Pixel Scroll 6/9/17 A Simple Scrollable Pixel, Or How I Was Mike Glyered Into Filing

(1) OPENING ROUND. Fantasy-Faction, in “The SPFBO: Introducing Round One!”, tells how they’re getting ready to participate in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off.

As you know, 300 competing titles have now been split into batches of 30 and assigned to one of the ten participating blogs. Here’s the tough part: we can’t keep them all. It’s a bit like being asked to foster a small herd of kittens, then being told you’re only allowed to adopt one of them. We try hard not to become too attached, but it proved very difficult last year and I wouldn’t be the least surprised if the same were true again this time.

(2) SPACEBALLS. Profiles in History will be auctioning “Rick Moranis hero ‘Dark Helmet’ helmet from Spaceballs.” At the end of the month reports Invaluable.

Rick Moranis hero “Dark Helmet” helmet from Spaceballs. (MGM, 1987) This articulating oversized signature helmet was worn by Moranis as Dark Helmet throughout the Mel Brooks classic Sci-Fi spoof. Consisting of 20 in. round by 14 in. tall cartoonish “Darth Vader” -stylized helmet constructed of heavy vacuum formed plastic component shell affixed to internal construction worker’s hard-hat liner to fit the actor. With screw-hinged movable faceplate section featuring vents, metalized shower drain mouth piece and triangular embedded tinted see-through lenses. Exhibiting only minor production wear and age. In vintage very good to fine condition. $8,000 – $12,000

(3) M. BANKS. Sam Reader at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog honors the late author — “With The Algebraist, Iain M. Banks Perfected His Space Opera”.

The Scottish author Iain Banks famously led a double life in publishing. Some of his books — the ones published under the name Iain Banks — were sold to readers as “literature,” and shelved as such in bookstores. The rest — the ones that applied his talent for creating boldly unlikeable characters and enormously complex plots to the tropes and trappings of science fiction — were published under the name “Iain M. Banks,” that middle initial serving as a beacon to genre readers across the world, telling them: this one. This is the Banks you’re looking for.

The Algebraist is peak Iain M. Banks. It’s also the only book he ever wrote to be nominated for the Hugo Award, a fact that seems almost unbelievable in retrospect.

The late, great SF pioneer, who died on this day in 2013, spent most of his life experimenting with space opera …

(4) ANY SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY. Yesterday, you didn’t care about this. But today you will passionately brawl about it. Natalie Zutter asks “Is Time Travel Science Fiction or Fantasy?” at Tor.com.

Even though you would expect time travel to require hard rules, it seems to most often appear in both science fiction and fantasy stories that require a certain amount of handwaving on the details. We’re given some sense of how the TARDIS operates — the chameleon circuit, and the sometimes-isometric, sometimes-telepathic controls — but it’s best just to jump in and hang on. Similarly, there’s no clear explanation for the time travel in Kindred or Outlander aside from supernatural forces working outside of our understanding or control, forces that cause certain events to occur as part of some larger cosmic plan.

(5) NEVERMORE. Maybe there’s a more subtle reason Noah’s raven didn’t come back? The Verge reports “If you wrong a raven, it will remember”.

These nine ravens were raised in captivity, growing to become familiar with the researchers. Then came the test.

The ravens were put in a cage along with two trainers on each one. The first trainer gave the raven a piece of bread. The raven then carried the bread to the other trainer on the other side, and exchanged it for cheese.

The second time, the raven was soundly rejected. Instead of getting the cheese, it had to watch as the trainer just ate the cheese in front of it.

Two days later, the researcher rounded up up seven of the birds and presented them with three trainers: the fair one who gave them the bread, the unfair one who ate food in front of them, and a neutral one. Six out of seven birds chose the fair one. One chose the neutral one. Nobody wanted to play with the mean one.

(6) I FORGOT. The City, Awake by Duncan Barlow was released in March by Stalking Horse Press.

Barlow’s metaphysical noir The City, Awake is a novel of chemically induced amnesia, doppelgangers, fanatics, and killers. Saul, a man without a history, awakes in a hotel room with a note in his pocket. Hunting for answers, he must survive rival assassins, a millionaire with an axe to grind, a shape-shifting femme fatal, a silent hit man, and a psychotic who is only looking for an exit. Barlow evokes a vast mid-century modernist cityscape in prose that is by turns hard-boiled, then unexpectedly psychedelic and delicate. With temporal and spatial distortions reminiscent of A. E. van Vogt’s The World of Null-A, the novel that inspired Godard’s Alphaville, this is a vivid investigation of identity, scientific speculation, and Biblical Apocrypha. The City, Awake is a mirror maze of dark streets and darker secrets.

(7) FEAR OF THE ARTS. Omni’s Joshua Sky asks the questions in “Where X Marks the Spot: An Interview with Steve Barnes”.

Walk me through it. I’ve read about you, but I haven’t been able to find much on your childhood. Can you give me a recap of your youth?

Steve Barnes: Born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles. I was interested in science fiction, fantasy, films and stories from a very early age. My mother and sister raised me; there wasn’t a father in the home. So I was always very interested in macho adventure.

First book that I can remember clearly reading was called Space Cat. I was in second grade, before then, I loved monster movies and stuff like that. It’s always been apart of my life. The first real sci-fi novel I’ve ever read was probably Robert Heinlein’s, Have Spacesuit Will Travel, in the fifth grade.

When did you start making attempts at writing?

The first story I remember ever writing, was in like, third grade. It was called, The Yeti. It was about an abominable snowman in a Canadian lumber camp. After that, I wrote a lot of sci-fi action adventure, space ship monster stuff. I was doing that from third to fourth grade, up through college.

(8) NOTED FUTURIST. Joshua Sky also did an “Interview with Trina Phillips, Chief Futurist at SciFutures” for Omni.

Describe what SciFutures is. I’ve read about it, I know about it, but I’d like to hear it from you.

TRINA: We do a range of things, but our main idea is that a lot of companies don’t do well with changing their ways and staying up to date with new and near future technology. This isn’t just using new systems. We’re talking about thinking forward. Some of these companies have been around for over a hundred years; being forward thinking and moving fast are not their specialty. The idea behind it is that not only do you use science fiction ideas to help propel them into the future, but we use storytelling to help them understand it, to help them comprehend this new information better. Because someone can sit there and say, I’m doing projections, and with all the graphs and charts and this and that. And we don’t do that. We go further out than those are realistic for, you know, guessing at. We’re not going to tell you what you should do next year; we’re going to tell you what you should be looking to do in five to ten years, or more — if you prefer the long view.

But it’s all theoretical in a sense, because it’s from a science fictional standpoint, right?

TRINA: Yes, except it is based on the tech that’s available now, and we have a really good handle on modern technology. Half of our staff consists of tech people — a little more than half, actually. So we have a real grounding in where the tech is, where it’s going. We know what’s feasible, and we base our suggestions on that information. But that doesn’t mean we’re not inventing things that don’t quite exist yet. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

(9) NO FUTURIST. Meantime, John Scalzi was shocked to discover that his go-to soda, Coke Zero, is on its way out: “Is This the End of Our Hero, Coke Zero?!??!!??!?”

It’s that “no sugar” part that’s apparently important, because these days, or so the news reports suggest to me, sugar is in bad odor as being the worst possible thing you can put in your body short of heroin, a proposition I’m not convinced of, but then I’m kind of a sugar fiend, so I may be biased. By calling the new product Coke No Sugar, Coke is making it clear there’s, uh, no sugar in it. So, good for hyper-literal branding, I guess. I think “Coke No Sugar” is kind of terrible as a brand name, and suspect that if consumers didn’t know Coke Zero had, you know, zero sugar in it, the problem was marketing, and not the branding per se. Mind you, if memory serves, the whole point of Coke Zero marketing in the early days was to hide from dudes with fragile masculinity the fact that they were drinking a diet beverage, which is why the word “diet” was never put anywhere near the product dress. So again, I’m not sure consumers are 100% to blame here if they didn’t catch on about the zero sugar thing.

(10) MORE ON BOOKEXPO. Shelf Awareness insists the cup is half-full: “BookCon Draws 20,000; Trade Attendance Up at BookExpo”.

BookExpo drew 7,425 non-exhibiting attendees–primarily booksellers, librarians, retailers and media members — while BookCon brought in 20,000 readers, up 2,000 from two years ago, when the consumer event was last held in New York, ReedPOP announced this week. According to Brien McDonald, event director for BookExpo and BookCon, trade attendance was significantly up this year compared to last year’s show in Chicago, Ill., and in particular, attendance at the show’s author talks and educations sessions was “exceptionally high.” McDonald also noted that for 2017, ReedPOP implemented a review process for all non-buying categories of trade attendees, including self-published authors, bloggers and consultants, in an effort to curate more “high-quality attendance.”


  • June 9, 1965 — Ursula Andress stars with Cushing and Lee in Hammer Films’ She
  • June 9, 1978 — Walt Disney’s seminal science fiction classic *coff*  The Cat From Outer Space premieres.
  • June 9, 1989 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was first seen in theaters.


  • Born June 9, 1925 — Keith Laumer
  • Born June 9, 1930 — Lin Carter
  • Born June 9, 1943 — Joe Haldeman

(13) ON THEIR WAY OUT. If you’re trying to make sense of the British elections, actively avoid Camestros Felapton’s “Exit Poll”. But if you need a laugh, click away.

(14) INCONSISTENCY. J.K Rowling calls out a problem I’ve often observed — critics of misogyny who decide to give themselves a pass whenever they have an opportunity write an insult about a politically conservative woman. If someone values human respect, that should control their choices all the time.

(15) ZOMBIES TO THE RESCUE. In the May 25 Financial Times Charles Clover and Sherry Fei Ju note that China, which has long banned any film with ghosts or the supernatural (such as the Ghostbusters remake or the acclaimed South Korean film Train to Busan) has relented and allowed the latest Resident Evil film and Logan to be shown in China, possibly as a way to stimulate slumping box office sales. (“China unleashes zombie films to boost the box office” , behind a paywall.)

(16) GHOSTING CONS. Kara Dennison says “Let’s Talk About Lobbyconning”.

I was very confused by a comment left on Facebook concerning a convention I work for. A potential attendee asked if the con would be “open” or “closed.” No one really had any idea what this meant, until it was clarified: do you have to buy a badge to enter the convention space at all, or can you chill in the hotel lobby without buying a badge? The practice is known as “lobbyconning,” and I had never heard of it until within the last year or so. Essentially, rather than buying a membership to a convention, the lobbyconner just hangs out in the non-convention spaces of the hotel, seeing friends, showing off their cosplay, using Street Pass, etc. They see it as harmless and a way to save money. Now, quickly up front. I have sped by hotels where a convention is going on to say hi to a friend. Like. If the con is in the area. Usually if I want to see a friend at a nearby convention I’m not attending, we go get lunch or something, or if I go to the hotel we’ll meet for a drink in the bar or I go to their room. But if I’m going to see the friend, we generally leave the convention space. If I’m going to the convention to see the friend, I buy a day pass. Why? Because I am using the convention as a way to pass time with my friend, because it means they can still enjoy all parts of the con without having to abandon me for panels, and because dammit, supporting a con.

(17) A MATCH MADE IN HECK. A newsflash from Cattimothy House — “Jon Del Arroz hires Timothy the Talking Cat as his Publicist”.

Prominent local author, Jon Del Arroz entered into extensive negotiations with Cattimothy House yesterday to massively boost his profile by recruiting the services of Timothy the Talking Cat. Timothy, who is notable for his work with John C Wright, Declan Finn, Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin, is one of the leading editors of modern science fiction and is at the forefront of what he calls “the Pulp Revolution” (Timothy’s Jarvis Cocker cover band).

Timothy is alread taking proactive steps to boost Mr Del Arroz’s profile including new cover design concepts …

Naturally (or perhaps unnaturally), Jon was thrilled to realize “The File 770 Crowd Loves Me, Quite Literally”.

Today, Camestros Felapton upped the game of having a crush on me by making a full on book cover based on For Steam And Country — which is releasing next Thursday. This looks like a pretty time consuming effort, maybe even more so than the File 770 commenter who purchased and distributed convention ribbons for a full weekend homaging me …

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Jon Del Arroz, Peer Sylvester, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ken Richards.]

101 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/9/17 A Simple Scrollable Pixel, Or How I Was Mike Glyered Into Filing

  1. For some reason I’ve been having trouble getting to the Hugo finalists I haven’t read. This morning I read Robert E. Howard’s “Worms of the Earth”, as reprinted in the collection Heroes in the Wind: From Kull to Conan edited by John Clute. Now there’s an old fashioned racist weird action yarn for you. I have unread library copies of The Obelisk Gate and Death’s End sitting near me, and All the Birds in the Sky on my Kindle. Gotta start reading them.

  2. @P J Evans, re. Niven’s Svetz stories: Flight of the Horse was the original collection, with the first five Svetz stories. Rainbow Mars is the more recent collection, which includes all six (the last one wasn’t published when the first collection came out).

    “Ghosting” is, I think, a pretty recent term wherever its used. And I’ve never heard it used regarding conventions–I’ve only heard it applied to someone disappearing from a relationship. (West coast US, for reference.)

  3. Chiming in to say, regarding ghosting, that I first heard the term a few years back in reference to quietly leaving a party (or bar, or other social arena) without saying any goodbyes. I’ve recently heard it used to describe someone disappearing from a relationship, as well (all of this also West Coast US). I’m not a con-goer, so I have no insight into that angle.

    (Not-a-)Hugo-reading: I’m expecting to finish Infomacracy today. Not bad at all. The writing is an improvement over her short stories, generally. The characters feel a little more real, though I do have a hard time telling them apart. Very interesting to read this just after Too Like the Lightning. I think I’ll move on to book two of the Temeraire series next. Just grabbed it off Amazon, and I enjoyed the first enough that I’m excited to get to the second.

  4. Hugo reading report:

    Novels: I have read all of them. (I had read four and a half before the nominations deadline, so that was quite easy.) They have arranged themselves in an order in my head, though with a bit of wobbliness about spots 3 and 4, so no real problem there.

    Novellas: I have read all of them, and they resolutely refuse to order themselves in my head. There are two I definitely don’t want to win (Mieville and McGuire), but I am uncertain about all the rest. I may have a couple of questions about these shortly.

    Shorter fiction: Have read everything except the slate nominees. May read them at some point if I have the time. I feel justified in boycotting Wright: with Hiscock it isn’t a boycott, just a feeling her work won’t appeal to me. In each category there is one work which I think stands out (the most science-fictional in each case), and then I become very uncertain. Of course, one does not have to rank everything; I don’t think this year there is a particular imperative to work one’s way down to NO Award.

    Campbell: I have read Infomocracy, all the short material in the packet, and the first hundred pages or so of An Equation…, to which my response was ‘yeah, OK’. At the moment I plan to put Palmer first and Older second, and then I might well stop; none of the others impresses me especially.

    Series: Fortunately I had read at least one book in each series already; but only in the Aaronovitch had I read everything, so I thought I should expand my knowledge a bit. (Reading everything does not seem to me a reasonable demand in this case; it might be required for a completed series with a very definite arc, but none of the current finalists is that.) So I have read Borders of Infinity, adding it to the two I had read before; and have now started out on The Expanse vol 2, and October Daye vols 3 and 4 (since they are quite short). I also read half of Two Serpents Rise, but found it very heavy going. I have read several volumes of Temeraire in the past, and have always sort of meant to finish it, and never quite done so, which may be evidence of where it stands in my appreciation. At the moment I feel that the Bujold is a clear leader: the rest are all rather a matter of ‘if you like this sort of thing..’, and I do like the Aaronovitch, and am prepared to give Corey and McGuire a chance.

    (Thanks to those who gave advice on McGuire.)

    Related: I have read samples of all of them. I think the Le Guin and the Gaiman, both of which I nominated, are the outstanding candidates, and of those I prefer the Le Guin, which I feel has greater depth.

    Working my way through graphics at the moment. After that there’s only editors, artists, semiprozines, fan works, and I realise that I probably have access to enough to vote in DP Short this year, though I guess not in DP long, and then….

  5. Aw, sic transit Adam West. He never was a great Batman in my eyes (watching the show as a six-year-old, his physique wasn’t all that), but I can’t think of a better Bruce Wayne. In either costume, his voice acting was distinctive, memorable, and endlessly imitable.

  6. Where, geographically, does the term “lobbycon” show up?

    I’m up in the Pacific Northwest, and my eldest calls it “lobbyconning.”

    When there’s stuff Danny wants to see as part of the con, they’ll get a badge. But mostly, D is there to hang with friends and hobnob with other cosplayers, so they’re not that interested in buying a membership.

    For me, “barconning” is hanging out in the bar to socialize, rather than being on panels or “tabling.”

    And “ghosting” is a word I’ve read in reference to vanishing on a friendship, but never before now in reference to hanging out at a con without a badge. For whatever that geographic data is worth.

  7. @Andrew M

    Interesting stuff, thanks.

    I’ve just finished Infomocracy (which my fingers repeatedly try to type as Infomancy) having been putting off reading about elections for far too long. IMO it was solid with elements of interest – the microdemocracy world was interesting but seemed strangely conventional in result (maybe that was her point!) and I couldn’t really see how the vital component of Information had arisen realistically. So, wouldn’t have made my novel ballot had I read it in time, but it’s a good qualification for the Campbell.

    Series – I don’t think that anyone would bet against Bujold right now. As you say, the others are all going to have strong fans and I’ve generally enjoyed them all, but tbh I think GRRM should do a special Alfie award for whoever comes second to Bujold.

    BRW – I thought the Hurley was good with some powerful parts but ultimately it was a rawer version of Le Guin, which is my frontrunner as well right now. I read the Silverberg book with interest but not excitement. I’ve yet to read the Fisher, Gaiman or Gailey, but of those I only see Gaiman as having the potential to knock le Guin into second.

  8. A Meredith Moment:

    Octavia E. Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy is on sale for $1.99 at Amazon as part of their Daily Kindle Deal, as is Lock In by John Scalzi at $2.99 for his book.

  9. At Gallifrey One (long-running LA Doctor Who convention), the gathering of people in the hotel lobby, which starts up one or two nights before the con proper, is colloquially referred to as Lobbycon. I’ve never heard it used in any other context.

  10. Thanks for helping Timothy out with his new client, Mike! 😉

    For Australian filers: SBS has a nice set of SF movies on the streaming on-demand service at the moment,
    THX 1138
    A Scanner Darkly
    2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact
    Altered States
    Forbidden Planet
    Under the Skin

  11. @steve davidson: sometimes the offsiteconners are publishers; there was an episode at the Docklands WFC where all of some house’s authors were taken on a river cruise not long before the mass autographing. (It got worse; the dock was locked when they got back, IIRC requiring Langford to climb a fence to get help.)

    Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag: I heard the term “ghosting” as meaning “getting into as much of the convention as possible without buying a membership” at least 4.5 years ago, when it meant quite a stretch: I saw someone refused alcohol (a con suite was pouring local wines), but nobody would have noticed them if they’d been content to nosh. (From what I heard later, this particular person is notorious for somehow going distances to ghost.) I’ve only recently heard it wrt relationships, but I’m old enough that I don’t hear a lot of the current terms.

    @Lenora Rose: Jo Walton has written of juggling several reads-in-process, on tor.com. I do not understand how either of you can do it; unless I desperately need a break from a novel (in which case I drop it and restart later) I can’t interrupt it with any other fiction or I lose the sense. (Walton, however, said on a panel that she couldn’t pause writing a scene and pick it up later, unlike the author under discussion; each person has tools they’ve accumulated over life.)

  12. @Douglas Berry: Are you an indie author as well as a Baycon panelist? It was my impression that JDA’s complaint about being dropped as a panelist was he felt it was an important marketing tool for selling his books rather than he enjoyed being a panelist and was going to miss the experience.

    I finally finished Too Like The Lightning, and I thought it was a slog, but at least I was forewarned that it was incomplete and had an abrupt ending, to be finished in book 2. I found the constant apologizing about gender usage annoying. I think by the end of the book I understand why it was done, but it certainly didn’t add to my appreciation of the work. Even though I am undoubtedly unfairly judging Seven Surrenders, having not read it, I am hoping it’s not on next year’s ballot.

  13. It was my impression that JDA’s complaint about being dropped as a panelist was he felt it was an important marketing tool for selling his books.

    That’s one of the reasons conventions share it around rather than giving it to the same people in perpetuity.

  14. @Mike Glyer

    I been Norman Mailered, Darth Vadered

    There’s another touch of genius!

    What is the song behind it?

    As others have pointed out, it is based on the Simon & Garfunkel song “A Simple Desultory Philippic” (original lyrics here), which itself seems to be a style parody of Bob Dylan (who is name-checked in the original).

    The bridge doesn’t lend itself to parody as well as the verses, so I stopped there. Too bad, though, as it was fun to come up with the rhymes that further verses would use.

    I been Bradbury’d, C. J. Cherryh’d
    I been Judith Merrilled, Lewis Carolled

    I been Rudy Ruckered, Wilson Tuckered
    I been Chip Delaney’d but I ain’t complaining

    I been Jane Yolened, William F. Nolaned
    I been James Blished, Thomas Disched

    I had assumed this Scroll’s title was based on the S&G song (is that not the case, Ken Richards?), so I was surprised that Mike didn’t know the reference.

  15. Bill: I had assumed this Scroll’s title was based on the S&G song (is that not the case, Ken Richards?), so I was surprised that Mike didn’t know the reference.

    I was surprised, too, because I’m pretty sure I spent a lot of time listening to that album at some point.

  16. A lot of people have forgotten a lot of things from the sixties. Further deponent sayeth not.

  17. 14) I agree that we should avoid insulting sex workers by comparing them to Theresa May. If we want an insulting descriptive term for her, why not “Tory”?

  18. @Bill/Mike
    Yes, the S&G song was indeed my reference. It is the sort of thing that is aged yet somehow ageless.One could have versions by the decade or year. I do like yours, and have filed it!
    I’m sure that, having listened to PSR&T at some time in the dim-darks, OGH had filed the memory, though not the specifics…

  19. Hugo reading and voting:

    I’ve got a preliminary ranking for the short stories, novellas, series (difficult to decide how to rank October Daye and Peter Grant since they’re the most similar), the Campbell as well as most of the fan categories and best dramatic presentation long. I didn’t get around to the novelettes and best related work yet. In best novel, I have spots four to six filled, but I have three very different novels duking it out for number 1. Still, after the trashfire of the recent years, that’s a good problem to have.

    I’m also going through the ballot with my Mom, since she has voting rights this year. The language is a problem for her on occasion, so we discuss the stories together. In short story, she disliked the John C. Wright story (a.k.a. the one with the robot) a whole lot without even knowing who Wright is. She also didn’t much care for Alyssa Wong’s story and is undecided on how to rank the other four. Novella is a bit of a problem, because the two Lovecraft retellings require quite a bit of explanation, if you’re not that familiar with Lovecraft. In novel, it turned out that she does not particularly care for Ninefox Gambit. Personally, I suspect that she’ll put either A Closed and Common Orbit or All the Birds in the Sky in the top spot, since those two are closest to what she likes. In dramatic presentation, she really loved Ghostbusters and found Arrival too depressing.

  20. Andrew M: and October Daye vols 3 and 4 (since they are quite short)

    Are you sure you’re not confusing the 14 short fiction stories in the packet with the 10 novels which have to be downloaded from NetGalley? Novels 2 and 3 are 390 and 368 pages, respectively.

  21. Sorry, I haven’t seen an edit window for a couple of months now, so I’ll correct my previous post in this one:
    October Day Novels 3 and 4 are 368 and 400 pages, respectively.

  22. “Ghosting” has been used in reference to road race running (5Ks to marathons or even longer lengths) for at least 3 decades, if not longer. Ghosting a race involves not paying for a registration, but running the racecourse anyway, and ghosters will often help themselves to the before-during-and-after race food, beverage, swag, and entertainment as well.

    What’s more, while course monitors will try to catch ghosters and prevent them from crossing the finish line, ghosters who do cross the line end up screwing up the recorded finish times for the people who come after them, and cause huge headaches and additional effort in trying to straighten that out.

    This is incredibly unfair to the race organizers and to the paid participants; like fan conventions, a road race requires a huge amount of money, effort, and volunteers to be well-run. It’s very much akin to theft.

  23. Never heard “ghosting” as the term in midwest, mountain, or pacific. Ghosting is when your pal just goes away. Lobbycon and Barcon are long-time standard terms. I suspect Barcon is a decades-long term.

    @steve davidson: Yeah, keeping people in the hotel benefits the con. If your friends can take time out for a meal in the coffee shop or sitting around in the lobby for an hour, that’s much better than taking them off-site to miss programming. And meals and bar drinks help the con with the hotel.

    Death’s End is going at the bottom of my ballot as well. Ye gods, how tedious with the infodumps and terrible characters.

    I tried “Too Like the Lightning”. If “Death’s End” is being hit with a dull physics lecture, TLTL is being hit with a dull and confusing philosophy lecture. I didn’t particularly care for ATBITS (serious wasted potential; loved it till about halfway), but at least stuff happened and people acted recognizably like humans. Nothing topped “Obelisk Gate” for me, and “Ninefox Gambit” and “Closed and Common” are dueling it out for second and third — suspect I’ll be thinking about that right up till the deadline. Same with BDP Long, and the 2nd-5th places in many other categories. I’ve found my top and bottom slots pretty well set, it’s the middles that are tough.

    I’ve just started the Related Work. Geek Feminist Revolution could have been edited better, there are a lot of redundancies. The whole may be smaller than the parts. About 10% through the Silverberg interview, then onto the others.

    @HRJ: If “someone who reads File 770 sometimes” is a Filer, then so are the Puppies! We know they lurk here and are very, VERY interested in what we say, to the point of completely over-exaggerating our numbers and importance (And then lying about us, but that’s something else). Doug is NOT a Filer by any reasonable or unreasonable standards. Jonny D spends way more time here than Doug does; so did other Puppies until their incivility got them banned. Heck, JCW’s even on the masthead over there!

    @Douglas Berry: an arrogant ass with no redeeming characteristics and a tendency to play the victim that disgusts me.
    is basically what everyone thought of JDA.

    Mind you, 99% of them hadn’t heard of him before he started his pity party and lying about the con online. Puppies seem to have problems distinguishing between “famous” and “infamous”. If JDA had kept his big mouth shut and paid for a membership (surely such a Prominent Author could have written it off on his taxes?) or lobbyconned, he’d probably have made some friends and some sales instead of poisoning the well of potential customers and all concoms.

    Sad about Adam West; he was my first Batman.

  24. Douglas Berry: an arrogant ass with no redeeming characteristics and a tendency to play the victim that disgusts me.

    lurkertype: … is basically what everyone thought of JDA.

    He’s been harassing Prince Jvstin (along with Irene Gallo and Cat Rambo) mercilessly on Twitter for the last couple of weeks, and Paul has just been ignoring him, but has been really sick the last few days while trying to fulfill his DUFF duties at Continuum. Paul finally — literally — begged JDA repeatedly to leave him alone, and even said he’d apologize for whatever JDA thought he’d done, if JDA would PLEASE just leave him alone from now on.

    At which point JDA thanked him for the “apology” and tried to get him to agree to meet for a drink at San Jose next year. 🙄

    JDA needs to get some serious psychological counseling so that he can understand how incredibly inappropriate his harassment is.

  25. Another familiar tune

    Robert Heinlein was keen
    About the Earth’s hills being Green
    But he told us how rockets stand
    Ackerman was there with a costume to wear
    The Futurians were invisible men

    Then something went wrong
    For the Doctor and River Song
    They got caught in a temporal jam
    With an obscure plan Off the Islets of Langerhans
    No one knows how the message ran

    Science Fiction, Double Issue
    Stanley Schmidt edited this feature
    See Formics fighting Bean and Ender
    With help from Fry, Leela and Bender

  26. Closing in on the latest Pixel Scroll – so close, I can taste it! (No, wait, that’s the candy I’m eating.)

    (1) OPENING ROUND. But, but, but doesn’t Lawrence know he’s supposed to snub self-pub’d folks?! 😛 BTW Fantasy-Faction uses horrible colors; I need to adjust my style sheet to make it readable (hint to FF: not white on black).


    (11) TODAY IN HISTORY. OMG yes, “The Cat From Outer Space”!!! ::Googles:: Wait, both “M.A.S.H.” colonels were in this movie?! I’d somehow forgotten that.

    @Xtifr: Re. Niven’s time travel stories, I’d forgotten those, but I read them years ago in The Flight of the Horse (still on my shelf!) and remember them as fun stories. I’m not sure I realized at the time (ahem) that the point was to poke fun at time travel as SF. Is the later addition*, “Rainbow Mars,” any good (if you’ve read it)?

    * This seems to be a popular Niven thing – collections of old stories with one new one and/or a framing sequence. (I know this is not just a Niven thing, but I feel like I’ve seen this a lot from him with various Known Space collections, for example.) This works out better some times than others, though.

    @Heather Rose Jones: “(even if it somewhat weakens the position that the ribbons were totally unrelated to File770)” – But they’re unrelated, so IMHO it doesn’t weaken that at all. I’ll go beyond what @lurkertype said and say: if a regular commenter here does a thing, it’s not necessarily related to File 770 either. Well, except in canine minds, of course, since anything anyone who’s heard of File 770 says or does anywhere is suddenly “people at File 770 said/did X!” 😉

    @Chip Hitchcock: I mostly can’t really read several things at once, but I can have an audiobook going at the same time I have a print-or-e-book going (as I do right now). I nearly only listen to audiobooks to/from work or on long solo drives; maybe having discrete times/places for audio helps me shift mental gears – not sure.

  27. @Andrew: BRAVO! I double-LOL’d at your double extra secret probation meta riffing on that song.

  28. So I’m having a wonderful time but I’d rather be
    Pixeling in the dark [tick]
    PIxeling in the dark [tick]
    Pixeling in the dark…

  29. JJ: Are you sure you’re not confusing the 14 short fiction stories in the packet with the 10 novels which have to be downloaded from NetGalley? Novels 2 and 3 are 390 and 368 pages, respectively.

    No, I’m referring to the novels. 390 or 368 pages, for a modern SFF novel, is quite short. (Caliban’s War, by contrast, is 595 pages.)

  30. I remember hearing about Barcon after MACII. If I’d actually heard about it at the con, I might have gone by a few times. We were staying in a different hotel, and I didn’t think I had any reason to go into that one. But as I understand it, that’s where all the Cool Kids hung out instead of the consuite.

    @ JJ, re ghosting: Oh, we had one of those at the Houston Art Car Parade once! I don’t know what they called themselves, but I called them the Libertarian Loony Van — they were all about protesting smoking bans. They came to all the festivities surrounding the parade, but the parade itself requires an entrance fee, so they didn’t participate because they “didn’t want to spend money in a city that bans smoking”. I only know this because I overheard one of them ranting. But I think someone must have Had Official Words with them, because they weren’t back the following year. And yeah, it’s the same thing you said — those entrance fees are what pay for the venue rentals and the food they were eating, so it was a form of theft.

    Also, can’t you block someone on Twitter?

  31. Kip W:

    So I’m having a wonderful time but I’d rather be
    Pixeling in the dark [tick]
    PIxeling in the dark [tick]
    Pixeling in the dark…

    a puppy came up to me and said
    ‘i’d like to change your mind
    by hitting it with a slate’ he said
    ‘though i am not unkind’

  32. Also, can’t you block someone on Twitter?

    You can, but Paul is far too nice for his own good. He was the one guy who repeatedly tried to engage the Pups during the whole Sad/Rabid fiasco, he is always willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, and always thinks that people are better than they actually are. From what I can tell, he never blocks people on social media.

    Me, I would have blocked JDA on Twitter long ago. In fact, I blocked the whiny twerp almost as soon as he came to my notice. If I were in Paul’s shoes, I would have also reported JDA for harassment.

    Here’s the thing: Anyone who harasses Paul (or even gets into a fight with Paul) is a human garbage fire, because everything in that dispute is coming from them and not Paul.

  33. JJ on June 11, 2017 at 2:34 am said:

    He’s been harassing Prince Jvstin (along with Irene Gallo and Cat Rambo) mercilessly on Twitter for the last couple of weeks, and Paul has just been ignoring him, but has been really sick the last few days while trying to fulfill his DUFF duties at Continuum. Paul finally — literally — begged JDA repeatedly to leave him alone, and even said he’d apologize for whatever JDA thought he’d done, if JDA would PLEASE just leave him alone from now on.

    At which point JDA thanked him for the “apology” and tried to get him to agree to meet for a drink at San Jose next year. ?

    JDA needs to get some serious psychological counseling so that he can understand how incredibly inappropriate his harassment is.

    The guys a piece of work. All this behaviour is just part of his self-promotion – signalling to the Rabid Puppies that they should buy his books. He doesn’t particularly care whether he acts dishonestly or that real people are on the other end of his harassment.

    It’s ironic that the two recent targets of his harassment efforts have done more to promote indie writers than he ever will.

  34. Speaking of JDA in his search for apologies, he said this on twitter:
    Slim Shady Jon D? @jondelarroz Jun 9
    Biggest win now would be “I apologize for calling you names on a hate website and tarnishing your reputation.” @Catrambo. Not nice!

    Mike, your blog has been upgraded from Hugo Award winning fanzine to hate website!

  35. I saw some of JdA’s harassment of Paul, Cat Rambo, Kameron Hurley and others. t seems that JdA is doing his utmost to get himself blocked by everybody in the SFF world. Which is really a marvelous way to promote yourself and your books, right up there with the Wilkins coffee ads in the other scroll.

  36. Rose Embolism on June 10, 2017 at 5:22 pm said:

    14) I agree that we should avoid insulting sex workers by comparing them to Theresa May. If we want an insulting descriptive term for her, why not “Tory”?

    Heh, in addition to the point Rowling intended, I agree with this as well. Though after this election, I think we can add “idiot” to the terms which may reasonably be applied to Ms. May. 🙂

    As for JdA, I think he may have invented a whole new style of sealioning–combining it with forum shopping, so that if any particular forum recognizes what you’re doing, you can go lie about them on other fora while continuing to sealion. The sad part is that he doesn’t seem to realize that the Internet is accessible to other people, so they can go check and see whether he’s telling the truth or not. But then, since his primary goal seems to be “virtue signaling” to the puppy-inclined, who aren’t big on fact checking, he may be on safe ground.

    @Kendall: Is Rainbow Mars the book worth it just for the one extra story, if you already have the earlier collection? Well…he was friends with my mom, and is at least a nodding acquaintance of mine as a result, so I should just say yes, but I’ll try to be honest and present the facts. It’s a novella, so you’re getting half-way decent value for the money. And it was almost a collaboration with Pratchett–the basic idea came from a discussion between Pratchett and Niven at a con, but the actual planned collaboration never materialized, so Niven ended up writing it on his own. So, if you liked the original stories, then…maybe? Anyway, those are the factors I would recommend you weigh.

  37. Kendall

    BRAVO! I double-LOL’d at your double extra secret probation meta riffing on that song.

    Glad you liked it.

  38. @ lurkertype & Kendall

    I was primarily speaking to undo any implication from my original comment that my awareness of someone’s participation here was relevant to their status vis-a-vis the community. My perceptions have no weight one way or the other regarding whether someone “is a Filer” or not, but since I’d made a public statement of perception in one direction, I thought it only fair to make a public statement in the other direction.

  39. re: Jon Del Arroz

    Kee-ripes. What an asshole. [preemptively blocks on Twitter] I won’t buy or read any of his books now, even if he was the last writer on Earth.

  40. @JJ: I’m curious about ghosters who do cross the line end up screwing up the recorded finish times for the people who come after them, and cause huge headaches and additional effort in trying to straighten that out. I agree that it’s bad behavior (especially when they consume food, swag, etc.) but even without RFID tags (used here for some time because the Marathon start is elongated — people with slower qualifying times can take 10-20 minutes to get to the starting line) I would expect finish times to be based on individual bib numbers — if someone has no bib, ignore them and record the next finisher’s time?. (As a Bostonian, I note that one of our most famous race “crashers” was in fact properly registered.)

  41. @GSLamb:

    (almost Candide-ian)

    I first read that as “almost Candle-ian”, which led to “Candle-Ian”, which led to “Candlejack”, which led to–

  42. Chip Hitchcock: I’m curious about “ghosters who do cross the line end up screwing up the recorded finish times for the people who come after them, and cause huge headaches and additional effort in trying to straighten that out.”

    Runners in expensive races of large size mostly have RFID chips on ankle straps these days. When they cross the start line, the system registers that as their start time. When they pass certain checkpoints, the time is registered. When they cross the finish line, it gets registered as their finish time. People sitting in a backroom get all these records and have to reconcile them to ensure that no checkpoints were missed, etc — but there is software which helps with that. Ghosters won’t have RFID chips, so they won’t trigger timing ticks. So it’s fairly easy to reconcile.

    But a lot of races can’t afford that sort of system. So there is a computer sensor at the finish line which “ticks” and marks the time every time someone crosses the line. Someone else is taking the tear-tags with the runners’ bib numbers and slotting them onto a hoop in order of finish. After the race, these have to be matched up manually. Ghosters who cross the finish line cause extra ticks of the timer, but have no tear-tag, so it puts the synching of the times and the runners’ bib numbers off.

  43. @Soon Lee: Thanks! I may polish and extend at some point.


    Has anyone suggested “Scroll on the Pixels… A Glyer in the Sky”

  44. @JJ: as we say in MA, dawn breaks over Marblehead. I hadn’t realized the system had that separation, but it makes sense; I can see that what I thought would happen requires too much real-time work — or at least that the ghosters show up for tag-tearing (right…) so a dummy tag can be added to queue.

Comments are closed.