the men are a bit clueless. She does wear a skimpy costume, and she gets enslaved, kind of, by Jabba the Hutt. But isn’t everything redeemed, because she gets to strangle her captor with the very chain with which he bound her? Isn’t that the real redemption scene in the series?

(3) SISMAN OBIT. Publisher and novelist Robyn Sisman (1955-2016) died May 20 of cancer reports The Bookseller.

She began her career in publishing at Oxford University Press where she worked her way up to become an editor.

She later became an editorial director at J M Dent and created two publishing imprints – Everyman Fiction, a list of contemporary fiction; and a classic crime line, which included writers such as Nicholas Blake (Cecil Day-Lewis), Margery Allingham, and Kingsley Amis.

Malcolm Edwards believes she commissioned the first Interzone anthology at Dent.

Sisman then joined Hutchinson, part of the Random House group, via a stint at the newly established UK arm of Simon & Schuster.

She oversaw publication of Robert Harris’ wartime novel Fatherland, but also such books as Kim Newman’s The Night Mayor and Brian Stableford’s Empire of Fear brought to her attention by an sf advisor.

Sisman’s career as a writer began with her debut novel, Special Relationship, published in 1995 by Heinemann. She wrote five other romantic comedies, Just Friends (Penguin), Perfect Strangers (Penguin), Weekend in Paris (Penguin), A Hollywood Ending (Orion) and The Perfect Couple? (Orion).

She was married to author Adam Sisman.

(4) TOP DRONE. I don’t know what Luke will go shooting womp-rats with now – “The U.S. Air Force May Have Just Built Its Last Fighter Jet” reports The Daily Beast.

In the direst scenario, Air Force fighters simply won’t survive over enemy territory long enough to make any difference during a major war. In that case, the penetrating counterair system, or PCA, might not be a fighter jet as we currently understand it.

Instead, it could be a radar-evading drone whose main job is to slip undetected into enemy air space and use sophisticated sensors to detect enemy planes—and then pass that targeting data via satellite back to other U.S. forces. “A node in the network,” is how the strategy document describes the penetrating system’s main job.

The Air Force could start work on the penetrating counterair system in 2017, according to the new air-superiority plan. The document proposes that this possible stealth drone could team up with an “arsenal plane”—an old bomber or transport plane modified to carry potentially hundreds of long-range missiles

(5) AERIAL SNACKAGE. Richard Foss was up early to guest on a TV show called Food: Fact or Fiction and wrote a great post about his experiences.

One segment was about the history of food aboard commercial aircraft, the other about food in space, and each had their humorous moments. As part of one I had to eat some airline peanuts, and unfortunately they had brought the sweet kind that I detest. I managed to fake enjoyment when the camera was on, but must have made an interesting face as soon as it stopped, because the cameraman asked if I was choking. When I told him the situation, he complimented me on my acting, because he had thought I loved peanuts as long as the camera was on. The annoying part? They had to shoot the scene three times, so I ate a whole bag of the nasty things.

(6) UP THE AMAZON. John Scalzi delivered “A Tweet Spree on Amazon Authors and Envy” — 17 tweets and a kitten picture. Here’s number 6.

(7) AUGUST BRADBURY SHINDIG. Steven Paul Leiva signal boosted a call for submissions for this summer’s Ray Bradbury Read in LA.

On August 22, 2016, in celebration of the ninety-sixth anniversary of the birth of American and Angeleno literary great Ray Bradbury, the Ray Bradbury Read will take place in downtown Los Angeles from twelve noon to three p.m.

The Ray Bradbury Read will feature three hours of short readings from the works of Ray Bradbury; from his short stories, novels, poems, and essays…

The readers of Bradbury’s work will be members of the public selected by the process described below. There will also be guest celebrity readers….

To be considered as a reader you must submit a proposal for a reading of a five-minute-or-under excerpt from one of Bradbury’s many works. The excerpt can come from any of Ray’s published prose and verse writings and should have a central theme, coherence, and completeness about it. More than one excerpt or poem can be read, as long as their reading time does not exceed five minutes. Excerpts from plays and screenplays will not be accepted.

Ray Bradbury Read 8 22

(8) WALK THROUGH MGM. Marc Scott Zicree, Mr. Sci-Fi, visits the former MGM, where Twilight Zone was shot.

(9) DO ANYTHING ELSE IF YOU CAN. William F. Nolan wrote on Facebook:

A major misconception: that all famous, successful writers find it easy to bring in vast amounts of money and have always enjoyed big bucks, right from the start of their fabled careers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Stephen King had his phone cut off for non-payment and had to use a gas station phone to receive calls while sweating for low pay in an industrial laundry. Ray Bradbury lived on tomato soup for years as his stories were rejected. Charles Beaumont had to hock his typewriter for food. Richard Matheson nearly starved trying to live on random, penny-a-word sales. Just a few examples from many. It takes talent, hard work and a LOT of years to “make it big” as a writer. And most writers never do. A tough game, people. Very, very tough indeed. Write if you must — but ONLY if you must.

(10) NOT A STRANGER. ScienceFiction.com shares “Strange Opinion: Bob Gale Of ‘Back To The Future’ Is Not Happy About ‘Doctor Strange’”.

In a recent interview with MoviePilot, Bob Gale let his opinion be known about Marvel’s upcoming ‘Doctor Strange’ movie, a film that he is not looking forward to. While you might think “Who the hell is Bob Gale?” and “Why does his opinion matter on this?” let me tell you, I had similar thoughts. I knew he was a writer/producer on the ‘Back to the Future‘ movies back in the 80?s (and has done little else since, except for ‘Back to the Future’ video games and promos, and the ride at Universal Studios), and I thought it was very strange that years later the man would pop up again with comments on a Marvel movie. However, Bob Gale having an opinion on the matter is not as strange as I originally thought, as it turns out that back in the 80s (at the height of his relevancy) the man wrote a screenplay for ‘Doctor Strange,’ which unfortunately never got made. Apparently Bob Gale is a huge ‘Doctor Strange’ fan and an expert on the character, which is why he tried to get his movie made, and also why he feels so strongly about Marvel’s upcoming film featuring the character.

Of course I’d listen to Bob Gale’s opinion. He majored in film at USC. More important, that’s how he happened to take me (a fellow USC student) to the first LASFS event I ever attended, the club’s 1970 anniversary dinner, where Harlan Ellison read aloud “Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.” He can say anything he likes about Doctor Strange as far as I’m concerned. 😉

(11) FANTASY TOURISM. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has “Rough Guides to Getting Around Single-Climate Planets”.

Ursa Beta Minor (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams) Introduction: The Pleasure Planet Ursa Beta Minor was designed, manufactured, and terraformed to be the ultimate vacation destination. The planet is comprised completely of warm oceans and thin strips of beach front. It is always Saturday afternoon, and the bars are always open. In fact, as you read this, you’re wondering why anyone would travel to any other single-climate planet, and frankly we have to agree with you.

Where to Go: Aside from the beaches and the bars, there is only one other destination: Light City, the capital city. While in Light City, visit the headquarters of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which will be very disappointing, but afterwards you can stroll down Life Boulevard and walk past the shops that literally no one is wealthy enough to afford.

Getting There and Getting Around: You’ll need a ship equipped with some sort of Infinite Improbability Drive, or at least a Bistromatic Drive. Once in orbit, you can only arrive by air, as the owners really want you to see Light City from up there, or else the whole trip is a waste.

(12) APPERTAIN YOURSELF A LIBATION. Stoic Cynic in a comment:

Apropos of nothing in this thread (yet), and with apologies to Johnny Mandel, Mike Altman, the cast of MASH, and various posters toasting world peace:

Through early morning fog I see
Another troll post on the screen
Their words that are meant to rile me
I realize and I can see

That scrolling past is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it
If I please

Games of trolls are a loss to play
Not gonna feed it today
That losing card I’ll some day lay
But right now though I have to say

That scrolling past is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it
If I please

Their words are time we’ll not see again
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But engage and get all drawn in
The loss grows stronger, watch it grin

Scrolling past is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it
If I please

Sea Lions once demanded me
To answer questions they thought key
Is it to be, or not to be?
And I replied, oh why ask me?

Scrolling past is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it
If I please

And you can do the same thing
If you please

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Stoic Cynic, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

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124 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/7/16 Pixel Sally, Guess You Better Scroll That Pixel Down

  1. Drones are all well and good against 3rd world opposition. I’m a little more skeptical once you consider 1st world opponents with electronic warfare capabilities.

    (Related aside: the US Air Force was conducting jamming tests in California just yesterday:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/07/us_military_testing_gps_jamming/ )

    If your opponent can jam your control channels then you’re having to look at autonomy. I’m skeptical there as well. Even a system as basic as Phalanx CIWS (a sort of automated gatling gun for shooting down missiles) has had failures and incidents. It has very limited operating parameters compared to an autonomous drone.

    Drones are a viable, and I expect increasingly important, part of the mix. As an out and out replacement for manned aircraft? I’m thinking not so much.

    (None of which excuses the F-35. The F-35 is still a cluster…)

  2. The original Star Wars a male fantasy? Well, Sunstein is off the mark there. Every little girl’s dream is to be a Disney princess.

  3. The Wicked and The Divine #20 has just come out.


    Holy shit. (Literally)

    Now I need to find someone to burble theories at. As always, nothing in that series is as it seems. And it just keeps getting better. If this arc finishes in 2016, then it’s seriously Hugo worthy.

  4. @Stoic Cynic,

    I don’t think that dogfighting is the future of air warfare. I mean you have lasers and missiles to take people attacking you. And quality ECM is going to take out vehicles both manned or unmanned. It’s all about the arms race between deny and allow.

    But I’d be highly surprised if we still fielded manned sorties after 2025.

    I’m so glad we agree about F-35 though. What a waste of money.

  5. Robert Whitaker Sirignano: The scrolls my pixelations

    I like that one — but I see it’s been used before. (Eventually I’ll probably forget and use it again!)

  6. I See All Good Pixels Scroll Their Heads Each Day So Satisfied I’m On My Way
    Owner Of A Lonely Pixel
    No Pixel Necessary, No Scroll Needed
    Long Distance Pixelscroll
    Wonderous Pixelscroll

  7. At the risk of sounding like a hawk, if we have to fight a war, I’m in favor of zero casualties on my side, and minimal casualties on the other side.

    People should remember that just because one branch of the US military announces a new doctrine, there’s tons of miles to travel before it actually becomes our way to fight. And these days, I see anything the USAF involved with as simply a way to cut costs so the F-35 can be built.

  8. @Jim I tried that. but it didn’t quite work for me. The pixels are part of the scrolls, not the other way round…

  9. Should we break out the Pink Floyd?

    Pixel at the Gates of Dawn
    Obscured by the Scrolls
    Pixel Scroll Mother
    Pixel Side of the Scroll
    The Scroll
    The Division Scroll
    The Endless Pixel

  10. @jacklint
    “…to summon back the fire witch. To the court of the Pixel Scroll”

  11. What about The Nobel Barn????

    (1) Bullet point #2. Really? “Be nice to the hotel staff taking care of you” is really something that needs to be said?

    With regard to the quoted section on listening….yup.

    (2) Re: Star Wars being many things to many people. Spot on. The same applies to other works as well.

    Despite Cass’ attempt to tie Star Wars to Thomas Jefferson and other positive messages, George Lucas is on record as stating that the Rebel Alliance was supposed to be an allegorical North Vietnam while the Empire was supposed to the be U.S. Not a very positive message, sadly.

    (12) Well done Stoic. Even better the second time around.


  12. George Lucas has said a whole lot of things whose sincerity I have to wonder whether even he believes.

  13. @Will R.: “George Lucas has said a whole lot of things whose sincerity I have to wonder whether even he believes.”

    He does have a certain flair for creating his own version of reality, doesn’t he? The original 12 9 6-film franchise concept focused on the droids Anakin Skywalker Story proves that…

  14. How about some classic U2 titles?

    Where the Scrolls Have No Name
    Pixel, Bloody Pixel (How Long Must We Read This Scroll?)
    Pixel of Harlem
    Pixel Scroll in the Name of Love
    She Scrolls in Her Pixelish Ways

  15. @alexvdl

    Not so far apart really: I think the Maverick and Goose stuff is going to become very rare. Probably the same for deep penetration bombing and such too. Missions like close air support though I think are still manned for the foreseeable future. Then again you’re still in service I think? You’d probably know more than I do about the current state of things.

    Tying this back to being a sci-fi and fandom blog:

    For near future SF / Techno-Thriller I’d give high marks to The War in 2020 by Ralph Peters. It’s got flaws, biases, and prejudices in abundance but focuses a lot more on the people than the info data dump most of the genre is prone to. I haven’t read it in about 20 years but still remember it as being one of the best before I burned out on techno-thrillers generally.

    For Maverick and Goose stuff: I’d also recommend Area 88. Darn good anime about mercenary fighter pilots. It’s really present day-ish and not sci-fi but I figure anime gives it a chance to slide in 🙂 There’s actually an OVA from the 80’s (based on a manga) and then a 12 episode series from the early oughts. I’ve only seen the series so recommendation wise I can’t speak to the earlier works.

  16. I’m guessing we could next try neo-prog for the Scrolls.

    Porcupine Tree’s Yellow Pixel Dreamscroll? Or The Pixels Scroll Sideways?

  17. @LunarG
    Pixel of Harlem made me think it ought to be Pixel of Scrollem, which led me to:

    Scroll ’em, scroll ’em, scroll ’em,
    Keep those pixels scrolling….

  18. I would never dismiss Bob Gale with a “Who?” He was half of Zemeckis and Gale! Yes, the Back to the Future franchise, but also I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Used Cars, people! That’s comedy gold.

  19. The Night They Scrolled Old Pixel Down.

    Pixel Scroll Surgery? “Left behind the bars, rows of pixel scrolls in jars….”

    (I’m trying to think of a Caravan song title that isn’t at least a double entendre and failing miserably.)

    ETA 16 times fifth.

  20. @Sylvia Sotomayor
    If we’re bringing up vintage TV programmes , how about:

    770 Sunset Scroll

  21. And what rough beast, its pixel scrolled round at last,
    Slouches towards MAC II be born?

    Still slooowly reading Aeronaut’s Windlass, which is all Action! and Overwhelming Odds! and Captain Grimmy Grimm Grimm Saves the Day Yet Again! when I would rather be reading Gwen & Journeyman’s Symposium on the History, Growth, and Uses of Crystals. Or Ferus & Folly’s Wacky Etheric Adventures. Or Rowl, Prince of Cats. Or pretty much anything other than what’s been written. I’m on track to finish the book, but I think my review is “meh”.

  22. Rev. Bob on June 8, 2016 at 2:41 am said:

    Not to be confused with Barns & Noble, which specializes in farm buildings and inert gases.

    For all your farm needs except the reproductive ones, you can visit Barns and No Bull. 🙂

  23. @princejvstin, if you’re thinking of King Crimson:

    21st Century Pixel Scroll

  24. Sylvia Sotomayor –
    You are absolutely correct.
    And how how could I forget:

    But I Still Haven’t Scrolled Where the Pixels Are


  25. For agricultural tree stump removal this moose would recommend Barns & Nobel.

  26. @Cadbury I indeed was, decided to go with a lyric instead of a song title. Just because 🙂

  27. @alexvdl

    I’ll have to check it out. It sort of rings bells as having heard good things about it.

    @Dawn Incognito

    Courage! Just think of it as research for your future best-selling parody. Maybe The Aeronaut’s Windless – A novel about a steam punk-ish aviator transitioning to a digital watch? 😛

  28. LunarG: Scrollhide!

    Don’t try and understand ’em
    Just scroll, trope, and brand ’em

  29. (1) This should be required reading for every fan, young and old.

    (4) Nope. We still need a few people up there for tricky decisions, although more drones is better for our side. Smarter drones are better for everyone.
    @Stoic Cynic: combo of “Maverick and Goose” with “deep penetration”. OH MY!

  30. And now we’ve got the Western theme established, I can’t get Pixel Packin’ Mama out of my head …

  31. @lurkertype

    Hey, I call volleyball scenes the way I see them! 😛

    You never scroll your eyes anymore when I pixel lips?

    You’ve lost that scrolling feeling?

    Scroll my breath away?

    ETA: an extra…

  32. @Stoic Cynic

    Not so far apart really: I think the Maverick and Goose stuff is going to become very rare. Probably the same for deep penetration bombing and such too.

    Allow me a moment of juvenile snickering at this (Top Gun has no subtext. It’s all text, all the time).

  33. @Stoic Cynic:

    Just think of it as research for your future best-selling parody. Maybe The Aeronaut’s Windless – A novel about a steam punk-ish aviator transitioning to a digital watch?

    I think I prefer the Aeronaut’s Wine Glass. After all the naval-in-space battles that I cared not a whit for, I needed more than one of those.

  34. Re opinions changing on original Star Wars. I was 11 or 12 when it first came out. I couldn’t understand how my mom fell asleep during the most exciting wonderful movie ever made. When I went to the re-release in the nineties, I understood. The other two held up better. I find I only like the Star Wars that doesn’t involve Lucas. Also I’m turning into my mom.

    There was one thing that amused me at the Star wars re-release. The line to the men’s room ran all the way through the lobby but there was no line at all for the ladies’ room. Only time that I’ve seen that in my life! 😉

  35. (4) I linked to one of these videos in another scroll but all this drone talk made me think of this one. Dahir Insaat seems to be some kind of insane Turkish patent camping company that makes these CG videos as part of their applications.

    So here is the most impractical drone ever. There is some mild cursing in the commentary.

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