Pixel Scroll 7/23/18 A Double Negative Pixel

(1) WHERE THE IDEA CAME FROM. Nebula winner Rebecca Roanhorse discusses her work with Juliette Wade at Dive Into Worldbuilding: “Rebecca Roanhorse and Trail of Lightning”. (Video at the link.)

I’m so thrilled we could have Rebecca Roanhorse on the show to talk about Trail of Lightning! This is an exciting book and the advent of a really cool new world that you should totally check out.

Rebecca told us that she describes it as an indigenous Mad Max Fury road. It features an exciting adventure through Navajo country after a climate apocalypse. You’ll discover gods, monsters, and heroes of legend in a story featuring Maggie, a monster hunter.

I asked Rebecca where this idea was born. She explained that indigenous representation is very important, and she wanted to see a story where gods and heroes were in North America instead of Scandinavia or Ireland, etc. She also wanted a native/indigenous protagonist, a main character grounded in culture. The story takes place entirely “on the reservation” and uses some tropes of urban fantasy. The post-apocalyptic setting felt natural because, Rebecca says, “we’re headed there anyway.”

In terms of the mythologies referenced in the book, Rebecca says she kept it very Navajo. It’s important to keep in mind that not all native/indigenous stories are for public consumption. The advantage of working with Navajo material is that it’s a very large group with fifty thousand members, and many stories already out in the public consciousness.

(2) VALUABLE CONVERSATIONS. Amal El-Mohtar saw this was something people needed today —

“WisCon Guest of Honour Speech, 2017”

This convention drew me into an awareness of beautiful, hard, necessary conversations, and showed me how much feminism – something I thought of as a monolith, then, a common sense principle – was in fact a tapestry of conversations, many of them very difficult, many of them struggling to find a common language to address the very different problems we face at the intersections of race, class, disability, queerness, immigration status, indigeneity. This convention – by being, explicitly, a place where women come together to talk, to share histories and realities and speculations, to challenge each other and dream together of better, more just worlds – taught me most of what I know about these things.

I want to make you feel how precious that is – and how powerful. Because I am terrified of losing it.


We exist at a time when technology has made it easier than ever for us to talk to each other, and harder than ever for us to have conversations. We exist at a time when the internet has been colonized by capital, where every article plays a clickbaity game of “Let’s you and her fight.” We exist at a time when we’re encouraged to see conversations as slapfights, where titles read like mockeries of conversation: “No, So & So, You’re Completely Wrong About the X-Men” – “Yes, Such & Such, Wonder Woman is in Fact Feminist.” Why do we do this? Why is conversation forced into confrontation, into a battleground of winners and losers? Why do we talk about “losing” an argument instead of learning a truth?

To be perfectly honest, I think it’s a con – and not the good kind, not what we’re attending. A Mr. Wednesday con. A grift. A trick. A new, insidious way for the evil systems of our societies to continue preventing us from talking to each other, learning from each other, and loving each other.

(3) BACK FROM EUROCON. Edmund Schluessel’s “Eurcon 2018” report pays close attention to conrunning issues, for example:

…Eurocon 2018’s experiment in simultaneous translation, though, could have gone better. The quality of the program item translation was not an issue at all: well-established translator Thomas Bauduret was on hand. The issue was that M Bauduret would appear at the beginning of an English-language item unscheduled and offer translation, and if he was engaged then, by the simple nature of the beast, all the discussion that followed would move at half-speed, and a panel which was planned for 45 minutes suddenly had ninety minutes of material.

This issue of timing ran throughout Eurocon. Perhaps, having mostly attended either US conventions or things in the Nordic countries, I’ve become overly habituated to the appearance of a gopher holding up a “STOP” card to make sure the program ran to schedule. There was no such provision at Eurocon, nor did the program participants often feel a great need to follow the schedule closely. There were only four program rooms, but all it takes is one person claiming their 67 minutes of their allotted hour–and there were far more than one doing this–and the entire schedule becomes gummed up.

Sometimes it can even look really bad for the convention. I need to preface again: Eurocon 2018 put African SF discussions at the center of its programming, made a point of having African authors on hand, and this is a superb thing to focus on given many factors. The first expression of this track, though, was a presentation about African SF given by a white Canadian, Geoff Ryman, who overran, in large part due to the surprise simultaneous translation; and an immediate consequence of this running over was that the following program item, a talk introducing Afrofuturism by Black SF author Yann-Cédric Agbodan-Aolio, started late and was cut short. I’m not for one second claiming any sort of negative intent by the Eurocon organizers, but mindful of how things are going with Worldcon 76 I think it is important to emphasize the importance of elevating marginalized voices, and being seen to help elevate them. I saw a couple of program items that were about African writing, where African authors were on hand, but where organizers had chosen all-white or all-European/North American/Australian panels….

(4) PROGRAMMING TECHNIQUES. Mary Robinette Kowal outlines how she organizes Nebulas programming in a thread that starts here. Features of her plan include –

(5) MORE ADVICE. And Sarah Pinsker was inspired to say –

(6) MASON OUT OF HOSPITAL. Lisa Mason was attacked while walking in Oakland on July 11. She writes about it here — “Update: 7.23.18//Been Off the Internet Since July 11. A Man Violently Attacked Me; I’ve been in Highland Hospital”.

I was walking on the remodeled bridge of Lakeshore Boulevard where the sidewalk angles around the back of 1200 Lake Shore, a midcentury high-rise apartment and a switchback heads down to the lake. Suddenly I heard yelling. I looked to my left and saw an Hispanic man running up the slope amid the flowering bushes, his face and eyes filled with hate. I was shocked. I’ve never seen hate like that on a person’s face.

In one second he was up on the sidewalk with me. He pulled his fist back to punch my face. I ducked. Then he shoved me as hard as he could toward a pedestrian ramp leading to East 12th Street and two lanes of oncoming cars speeding around the curve onto Lakeshore. I back-pedaled with my feet, lost my balance, and, fell, hard, on my right hip on the concrete half in the street. I rolled over to a sitting position, but I couldn’t stand or move. My right leg lay at an odd angle.

Three bicyclists surrounded me with their bikes, shielding me from him. I looked to my left and saw him striding down the sidewalk, yelling, about to accost another woman, an Asian-American. She witnessed the Attack and backed away. Then he advanced on a white man and they exchanged yells. Then he ran down the sidewalk to the lake….

(7) SDCC REMEMBERS ELLISON. Via Amazing Stories I learned that Jan Schroeder recorded the Celebration of Harlan Ellison’s life held at San Diego ComicCon and uploaded the recording to SoundCloud.


  • Born July 23 – Shawn Levy, 50. Executive Producer of Stranger Things and the Imaginary Mary series, also a forthcoming reboot of Starman; Producer of The Night at the Museum films.
  • Born July 23 – Tom Mison, 36. The Sleepy Hollow series lead, also the forthcoming Watchmen series, and a role in The Continuing and Lamentable Saga of the Suicide Brothers which is described as a fantastical gothic fairytale. Oh, and his Sleepy Hollow character appeared in the Bones series, a very weird episode that was.
  • Born July 23 – Paul Wesley, 36. Ongoing role in The Vampire Dairies, lead role in Fallen miniseries, also appeared in  Tell Me a Story, a contemporary twisted fairy tales series, and minor roles in such series as Smallville and Minority Report. Oh and in addition to being in a vampire series, he’s been in a werewolf series, Wolf Lake. 
  • Born July 23 – Daniel Radcliffe, 29. Harry Potter of course. Also Rosencrantz in National Theatre Live: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. 
  • Born July 23 – Lili Simmons, 25. Westworld and an ongoing role in The Purge series.


(10) TOOTLE PLUNK AND BOOM. Mariella Moon in Engadget.com discusses the PixelPlayer, a new device that “can recognize instruments in a video, identify specific ones at a pixel level, and isolate he sounds they produce” — “MIT’s music AI can identify instruments and isolate their sounds”. How could Filers NOT be interested in a PixelPlayer?

If you’ve ever played a YouTube video for what it seems like the thousandth time to listen to your instrument’s part of a composition, you’ll love MIT’s new AI. PixelPlayer, which hails from the institution’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), can recognize instruments in a video, identify specific ones at pixel level and isolate the sounds they produce. If there are several instruments playing in a video, for instance, PixelPlayer will allow you to pick the one you want to listen to — it will play the sounds coming out of that instrument the loudest and will lower the volume or everything else.

(11) HANDLING SOCIAL MEDIA. Fresh advice from the front.


(12) HOFFMAN WORKS MAGIC. Jo Niederhoff reviews “The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman” for Fantasy-Faction.

Lately I’ve been getting into fantasy that either crosses genres or plays with the rules of its own genre. Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic are two excellent examples of the former. In my review of Practical Magic, I described it as magical realism, and I stand by that. It hovers just on the edge of fantasy and literary without giving in too much to either side, which can be a delicate balancing act, considering how the two genres tend to feel about each other. The Rules of Magic has the same feel, but at its heart it is a book about growing up, so much so that I hardly noticed Frances and Bridget growing older to become the aunts from the first book.

(13) YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. Charles Payseur wants readers to know this won’t be one of his more sober book assessments: “LIVER BEWARE! You’re in for a Drunk Review of Goosebumps #9: WELCOME TO CAMP NIGHTMARE”.

But first thing’s first. I’m drinking. Given then ending of this book, I’m drinking A LOT. I started with some regular Leinies a while ago and have now refined my palate with some IPA from Blue Oskars Brewing, which is pretty good. If I make it that far some Java Lava and bourbon is on the horizons after this, so forgive me if I descend into incomprehensibility. So now that you’ve been warned, onward to the book!

(14) ORVILLE. Tune in to The Orville Panel At Comic-Con 2018:

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Gregory Benford, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

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80 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/23/18 A Double Negative Pixel

  1. @Bill–The lie is,

    the shameful Mayor of Oakland warned eight hundred KNOWN VIOLENT CRIMINALS that ICE was planning to apprehend them.

    ICE wasn’t after “known violent criminals.” They were after people who, except for being undocumented, were quite ordinary members of the community — often becoming visible to ICE as victims of crimes.

    ICE under Obama did, mostly, target violent criminals as their preferred targets. ICE under Trump prefers soft targets unlikely to be particularly dangerous–even as Trump, Nielsen, Kelly, and others yammer endlessly about VIOLENT CRIMINALS and MS-13.

    That’s why the Mayor sent out her warning: because all these raids are doing is ripping families and communities apart, without removing the dangerous undocumenteds, and even making the communities less safe, by making even documented immigrants afraid to talk to or cooperate with police.

  2. The “lie” was characterized in terms of what the mayor did, rather than whom it was done to.

    In any case, screaming about violent Hispanics coming for you with hatred in their eyes given the current atmosphere that exists in this country is beyond irresponsible.
    If you are just a random person who doesn’t like immigration, I’d have to agree. But if an actual Hispanic had recently actually come for you with hatred in his eyes, and had actually put you in the hospital, as happened to Mason, then not so much.

  3. @Bill–No, the Mayor didn’t warn 800 known violent criminals that ICE had been planning to apprehend them. That was a lie, no matter how you twist and evade. It’s a lie about what the Mayor did, and it’s a lie about who ICE was planning to apprehend, and it’s a lie about the people whom ICE was planning to apprehend.

  4. Bill, no, it doesn’t matter that a violent Hispanic person just came for her with hatred in his eyes. Extending that description from one person to the entire category of Hispanic persons is bigotry.

  5. @Bill
    Then do we get to characterize every attack by a white person as being racist and indicting all white people for that action?

    How does she know that this person is an immigrant? She’s being a bigot, she went out of her way to lie about the mayor and attack both Hispanics (many of whom have been here far longer than CA was a state) and immigrants. I’m sorry that she was attacked and it will be a long painful road to recovery for her but that doesn’t give her the right to hurt and attack other people.

    I also noted that lack of adequate medical insurance which once again reinforces the need for a sane healthcare proposal.

  6. “Thank you, Magewolf! I’ve never tried Isekai, so I ordered Hai to Gensou no Grimgal which was the one that looked interesting and was available on Kindle.”

    And I did the mistake of first ordering the Manga instead of the novel. Not happy with that one. The only thing that makes it LitRPG is a little sign every 5 or so chapters saying “Level 4”. There’s absolutely nothing else that indicates it has anything to do with a game. Otherwise it is seems like ordinary portal fantasy, at least after two volumes.

    Will try the novel now.

  7. From Lisa Mason’s description of the event, it sounds as if the attacker had a mental health issue and that the attack had no connection to the man’s ethnicity or immigration status. Therefore, there is no need to bring up the attacker’s ethnicity and immigration status.

    And just in case it needs to be said, the vast majority of people with mental health issues are peaceful and law abiding, just as the vast majority of immigrants, documented and not documented, and the vast majority of Hispanics.

  8. (6) Mason has gone through a terrifying experience, and I wish her the best. But I’m not sure what to think of someone who thinks doctors ought to lie to their patients. (I absolutely know what to think about her attitude towards Hispanics.)

  9. @ Hampus

    I should have been clearer about that. The game stuff is part of the background in that series as they slowly find out what is going on and is kind of a spoiler. Some isekai have people explicitly going to game worlds while some have them going to worlds that run on game like rules. Of the ones I mentioned Log Horizon, Overlord, and to an extent Kono Subarashii Sekai (mostly on the leveling side) have clear game rules in effect.

    In most game isekai the MC is able to leverage their game knowledge even if they are not overpowered to start with but because of the amnesia Grimgal has the MC’s not noticing and commenting on the gamey nature of the classes and trainers and other stuff going on. So even that bit of power is taken away from them. Hai to Gensou no Grimgal is more like Mordheim: City of the Damned as opposed to any of the Final Fantasy games.

  10. About 30% in to the first novel now. Better than the manga, might stick to it a bit longer.

  11. Geez–6). There is certainly a strong attitude of ‘Sorry you had and are still having a traumatic, life-changing, painful life event, but you should really be a better person right now.”
    Someone once complained to me about people who crossed the street rather than come face to face with two or more black men when there weren’t other people around. I told them that I had done the same thing after I was robbed one morning and threatened with a gun. I eventually got past it.
    Give her a break.

  12. @ Harold Osler

    Give her a break.

    I have to agree. When I was hit by a car, did a flip, and broke my scapula in 2000, I was stunned by the shock and it took quite a while to fully recover my wits. Not that I really disagree with the general tenor of the comments, it just seems to be a bit soon to be judgemental.

  13. Give her a break.

    I understand experiencing irrational hatred after such a traumatic experience, but her suffering doesn’t justify repeating vicious and dangerous lies slandering a large group of vulnerable people. I’d give her more of a break if that had been a one-on-one conversation, not something she flung out into the world to further poison the national dialogue.

    ETA: I don’t see anyone attacking her or demanding some sort of punishment, social or otherwise. I think it’s important to refute bigoted lies, even heartfelt, sincere ones that come from a place of suffering.

  14. @Harold Osler and Rob Thornton
    If “being a better person” = not scapegoating two entire classes of people then yes, I expect that.
    Especially in the current climate where there has been a normalization of racism and attacks on minorities. And frankly, I don’t expect either of you to be so understanding if someone was attacking all white people or even white men and being encouraged to do it by our president. I suspect that it’s okay here since you aren’t part of the group that she is scapegoating.

    Like I said, a black teen was just randomly attacked and killed by a white man also in Oakland for reasons that seem even closer to being a race-based attack and most people are calling for calm and to let the investigation happen. It’s not okay to say that we can tar broad swathes of people so long as they aren’t white.

  15. @ Mallory

    My general attitude is: “Perhaps she is still suffering from shock and not thinking everything all the way through, so I will refrain from judgement for a while longer. Hopefully she will apologize. If she still is spewing that nonsense in a week or two, then I will hold her culpable.”

  16. I think it’s important to object to bigoted words whether or not we blame the speaker. The words you pass by are the words you accept.

  17. If you are just a random person who doesn’t like immigration, I’d have to agree. But if an actual Hispanic had recently actually come for you with hatred in his eyes, and had actually put you in the hospital, as happened to Mason, then not so much.

    Given the state this country is in yes, so much. That kind of rhetoric feeds into the lunatic fringe and could, potentially, be just enough to set someone off.

    It’s pretty clear that the attacker was suffering from some sort of mental issue. And yet, that kind of language could result in someone innocent being hurt.

  18. @ rochrist: I’m not sure what the point was of making sure the ethnicity of each and every person involved was called out, but reading the entire blog entry, she sure wants to make sure you know the guy that hurt her is Hispanic.

    Sounds to me like the first part is a preemptive defense against accusations of racism based on the last and on what Lenore said. “No, I wasn’t being racist at all, I specified everyone’s race!”

    @ Mallory: And that in turn seems to have been a copycat of an incident that happened some months back, in which a white supremacist attacked and killed 2 Middle Eastern women, plus a white man who tried to intervene, on a subway.

  19. @Lee
    ??. My kids have a camp that picks up and leaves from that station all week… It’s scary.

  20. @Lee
    🙁 My kids have a camp that picks up and leaves from that station all week…. It’s scary.

  21. @Mallory – The murder Lee referenced was in Seattle. It was definitely white supremacy related. This one in Oakland may have been white supremacy, an innocent case of virulent misogyny, or both.

  22. @kathodus–It’s possible I’m very slow tonight, because I am not grasping the meaning of “innocent case of violent misogyny.” It absolutely eluded me, with the only apparent meaning seeming unlikely to be your intent.

  23. @Lis Carey – an attempt at black humor. An attempt to point out that the motive may not have been racial hatred, but whatever the motive, it was targeted hatred at an all-too-frequently targeted group that includes many people I love. I’m still trying to grasp the implications of this horrible crime in my community. I’m very upset. I apologize if my comment came off as flippant.

  24. I suspect that it’s okay here since you aren’t part of the group that she is scapegoating
    Suspect me of being a racist all you want–All I said was that she may still be in shock and pain and may be acting out in a way she wouldn’t have. If her writing is full of these kind of statements, then fine. Burn her at the stake. Until then, she gets a break.
    Just for the hell of it; I’m opposed to open borders but think DACA was a good idea and that there needs to be a better system for immigration. Also, amnesty for anyone who’s been a good citizen; paying taxes and no felonies. Add a fine ($1000, say) to try to satisfy the ‘they broke the law’ group. And the ICE thing made me laugh.

  25. @kathodus–Thank you!

    I’ve been known to commit gallows humor myself, when reacting to distressing events, and I know too well other people may inexplicably not see what’s going on inside my head. I thought I was probably being a bit hard of reading, but I wasn’t working out how…

    Thank you for having the patience to explain!

  26. Harold, I don’t have to negate the trauma of the experience to reject the racist framework its being placed in or the racist political project its contributing to. I also don’t have to accept what seems to be your implicit premise that this framework is somehow a natural result of the trauma of a violent assault.

  27. framework is somehow a natural result of the trauma of a violent assault.
    That may be that I’m looking at it from the point of view of it just being about her where others are expanding it to a societal thing at large. I’m not saying negate–I’m saying, or trying to say–that it may be a result of the trauma and therefore a little more understandable.
    Anyone who has dealt with loved ones in this or similar situations knows that pain and fear and drugs make us lash out at people we love, let alone an amorphous faceless ‘other’.

  28. Harold: I’m quite familiar with that urge to lash out — but it’s usually localized in time and space; a screed like this, 8 (IIRC) days after the fact and at this length, seems to me to be even more inexcusable than (e.g.) the murder of Trayvon Martin.

  29. To the extent that “murder” has a specific legal meaning, that was not what happened to Trayvon Martin.

    But if you truly think it was murder, it is amazing that you are able to excuse it more than you would a prejudiced comment about a group of people.

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