Pixel Scroll 7/12/18 Pixels’ Red Glare, The Scrolls Bursting In Air

(1) SFPA HANDLES CODE OF CONDUCT ISSUE. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) notified members via Facebook that member Bruce Boston has been suspended for a Code of Conduct violation. SFPA President Bryan Thao Worra wrote:

Following a 7-day review and conferral with the SFPA Executive Committee, SFPA member Bruce Boston has been suspended for six months from commenting on the Facebook Group and Yahoo Groups listserv for violation of the SFPA Code of Conduct, regarding egregious remarks beginning on July 4th, 2018, and a failure to retract those remarks in a timely manner. He remains a member of the SFPA and retains all honors and titles. This suspension remains in effect until December 31st, 2018.

In light of this incident, we wish to share the Code of Conduct, which the Executive Committee created and implemented in July 2017. It was shared on the fora, to which it applies, but was not transmitted to every member and new members may be unaware.

Please click on the blue button below to read the document about our expectations of conduct on our forums, Facebook and Yahoo Groups. The rules as well as the consequences for not following them are detailed therein.

To read the SFPA Code of Conduct, click here. [Dropbox file]

SFPA Grand Master Bruce Boston, in comments on a SFPA Facebook group post about the Rhysling winners, publicly insinuated that 2018 short poem Rhysling winner, Mary Soon Lee, must have been the beneficiary of vote stuffing because in his view her poem was unworthy of the honor. As of this writing, Boston’s and others’ comments are still accessible by nonmembers of the group. Here is a screenshot from near the beginning of the exchange.

(2) W76 BUSINESS MEETING SCHEDULE. On his blog, Kevin Standlee previewed his Worldcon article – “Business Meeting & Site Selection Schedules at Worldcon 76”.

For those of you trying to arrange your schedule for Worldcon 76 around the WSFS Business Meeting and Site Selection (as I am rather forced to do by the nature of running the WSFS division), here’s the current state of our plans. For those of you who are veterans of the process, this may all sound boring, repetitive, and obvious, but based on the questions I’ve fielded, there are members — including people interested in WSFS Business — who do not know this stuff.

Linda Deneroff also has posted the start of the agenda for Worldcon 76. You can find it on the Business Meeting page. Click on the “Agenda” link.

(3) ROBOT HOTEL. Grant Imahara (perhaps best know for his former gig on Mythbusters) visits a robot hotel in this Popular Science article (“Mouser Electronics: Generation Robot”). No, not a hotel for robots, but one staffed by robots. It sounds like Henn Na Hotel is trying to avoid — at least in part — the Uncanny Valley. Quoting the article:

Imagine checking into a hotel and handing your luggage to a bellhop, but not seeing another human besides other guests. That’s the reality at Henn Na Hotel in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture, where robots have taken over. Robot enthusiast Grant Imaharavisits the hotel to see how the hospitality business can succeed without humans.

During his stay, Grant is surprised by the non-humanoid robot he meets at the check-in desk. Maybe he should have known—Henn Na Hotel loosely translates to “strange hotel” in Japanese. Naomi Tomita, the hotel’s Chief Technology Officer, says that using non-humanoid robots can make the interactions less awkward. The hotel encourages guests to chat with the robots while they work. A robot checks Grant’s coat, and a robotic trolley takes his luggage to his hotel room.


(4) MORE FROM BODLEIAN. Nicholas Whyte tweeted an image from the Bodleian’s Tolkien exhibition.

(5) MOVIE POSTER AUCTION. Heritage Auctions told subscribers that sf movie posters will be featured in its forthcoming Movie Posters Auction July 28-29 in Dallas. A Star Trek poster by illustrator Bob Peak is expected to compete for top-lot honors.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home by Bob Peak (Paramount, 1987) (est. $40,000-80,000) is the largest and arguably the most detailed of all Star Trek posters designed by Peak. A renowned commercial artist whose greatest acclaim comes from his developments in the design of modern movie posters, Peak’s artwork has appeared on the cover of numerous magazines, including Time, TV Guide and Sports Illustrated . The brilliant color used for the evening sky of San Francisco offers stark contrast to the Klingon Bird of Prey flying just over the Golden Gate Bridge. The 40-by-57-1/2-inch poster is done on illustration board mounted on foamcore, is signed by Peak and comes with a gold frame.

“Bob Peak was a popular and important movie poster artist who produced a number of posters for various Star Trek films, and this is as dramatic as any of them,” Heritage Auctions Vintage Posters Director Grey Smith said. “His subtle portraits of several of the film’s primary characters offer an extraordinary balance to the bold images of the sunset and the Bird of Prey. This poster is a large and striking image that would be a significant addition to any collection.”

Science fiction fans also will be drawn to The War of the Worlds (Paramount, 1953). Half Sheet (22″ X 28″) Style B (est. $20,000-40,000), a rare Style B half sheet that is one of the most iconic and elusive images in the genre. Featuring Martian warship imagery not included in many other posters for the original release of George Pal’s powerful adaptation of H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel.

…Widely considered to be among the greatest film posters of all time, a Things to Come (United Artists, 1936) one sheet (est. $15,000-30,000) was inspired by another science fiction film based on another H.G. Wells-inspired screenplay. The film is based on his 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come and his 1931 non-fiction The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind. Among the always-rare posters for this early sci-fi epic, this one stands out in part because of the 1930s deco-designed version of the future.

(6) RECORD SETTING. Seattle’s Sub Pop Records is taking preorders on Bandcamp for The Rick And Morty Soundtrack, a 26-track collection of music from the animated series on Cartoon Network. Two vinyl LP packages (“Deluxe” and “Loser”) and a digital version are available.

This release is the first official collection of music from Rick and Morty. All formats feature 26 songs, 24 of which are from the first 3 seasons of the show, and 18 of which were composed by Ryan Elder specifically for the show. The album also includes songs by Mazzy Star, Chaos Chaos, Blonde Redhead, and Belly, all of which have been featured in the show, as well as two new tunes from Chad VanGaalen and Clipping inspired by the show. The box set includes a special bonus track on a 7”.

(7) JOHNSON OBIT. Somebody has to think these things up, you know — “Alan Johnson, 81, ‘Springtime for Hitler’ Choreographer, Dies”. Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times:

Alan Johnson, a choreographer renowned for his campy movie collaborations with Mel Brooks on the “Springtime for Hitler” goose-steppers-and-showgirls extravaganza in “The Producers” and the “Puttin’ On the Ritz” tap dance in “Young Frankenstein,” died on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Mr. Johnson had danced in the original Broadway production of “West Side Story” and begun his career as a choreographer when he started working with Mr. Brooks, whom he had already met through a friend, the lyricist Martin Charnin. Mr. Brooks, best known at the time for his work with Carl Reiner on the “2000 Year Old Man” records, was developing “The Producers,” about a producer who schemes with his accountant to create a certain Broadway flop and steal the money invested in it by unsuspecting old women.

…In his role as producer, Mr. Brooks gave Mr. Johnson the chance to direct two films. The first, “To Be or Not to Be” (1983), was a remake of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 comedy with Mr. Brooks and Ms. Bancroft in the roles played in the original by Jack Benny and Carole Lombard. Three years later Mr. Johnson directed “Solarbabies” (1986), a science-fiction story about roller-skating orphans fighting for a solution to a worldwide water shortage. It was widely panned.



  • That’s some potion in Bizarro.
  • Frazz asks how a reader can like wildly disparate writers.
  • Bliss contains a space navigation tip.

(10) MOVIE AD ADAPTATIONS. These cat pictures may not display properly here, however, they are certainly worth clicking through to see.

(11) ANCIENT MONUMENT. Science journal Nature covers the “Mystery of buried children at German ‘Stonehenge’”.

Scientists scrutinize monumental complex of ditches and posts built more than 4,000 years ago.

As prehistoric Britons gathered at Stonehenge, people living in what is now Germany were erecting their own grand monument: a complex of nested circular ditches, pits and rows of posts, interspersed with the remains of women and children, who might have been human sacrifices…

(12) GRIST FOR THE MILL. Sean T. Collins argues “The only good online fandom left is Dune” at The Outline.

Beyond that, Dune is not a corporate cash cow, and being a fan doesn’t carry with it that icky feeling you’re doing an unpaid PR internship for Disney or AT&T Time Warner. You’re not being cultivated when you make a Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim Appreciation Thread, the way you are when you do something similar for, like, Harley Quinn or Groot. Nor are you helping billionaires whitewash their crimes if you point out politically positive aspects of the series, like its environmentalism or its bone-deep skepticism of leader cults. People who quite reasonably respond favorably to long-overdue representation of non-white-dudes in movies like The Last Jedi and Black Panther have to grapple with stuff like Marvel teaming up with defense contractors Northrop Grumman, or its CEO Ike Perlmutter being a noted Trump supporter.

(13) WHERE ROCKS WERE BANGED TOGETHER. BBC summarizes an item from Nature: “Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa”.

Scientists say they’ve found the earliest known evidence of a human presence outside Africa.

Stone tools discovered in China suggest primitive humans – or a close relative – were in the region as early as 2.12 million years ago.

They are about 270,000 years older than the previous earliest evidence, which consists of bones and tools from Dmanisi in Georgia.

The research, by a Chinese-British team, appears in the journal Nature.

The stone artefacts were discovered at Shangchen on a plateau in northern China.

(14) HOO-RAY. A Gizmodo writer is overwhelmed: “The World’s First Full-Color, 3D X-rays Are Freaking Me Out”.

A New Zealand company called Mars Bioimaging has developed a new type of medical imaging scanner that works in a similar fashion, but borrows technology developed for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to produce far more detailed results. The Medipix3 chip works similar to the sensor in your digital camera, but it detects and counts the particles hitting each pixel when a shutter opens….

It will be years before the new Spectral CT scanner receives all the clearances and approvals it needs so that it can be used in hospitals and clinics. But it’s well past the research stages at this point, and clinical trials are expected to get underway in New Zealand in the coming months.

So (posits Daniel Dern), it’s no longer too dark inside a dog to read?

(15) ACTION FIGURE REVIVAL. SYFY Wire makes note of several new lines of action figures coming soon from a company known for them in the 70’s and 80’s (“Mego toys is staging a comeback with new line of action figures from DC, Star Trek, and more”). The figures will be exclusive to Target and are being debuted at San Diego Comic-Con. They’ll appear in stores a little later this year.

Quoting the SYFY Wire article:

One of the earliest pioneers in the world of action figures is prepping a nostalgic resurrection, promoting a new line of toys at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con […]

Mego Corp., the company that innovated some of the earliest cross-merchandising action figure toys for cartoon, comics, and pop culture fans throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, is launching a new line of figures based on characters from DC, Star Trek, Firefly, Charmed, The Wizard of Oz, and more […]

Quoting the Target website:

Ready for a blast from the past? Toymaker Mego and industry legend Marty Abrams, co-founder and CEO of Mego Corporation, are recreating the company’s famous action figure line, and Target will be the exclusive retailer. The new line of collectibles hits stores and Target.com July 29, but fans will get a first look next week during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con—one of the largest gatherings of comic, movie and science fiction fans in the world….

Target’s exclusive line of Mego collectibles will be available in stores and online July 29 at prices ranging from $14.99 to $29.99. Check out our full assortment of collectibles at Target stores nationwide and Target.com.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Mark Hepworth, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, Rob Thornton, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

73 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/12/18 Pixels’ Red Glare, The Scrolls Bursting In Air

  1. @k_choll, I wonder if you would consider using a different adjective than “lame” to negatively describe something? It hurts those of us with disabilities to be used as a negative. (Okay, I’m hearing-impaired, not lame, but “deaf” gets used that way, too, and PWD solidarity, right?) It’s kind of the same reason LGBTQ folks ask we stop saying “that’s so gay” to mean hopeless or useless or whatever it is being used to mean. Gay people aren’t hopeless or useless by virtue of being gay, and neither are lame folks by virtue of being lame, or [long list of similar equivalents redacted].

    I know it’s hard when we’re used to using certain words!

  2. There’s a difference between using “lame” to mean I thought something was slight, feeble, or dull–as the actual definition of the word states–and using the word “gay” to mean something is dumb/useless/etc as the word gay is not defined that way outside of slang.

    I’m sorry if that word offends you, but using a word as it is defined (when there are multiple definitions) without using it in a context to slight, is not something bad.

  3. Lame means not able to walk easily. Its literal meaning is not slight, feeble, or dull. That is a metaphorical use, do you see? Some lame people are feeble, to be sure, and some are dull, or slight, but most are not, and they really don’t want to be seen that way if they’re not.

    We use a lot of words metaphorically without even thinking about it! I’m just asking for thought before using, here.

  4. It isn’t metaphorical. Look up the word in a dictionary and you’ll see there are two definitions. One is as you say. The other is what I meant. One word can have multiple meanings. I get that maybe the second definition could be metaphorical, but it is a correct usage.

    It’s like the word ‘fat’. I could be offended if someone calls something fat, like “This book is really fat.” Meaning thick or large. That is also a metaphorical usage, but a correct definition of the term. Just because the term can be used offensively doesn’t mean the usage of it was incorrect.

  5. @k_choll

    Out of curiosity, where exactly do you think that usage comes from if not as a reference to disability? I’m fairly sure it doesn’t come from the shiny cloth.

    I do not currently object to that usage of lame – although some people do, and they’re not wrong* – but it’s perfectly clear to me that the colloquial lame=meh usage has its origins in lame=disabled; it is certainly metaphorical. The meaning is still too close (“feeble”) to claim otherwise.

    *I’m a big fan of reclaiming language, but using a word for disability to mean that something is bad is not reclaiming. I’m just not currently in a place where I can spare the emotional energy to get upset about it.

  6. @k_choll

    You know, there are several synonyms for “lame.” (Although a few of those are iffy as well.) If someone asks you to refrain from using a particular word, because they state it hurts them, wouldn’t the considerate thing to do be, in fact, to refrain from using that particular word? It’s not like getting out your thesaurus, or Googling, takes a lot of effort on your part.

  7. @k_choll–When you are relying on the dictionary to argue that a word you used is not offensive, you’re on weak ground, as dictionary definitions don’t determine how people feel about words.

    You’re on especially weak ground if you’re arguing from the #2 definition, rather than the primary one.

  8. Especially as dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. They strive to show how language is used, rather than how it ought to be used. That part is up to us.

    You don’t have to do this, k_choll. I am asking, because it matters to me and others I have heard discussing it. You may choose to disregard the request if you wish.

    I have no problems with describing a book as fat. It’s not a negative description. If you said someone had a fat head I would see that as metaphorical, though, and negative as well. I do get annoyed when people make fat jokes/insults about public figures they dislike, or gender-linked insults, either. It’s parallel to how racists made racist jokes about Obama. All of those cause collateral damage by implying contempt for everyone who is fat, or female (usually but not always the target gender), or black.

  9. (12) When the writer points out that the desert culture vs Emperor thing may have influenced Lucas, but Dune left not imprint otherwise, I think he is missing the obvious parallel between the Fremen and Jordan’s Aiel.

    I mean, desert culture with a strict code of honour taking in a foreigner who turns out to be the Chosen One? How obvious can you get?

  10. @Stephen Theaker: the BFAs had a problem-caused shift? Tell more; I notice the results but haven’t been following the mechanics.

  11. Without having a dog in this particular hunt, I’d note that “lame” in the questioned sense has been used this way since Chaucer (“Troilus & Criseyde “Disblameth my yf ony word be lame.” 1374 or so). This usage is well-established, so much so that I’d say it was also literal rather than metaphorical.

    And while it would be kind of k_choll to avoid using a word in a standard and well-accepted way to avoid causing discomfort, it would also be kind of Lenore and others to recognize that when the word is used in this way, it is not done so with an intention to disparage anyone to whom the “other” meaning of lame applies. Calling out k_choll this way seems just as likely to cause him discomfort (I know that if I were the one called out, it would probably make me feel attacked).

    As an example of recognizing that many words have multiple meanings, and that using a word with one meaning doesn’t require that it carry the “baggage” of other meanings, Lenore said “by virtue of being gay.” I’m sure that she didn’t mean that being gay is virtuous (“a particular form of moral excellence, esp. in religious contexts”).

  12. @Chip Hitchcock: The BFAs had a reputation for being a bit insular, but the 2011 winners included a novella and a non-fiction book published by the society’s chair, a novel and a short story by the chair’s girlfriend, and the chair’s own small press. It also appeared that the chair had quietly taken over the running of the awards at some point in the year, and had organised the awkward awards ceremony himself rather than leaving it to the convention organisers. (There are clips on YouTube if you like to squirm.) Lots of people were unhappy, Stephen Jones posted a blog setting out various suspicions, Neil Gaiman linked to it, and it all ended up in the tabloid press. The newspapers talked about “vote rigging”, although it wasn’t clear where they had got that from: the results seemed to be what you might expect from a relatively large voting bloc in a small voting pool. Later in the year an EGM replaced the member vote on the shortlist with a jury decision. So when I saw Bruce Boston saying the WFAs had changed following a scandal, and other people said that he was wrong about that, I thought he might be getting mixed up with what happened with the BFAs.

  13. @Bill

    Well…one must remember that intent is not magic, and if someone steps on my foot it still hurts, no matter that the person didn’t “intend” to.

    Also, when you’re called out in a situation like this, I think it’s also wise to remember that it’s not about you. It’s about the person who is hurt by what you’re saying. I’ve learned that it’s necessary for me to take a deep breath and a metaphorical step back, and realize that this person is not “attacking” me (and in this case especially, Lenora was about as civil and gentle as it’s possible to be), but stating how my words made them feel. That isn’t an “attack.”

    Again, as I said, it comes down to consideration for the other person. It doesn’t hurt you to cease using a particular word if it makes someone else uncomfortable, especially when there are quite a few other words to use.

  14. I do try to be gentle! Also, we’re fans. We believe in the lucky 10,000. It may be dismaying to have one’s usage (or behavior) questioned, but it also means learning something new and having something new to mull over. And that can be cool, once we get over the shock. And it is always, always up to the recipient of the questioning whether they take that on board or not.

  15. @Mike Glyer: Interesting to read that now. You were right to be sceptical of some of his claims. For example, he complained about the recommendations process closing on 14 February 2011, as if that meant members had had no time to contribute, but it had been open ever since 24 September 2010, and had been well-publicised by BFS standards. And it was daft to suggest it had been manipulated that year to benefit anybody, when the previous year’s recommendations period had similarly run from 21 September 2009 to 14 February 2010.

    I think he took the blog post down in the end.

  16. Without having a dog in this particular hunt, I’d note that “lame” in the questioned sense has been used this way since Chaucer (“Troilus & Criseyde “Disblameth my yf ony word be lame.” 1374 or so). This usage is well-established, so much so that I’d say it was also literal rather than metaphorical.

    And Chaucer used it the same way — to say something was weak or unconvincing, like a person who cannot stand unaided or walk sturdily.

    It’s a very old adjectival usage that metaphorically uses disability as an insult, but that doesn’t mean it’s not using disability as an insult.

  17. My current short story ranking looks like this:

    Fandom for Robots
    Sun, Moon, Dust
    Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand
    Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience
    The Martian Obelisk
    No Award
    Carnival Nine

    I liked Fandom for Robots and Sun, Moon, Dust an awful lot, and those might switch places back and forth a bit because there’s not much to separate them. Concepts were good and so was the execution. Perfectly happy with these, no complaints.

    Clearly Lettered I probably liked more than I otherwise would because I read it after finding out Carnival Nine had made the ballot and I was in a bit of a snit. A story which is essentially a disabled person’s revenge fantasy felt really good right about then. If I feel especially bitter and angry the day voting ends it might even shift up the rankings a bit. 🙂

    I liked the concept of Authentic Indian Experience, but the writing ended up feeling a little awkward. I’m looking forward to what the author does in future but I don’t think her execution is quite there yet.

    The Martian Obelisk left me distinctly underwhelmed (I realise I’m in a minority on that one). I felt it was thinly veiled message fiction (if a message I appreciated) with barely a scrap of plot and paper-thin characters. The quality of the prose and the heartstring-tugging didn’t really save it. It’s mainly above No Award because so many have raved about it that I’m convinced I’m missing something.

    I hated Carnival Nine, for reasons which I talked about in multiple comments in this thread.

  18. @Meredith: Our first two rankings for short story (until/unless you change yours) are the same! This means nothing, but I’ll say yay anyway. 😉 Yay!

    The rest of my list is very different from (or as y’all say, “different to”) yours. I’m not using No Award, though I am leaving your third choice off my ballot. Vive la difference!

  19. @Bonnie: “Well…one must remember that intent is not magic, and if someone steps on my foot it still hurts, no matter that the person didn’t “intend” to.”

    That feels familiar somehow.

  20. @Meredith

    I think I’m also bouncing between Fandom for Robots and Sun, Moon, Dust, mainly because I feel like celebrating niceness right now.

    Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience gives me trouble, because it’s basically all about the twist, but it’s a very very well-played twist.

  21. @Mark

    Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience gives me trouble, because it’s basically all about the twist, but it’s a very very well-played twist.

    Yes, I had a big “oh wow, that’s an authentic Indian experience”-moment when I realized what was going on. I especially like that it’s never spelled out, it’s a gradual realization and then bang it hits.

    (Although I have to wonder how many read the story and just go “huh, what’s this really about?”)

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