Pixel Scroll 7/25/18 Pun For A Headline, Pixels Comment Underground

(1) DILLON KICKSTARTER. A Kickstarter to crowdfund “Daydreamer’s Journey, a new Art Book by Julie Dillon” was launched July 24. Dillon is one of the top artists in the field, a three-time Hugo Award winner (plus five Chesley Awards, three Locus Awards, and a British Fantasy Award).

I absolutely love to draw and paint, and art has been a vital part of my life for as long as I can remember.  Art can offer an escape as well as an invitation; a way to process one’s experience of the world, a way to offer a different perspective. It can illuminate and reveal the magic lurking just beneath the surface of the world, and that is what I’ve attempted to do throughout my career as an artist.

I’ve put together an art book that will let me share with you more of my art and ideas than I ever have before….

Daydreamer’s Journey will be a 200 page 8.5″ x 11″ hardcover book, on beautiful thick glossy paper. This book will contain personal work, freelance projects, sketches, studies, and illustration drafts, some of which either has never been posted online or that hasn’t been available online in over a decade. Also included will be my commentary and thoughts, as well as progress shots for most pieces so you can see part of my painting and brainstorming process.

With 29 days to go, Dillon so far has raised $12,653 of her $18,500 goal.

(2) #METOO AT COMIC-CON. SFGate evaluates the attention to antiharassment efforts at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego: “Comic-Con in the #MeToo Era: Progress Comes One Panel at a Time”.

…Officially, Comic-Con was silent about #MeToo. When SDCC programming director Eddie Ibrahim gave his traditional kick off speech in Hall H on Thursday morning, notably absent was any mention of the convention’s harassment policies. That continued for all four days of the convention.

…Comic-Con for its part has chosen not to update those anti-harassment policies, which state in part that “harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated,” and that “persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy” should seek out security or SDCC staff.

Whatever actions the organization is taking behind the scenes, it ultimately chose not to discuss them publicly. Comic-Con International did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap

Unofficially, fans and creators were frequently vocal in support of greater inclusion and representation, and in talking about harassment and abuse.

The panel for NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” on Friday night was a particular stand out, with cast members, producers, and fans touching on a range of sensitive issues. Notably, one fan thanked Terry Crews, who accused William Morris Endeavor agent Adam Venit of groping him, “for your part in #MeToo,” adding, “I’m so sorry for all of us that are part of #MeToo that you have to be part of it.”

And at a panel called “The Future Is Female,” “Bumblebee” and “Birds of Prey” screenwriter Christina Hodson got huge cheers and lots of knowing muttering when she celebrated the successes of the #MeToo era but noted that much work remains.

“Nine months ago, no one gave a s—. Like, no one cares what happens. Now everything has shifted. So I think behavior on set, in writers’ rooms, that’s all going to shift. So I’m very happy about that,” she said.

(3) ELFQUEST PROFILED. Rob Beschizza explores “The Weird Of Wendy Pini” at BoingBoing. “Voices from another world spoke with sublime otherness, helping an indie cartoonist face down prudes, pain and the patriarchy.”

Elfquest began in 1978 and concluded this spring, forty years in the telling. Devised and written with her husband Richard, its story follows the Wolfrider clan and its chief, Cutter, burned from their ancient forest home by vengeful humans. Sweeping from a rough fantasy premise to epic science fiction, the Wolfriders find other elfin refugees, the derelict spaceship of their shape-shifting ancestors, and unsettling truths concerning their own nature. At its sales peak, the magazine-sized pamphlets were selling 100,000 copies at an intersection of fandom rarely seen in comic book stores: women, queer folk, people of color.

The American Library Association describes Elfquest as “one of the most important works in American fantasy”. Georgy Khoury and Alex Ross, in Comic Book Fever, call it one of the “first long-form sagas of the art form,” unique for its “confident and inspired storytelling.” Artist and historian Trina Robbins told me that Wendy’s strong women characters were responsible for getting countless young girls into comics. Elfquest was one of the books targeted as obscene material in the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s first case. Buzzfeed ranked it as the most life-changing graphic novel of all time.

(4) TODAY’S VISION. Rick Liebling recalibrates the historic look of sf in a post for Medium: “The Aesthetics of Science Fiction. What does SciFi Look Like After Cyberpunk?” (First in a two-part series.)

But now, some three decades-plus since we first “saw” Cyberpunk, what do we have now? Is there a unifying visual idea that we associate with modern (2000 and beyond) science fiction? I’ve noticed over the last decade or so that there are some recurring themes. Perhaps not exclusive to science fiction – in the same way that the Cyberpunk aesthetic wasn’t exclusive to science fiction (see: Black Rain) – but that I’ve seen recurring in genre work.

I call it Hard Concrete.

Like Cyberpunk and Atomic Age &Space Age design before it, Hard Concrete is linked to the realities of the times. If Cyberpunk was the visual embodiment of the corporation as mysterious behemoth, Hard Concrete parallels a world where corporations and governments have been exposed as brutal, uncaring and stripped of their shiny, mirror-glass facades. They may be no less controlling, violent or malevolent, they just no longer bother to hide it.

(5) ORDER ME ANOTHER SCREWDRIVER. The Thirteenth Doctor has a collectible out already: “Jodie Whittaker Reveals the New Sonic Screwdriver Fan Collectible at San Diego Comic-Con”.

Today in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, Jodie Whittaker revealed the new Sonic Screwdriver Fan Collectible, a replica of the one her character will use in the new series of Doctor Who, now available to pre-order.

Designer Arwel Wyn Jones talked through the new sonic; “It’s a privilege to have been asked to redesign the iconic Sonic Screwdriver for the Thirteenth Doctor and a new generation of audiences.  I can’t wait for people to see how the Doctor acquires it!”

(6) ORIGINAL WONDER. Al Abbazia’s superb Rockwell-inspired Saturday Evening Post magazine cover featuring Wonder Woman can be seen on Facebook. The artist said:

It’s beyond gratifying that the granddaughter of William Marston, creator of Wonder Woman, found me and took a special liking of my art piece, saying it honored her family. My daughter, Emily Claire Abbazia (who came up with the concept) and myself thank you Christie Marston 🙂

And thank you to the wonderful Shiree Collier for her excellent modeling and Gal Gadot for that pretty face.

(7) ‘WARTS AND ALL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Those cunning Danes are at it again, dreaming up ways to take your money. LEGO has announced a new Hogwarts set (io9: “Lego’s New 6,020-Piece Hogwarts Castle Set Is Huge and Pricey”) priced at a “mere” $399.99. It’s built on their “microscale” standard, to use microfigs rather than the more familiar minifigs—presumably to keep the both the overall size and the price in check.

Quoting the io9 article:

…Lego is also bundling 27 microfigures with the set, including Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Snape, McGonagall, Remus, Umbridge, and even Lord Voldemort, as well as Aragog the spider, the Basilisk, a Hungarian Horntail dragon, and five dementors.

There are minifigs involved, thogugh. The founders of the four houses of Hogwarts (Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin, and Rowena Ravenclaw) are included in minifig form. Writing for io9, Andrew Liszewski seems taken by the quality of the set:

Despite the smaller overall footprint of the set, Lego has still managed to stuff an incredible amount of detail into Hogwarts, including the castle’s Great Hall, the library, potions class, the Room of Requirement, the giant chess set, and the Chamber of Secrets, among other places for the microfigures to re-enact scenes from the books and movies.

(8) KGB READINIGS. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Michael Swanwick and Jeffrey Ford on Wednesday, August 15, 7 p.m. at the KGB Bar.

Michael Swanwick

Michael Swanwick has received the Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, World Fantasy and Hugo Awards, and has the pleasant distinction of having been nominated for and lost more of these same awards than any other writer. He has written ten novels, over a hundred and fifty short stories, and countless works of flash fiction. His latest novel The Iron Dragon’s Mother, will be published by Tor Books in 2019

Jeffrey Ford

Jeffrey Ford is the author of the novels The PhysiognomyThe Girl in the GlassThe Portrait of Mrs. CharbuqueThe Shadow Year, and the four collections: The Empire of Ice CreamThe Drowned LifeCrackpot Palace, and A Natural History of Hell. His most recent novel is Ahab’s Return: Or The Last Voyage published by HarperCollins. He has been the recipient of the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Edgar Award. He lives in Ohio and teaches writing part time at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The KGB is at 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs) New York, NY. Website: www.kgbfantasticfiction.org.


(10) WORLDCON 76 BUSINESS MEETING AGENDA. More items have been added, so WSFS Secretary Linda Deneroff suggests you re-check the Business Meeting Agenda.

(11) ONE IS THE ONLIEST NUMBER. James Davis Nicoll asks “What’s With Sci-Fi’s Fixation on Single-Gendered Planets?” at Tor.com.

I recently reread three thematically similar books: Poul Anderson’s Virgin Planet, A. Bertram Chandler’s Spartan Planet, and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Ethan of Athos. All three imagine single-gender planets: worlds whose populations are either all men or all women. This particular selection of books to reread and review was mere chance, but it got me thinking…

There are actually quite a few speculative fiction books set on single-gender planets (in which gender is mainly imagined in terms of a binary model) 1. Most of them are what-if books. As one might expect, they come up with different extrapolations….

(12) REMEMBERING THE PAPERBACK REVOLUTION. Kim Huett of Doctor Strangemind, in “Doubling Down With Don Wollheim”, says “The Ace Double paperbacks have long been a favourite of science fiction collectors. So here are 15 amazing facts about the Ace Doubles, #6 will shock you to your very core (he claims tongue in cheek).”

…So how similar was the packaging? Well this is the cover of the very first Signet Double….

And this is the cover of the very first Ace Double….

Okay, so they don’t look that alike and the Ace artwork is decidedly pulpier in style. But then it would be, wouldn’t it? Don Wollheim wasn’t going to try and muscle in on Signet’s classier patch. No, Don Wollheim was going to do what he knew best and let’s not forget that Don’s editorial career had begun with Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories, two of the pulpiest of the pulp magazines.

Covers not withstanding it’s pretty clear to me that the Ace books borrowed a lot of layout detail from Signet. If you have any doubt about that compare the spine of Signet’s Knock On Any Door with the spine of a 1958 Ace Double featuring Eric Frank Russell I just happen to have laying about.

Oh, Don Wollheim you clever scamp.

Now you might be thinking that this is all very well but really, what did the Ace Doubles do other than borrow some layout details from Signet? The core feature, the two different novels in one volume, well that’s clearly unique to Ace, isn’t it? Now if you’ve been thinking anything like that then you are so very wrong. Consider the examples pictured below and their publication dates; Two Complete Detective Books (Winter 1939), Two Daring Love Novels (January 1948); and Two Complete Science-Adventure Books (Winter 1950). Three magazine titles that predated Ace Doubles by years (and the first two even left Kurt Enoch and his Signet Doubles in their dust).

(13) THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD. At Tor.com, James Davis Nicoll complains that “Classic Sci-Fi Star Systems Keep Getting Ruined by Science”. Well, complains is probably overstating things….

There are a lot of SF novels, particularly ones of a certain vintage, that feature that particular set of stars. If one is of that vintage (as I am), Alpha Centauri, Epsilon Indi, Epsilon Eridani, Procyon, and Tau Ceti are old friends, familiar faces about whom one might comment favourably when it turns out, for example, that they are orbited by a pair of brown dwarfs or feature an unusually well-stocked Oort cloud. “What splendid asteroid belts Epsilon Eridani has,” one might observe loudly, in the confident tone of a person who never has any trouble finding a seat by themselves on the bus.

In fiction, Procyon is home to L. Sprague de Camp’s Osiris, Larry Niven’s We Made It, and Gordon R. Dickson’s Mara and Kultis, to name just a few planets. Regrettably, Procyon A should never ever have been tagged as “possesses potentially habitable worlds.” Two reasons: solar orbits and Procyon B’s DA classification.

(14) THE LATE MR. ELLISON. Mark Evanier tells “A Harlan Ellison Story” at News From Me.

Now with Harlan’s passing, the Internet is filled with remembrances and honors and cyber-mourning and tributes, and in lot of them you’ll see some version of the phrase, “He inspired me to become a writer.” Harlan did a lot of that. He inspired people in other ways, as well. He occasionally inspired someone to hate Harlan Ellison but we won’t go into that here. Here, I’m celebrating him for inspiring so many people in a good way. Like I said, he was a writer who made other writers proud to be writers.

So many of us learned good, valuable things from him but a few writers I can think of learned to yell and scream about every rewrite, every note, every alteration. I can’t guarantee the following but supposedly, someone once asked Ray Bradbury if it was a wise idea for a writer to fight about each bit of interference the way Harlan did. Bradbury reportedly replied — and this sure sounds like an answer he’d give — “I don’t know if that’s okay but if you try it, check first and make sure you have the talents of a Harlan Ellison.”

…But he was late with so much of what he wrote, and I suspect…well, I know there are writers who think, “If Harlan Ellison can be weeks/months/years late, so can I.” To quote Ray Bradbury again, assuming he even said it, “I don’t know if that’s okay but if you try it, check first and make sure you have the talents of a Harlan Ellison.”

One might argue that he was not late with the Batman story he promised in 1971 to write for Julie Schwartz since he never had a firm deadline. But it finally saw print in the October, 1986 issue of Detective Comics, fifteen years later…and eight years after Julie had stepped down as the editor of Detective Comics. Deadline or no deadline, that’s late…

And all that is just an introduction to the story Evanier promised in the title….

(15) MORE TO BE READ. Publishers Weekly lists books of interest to adult-age readers of children’s literature in the ambiguously-titled post “2018 Adult Books on Children’s Lit”:

From an analysis of the psychological impact of fairy tales to an illustrated biography of a well-known illustrator and a book about the landscape that inspired Anne of Green Gables, there’s plenty to inform and inspire adult readers of children’s books.

What are we talking about? Here are three of the titles on the list:

Astrid Lindgren: War Diaries 1939–1945

By Astrid Lindgren, translated from the Swedish by Sarah Death (Feb. 27, Yale, $20 paper, ISBN 978-0-300-23456-5).

Originally released in hardcover in 2016, the wartime diaries of the author of Pippi Longstocking are now in paperback.

Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling

By Philip Pullman (Sept. 18, Knopf, $30 ISBN 978-0-525-52117-4).

The author of the His Dark Materials series shares the secrets behind how he writes his influential novels.

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

By Anne Boyd Rioux (Aug. 28, Norton, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-25473-0).

In time for the 150th anniversary of the story of four American sisters, Rioux, a professor of gender studies, explores the impact the novel has had through its depiction of female growth.

(16) CALL GOES OUT. Manifold Press is relaunching and Managing Editor Farah Mendlesohn wants to spread the word.

As from today, we are delighted to announce that after a period of reorganisation, Manifold Press will relaunch on the 1st January 2019.

Please note: we are revamping our web pages so none of the menu links work. That will change bit by bit over August.  We’ll announce on the blog and on twitter and fb etc as we create new pages.

At our AGM in July we bade a fond farewell to Julie Bozza who is heading back to Australia; Fiona stood down as Managing Editor after 9 years with the press.

The new Board consists of Farah Mendlesohn (Managing Editor), Sandra Lindsey, Fiona Pickles and Aleksandr Voinov. We are actively recruiting others.

We have opened a new call for submissions.

(17) DO YOU GROWL WHEN YOU’RE PLEASED? The BBC story “The complicated truth about a cat’s purr” notes that cat research lags behind the study of dogs because dogs are more willing subjects….

Part of the mystery around the purr is that we often only notice cats purring “when we tickle them in places that they like to be tickled”, says Debevere. Yet they also purr when we’re not around, and the extent of that purring varies between individuals. “All cats are different, some never purr and some will purr constantly,” she says. She draws the comparison between her cat Luigi – a stray who followed someone in to their office and was subsequently taken to a shelter – and Archie, who “moved in from next door” and became part of the family. Luigi purrs little, and Archie a lot.

“I’ve photographed more than 3,000 cats so far [at shelters] and no two are the same,” Debevere says. “I’ve witnessed a lot of cats purring when they’re dying, and when they’re being put to sleep. The vet will say something like ‘They were purring right up until the end’, and people assume they’re happy when they’re purring. That’s just not always the case.”

(18) UH-OH. Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach in the Washington Post report that the James Webb Space Telescope, which has already cost $7,6 billion, will have its launch delayed until 2021 because of screws that fell off of the sun shield during a test, leaving critics to argue that the telescope could be “too big to fail and too complicated to work.” “NASA’s next great space telescope is stuck on Earth after screwy errors”.

The Webb’s problems have rattled many powerful constituencies. NASA is embarrassed and dismayed by the human errors that have snarled its biggest robotic science project, which was identified by the astronomy community back in 2000 as its top priority.

(19) NOT THE SAME SHAPE. Judge dismisses The Shape of Water copyright suit – the BBC has the story.

The plot of Oscar-winning fantasy film The Shape of Water was not copied from a 1969 play, a US judge has ruled.

Judge Percy Anderson has dismissed a legal action that claimed Guillermo del Toro’s film copied the story of Let Me Hear You Whisper by Paul Zindel.

The late playwright’s son sued del Toro, the Fox Searchlight studio and others in February, claiming the two works were “in many ways identical”.

In his ruling, however, the judge said they only shared “a basic premise”.

(20) THE STARS THEIR DESTINATION. Something people of the future will be running into: “Japanese firm to launch wedding plaques into space”.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the Warpspace start-up in the city of Tsukuba is working with Kibo, Japan’s orbital science module, to launch wedding plaques from the International Space Station.

The company, which is largely staffed by faculty members from the University of Tsubuka, says that it will engrave couples’ names, messages, and other information on titanium plaques, measuring some 16 millimetres by eight millimetres.

The plaques will then be loaded onto miniature cubic satellites, which can hold several hundred plaques, and be released into orbit. They will join the tens of thousands of satellites, man-made objects and space junk already orbiting the Earth.

(21) BATMAN’S AMBITION. On the Conan O’Brien show, “Batman Wants To Join The Marvel Universe.”

Batman is sick of the perpetually rainy and depressing DC Universe; he’d rather have a seat at the Avengers’ table.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, James Davis Nicoll, Julie Dillon, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anthony.]

65 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/25/18 Pun For A Headline, Pixels Comment Underground

  1. 1) Shiny
    11) I do like Virgin Planet, being a Poul Anderson fan.
    13)First solar system stories became out of date thanks to science. Now it’s the nearest stars…

    And First

  2. (13) The past twenty-some years have been absolutely amazing for astronomers, not so much for genre writers. It doesn’t help that our comfortable old models for how planetary systems are likely to be arranged turn out to be woefully incomplete.

    As it happens, I’m working on a sourcebook for how to design plausible star maps, planetary systems, and so on, given all the new science. Doing the research has been fascinating. Also frustrating, given how often I’ve had to re-think given new discoveries.

  3. Tangentially related to (2): I finally remembered to ask my friend who went to PHXCC how they did on handling entrance security this year, after nearly having an active-shooter event last year. He said they did it very well, with lots of entrance-inspection points and separate lines for different levels of security check (just pockets, backpacks, costumes with and without weapons, etc.). Apparently the concom put sufficient thought into the process to come up with something that worked.

    3) I agree with the ALA’s assessment of Elfquest. It was the first non-superhero comic I ever read, and even though I was a little older than the primary target audience, it read like some of the equally-groundbreaking book SF I was reading at the time (Pern, etc.).

    If you plan to be a dealer at Worldcon 76, or you know someone who does, there appears to be a glitch in the process of getting one of the forms you need. The city’s website will take your online application, send you a confirmation e-mail, and then cheerfully dump your application into the circular file! The form in question is the Temporary Business License; if you haven’t gotten yours by now, you need to call the relevant city office and ask about it. (This is secondhand information relayed to us by a fellow dealer who found out about it today.)

    ETA: Accidental fifth!

  4. @20: I suppose this is barely pissing in the ocean given how much is already up there — but it really annoys me. I wonder how long the typical cubesat is supposed to last.

  5. 4)
    That’s certainly a very interesting essay, though I’m not sure I agree. For starters, Blade Runner wasn’t just Art Deco influenced, it was basically Metropolis with neon. The similarities are so striking that when a friend and I attended a showing of Metropolis with live music more than twenty years ago, we looked at each other and said, “Oh, so that’s where Ridley Scott borrowed the look of Blade Runner from.”

    Meanwhile, brutalism is currently experiencing a revival, which is baffling to those of us who grew up with or even in such buildings. Though I guess part of the reason for the brutalism revival might be that those buildings looked as if they would survive even a nuclear war, so to see them come down is troubling. I also applaud the impulse to save those buildings before they vanish forever, even if they often are singularly ugly.

    That said, brutalism has been linked to science fiction from the start and a lot of brutalist buildings have been used as settings for SF movies over the years. The original Rollerball features several brutalist buildings, including the BMW Tower in Munich. Much of a Clockwork Orange was shot in the London council estate of Thamesmead (we also get a brutalist university building in Uxbridge and some of the only surviving footage of the legendary Chelsea market), often in the very same locations used for the superhero series Misfits four decades later. Logan’s Run was shot at the Dallas Apparel Mart, which is sadly gone now. The original Battlestar Galactica featured Habitat 67 and the remnants of the 1967 Montreal Expo. Ken Adams legendary sets for the James Bond movies and Dr. Strangelove were often Brutalist inspired, though entirely imaginary. The Death Star and other Imperial structures in Star Wars are clearly Brutalist inspired as well. Brutalism is the look of dystopian early 1970s science fiction and spilled over into the post Star Wars era. If you want to see Brutalism blown up, the British nuclear war classic Threads destroys Sheffield’s Brutalist town council building and the Parkhill council estate and basically the entire UK.

    As for the Brutalism revival, 28 Days Later famously featured Ernö Goldfinger’s (the man after whom the Bond villain was named) Balfron Tower infested with zombies. Misfits gave us juvenile delinquents in Thamesmead forty years after A Clockwork Orange. Torchwood spent plenty of time lingering on the neo-Brutalist Wales Millennium Centre. Neil Cross already featured plenty of Brutalist buildings, including the Barbican and Robin Hood Gardens, in the non-SF Luther and his recent venture into SF Hard Sun featured even more classics of Brutalism, including the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate in London, combined with decaying Victorian buildings. Quite fittingly, the premise of the show is that the world will end in five years and Britain is busily tearing itself apart beforehand.

    Finally, there is J.G. Ballard’s High Rise a.k.a.Brutalism – The Novel. It was inspired by the Barbican as well as Ernö Goldfinger Balfron Tower once again. And yes, amazingly recasting actual architects as fictional villains is a thing in the UK. Both Ernö Goldinfger and John Poulson suffered this fate. High Rise was recently filmed, starring Tom Hiddleston and Elisabeth Moss among others, and the movie is basically “Brutalism – The Film”. I nominated it for a Hugo the year it came out, but sadly the electorate did not agree with me.

    So in shot, Liebling does have a point, but Brutalism as an SF aesthetic is nothing new. And yes, I am an architecture geek.

  6. 4) Seems abut right.

    11) Planets with only women would probably be a good deal healthier. Spoken as a male.

    18) It’s almost as though this is difficult work!

  7. (3) I have a stack of Elfquest graphic novels that have been sitting in the same spot for over a decade, waiting for her to finish so I can read them all at once. Now that that’s possible, I’m hesitating because I don’t want the experience to be over. Maybe after Worldcon. I’ve loved Elfquest since my first science fiction con in 1980, where Wendy was at a table personally telling everyone why they should read her comics. I fell in love with them, and from seeking them out I ran into all kinds of terrific indie comics. Superheroes never quite did it for me. Or maybe Elfquest ruined them for me by showing me what all they weren’t.

  8. 20: and @Chip: Cubesats launched from the Kibo platform on the ISS are fired ‘backwards’ which puts their perigee a bit lower than the station orbit and have a lifetime between months and a couple of years at most. There’s an international agreement on a maximum lifetime of around 25 years for anything in low Earth orbit which limits orbits to 650km or lower. Anything higher (eg the batch of Iridium satellites launched by SpaceX yesterday) is expected to be able to get itself out of the way when no longer required, either to a graveyard orbit or re-entry.

    Also Woot! Third and a halfth or fourth and a halfth title credit!

  9. As it happens, I’m working on a sourcebook for how to design plausible star maps, planetary systems, and so on, given all the new science.

    It’d be nice to see more authors pick up on what’s known about exoplanets, including using known ones as settings. There’s a tinge of authenticity that comes with using real places (even if very speculatively).

    In 3465, though, we consider stories set on Ross 128 b or Tau Ceti e to be Mundane SF.

  10. (2) I fully expect that once #MeToo hits SDCC, it will have quite the struggle ahead of it. But I also believe Christina Hodson is too optimistic when she says #MeToo has shifted everything. Sweden experienced a deeper and more thorough #MeToo than any other place, precisely because we have been better in giving women voices and confidence for a long while, but in reality it changed relatively little in the entrenched power structures and we are currently experiencing a backlash. At most, I’d say #MeToo was the beginning of change, not the change or shift itself.

    (6) Nice piece, and a great callback to that photo of a little girl watching the Wonder Woman poster.

    (11) @rochrist: Insufficient data.

    (15) I can very much recommend Tove Jansson’s books as well, even the Moomin novels are a lot less childish than they are marketed as. See eg her autobiography “Sculptor’s Daughter” and her short story collections.

    (21) Like if it wasn’t Batman who dragged all the rain and the doom and the gloom into the DC movies…

  11. 154 fifths makes a 770. And I am feeling guilty, being about a month behind on chronicling my continuing reading. I should probably try to do something about that.

  12. 4) I consider the brutalist inspired look to be the last-gasp of the cyberpunk aesthetic. I think (hope) the recent Marvel films are probably more of an indicator of things to come. Technology has advanced enough to let filmmakers actually do looks that Kirby and Moebius (for example) were putting in comics. One of the (many) things that dissapointed me about the live-action Ghost In The Shell was that they just made it another cyberpunk city and not anything like the organic architecture that Shirow Masamune is known for.

    I also really wish more designers would take a look at Utopia (the Channel 4 series) and take away the lesson that grim and gritty doesn’t have to be visually dark and murky.

  13. @James:

    It’d be nice to see more authors pick up on what’s known about exoplanets, including using known ones as settings. There’s a tinge of authenticity that comes with using real places (even if very speculatively).

    I suspect there’s a problem for genre writers, in that we just haven’t seen very many unequivocally Earth-like planets out there yet. Partly because even the new techniques would still have trouble detecting a close Earth-analogue, partly because it seems that Earth is a more unlikely case than we realized. Thus a lot of classic story settings, which need a location that’s at least somewhat habitable, are harder to place than they used to be. If you’re going to set a story on an uninhabitable ball of rock, why not pick something closer to home?

    In the long run this may clear up. My research tells me that for every uninhabitable not-quite-Earth we’re finding around nearby stars, there’s plausibly at least one more pleasant planet that we’re not seeing yet. Better detection techniques may show us the way.

  14. 13) – I started working on a star travel story a while ago, intentionally referencing a lot of the classic SF stars as points of the itinerary, and went to check their details. I came back with copious rewriting and rerouting requirements.

    @Karl-Johan Norén – The first three Moomin novels are a bit thin, but after that they just get better and better. The last two – ‘Moominpappa at Sea’ and ‘Moominvalley in November’ – belong in the canon of Western literature IMNSHO.

  15. (11) I would have called most of those single-sex planets*. I suppose that they’re also single-gender, perhaps due to failure of imagination on the part of the author, but it’s the absence of one sex that defines them. Are there examples of SF planets that are single-sex but multi-gender?

    *or have I somehow misunderstood the distinction, or lack thereof, between sex and gender?

  16. 4) I really liked this piece, although I disagree with some of it (for different reasons than Cora, although that was a fantastic comment). I think there’s over-reliance on Blade Runner as the defining aesthetic of cyberpunk in the post. Cyberpunk’s literary aesthetic (as opposed to its filmic one) has a ton of intersection points with Ballard, often pulls from him in quite deliberate and obvious ways, and as Cora pointed out Brutalism and Ballard have a really close relationship. One of my favourite things about Brutalism (and I do love it, for the most part–I was lucky enough to work in Robarts Library for five years before they started ruining it with all that glass) is how it ages. Because the emphasis is so heavy on using the properties inherent to the materials it doesn’t stay pristine for long, but it also doesn’t show its age the same way other styles do, so that temporal layering effect cyberpunk uses mentioned in the post is going to happen to these buildings regardless of if they get covered in gomi (which is probably what we should call the cyberpunk equivalent of greebles, now that I think about it), even though, as the prof from LU said, they don’t signal *specific* time periods.**

    Anyway, “Hard Concrete” is not a terrible name for this aesthetic, but so many of the films and other visual works that use it borrow heavily from cyberpunk’s vernacular in other ways that I don’t think it’s as clean a break as Liebling wants it to be. I look forward to the second part.

    **It’s always amusing to me to see how Canadian locations are labelled by people who aren’t Canadian. Like, “Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada” is effectively meaningless, given Ontario’s size and diversity (both its weather/terrain diversity and its cultural diversity; the part of Ontario where I grew up is as different from the part of Ontario I live in now as New York is from New Orleans). Saying that LU is in the city of Sudbury is significantly more meaningful in giving you not only a geographical sense of the university, but also a cultural one. (I attended LU for grad school; it’s… not a great school. It’s not a *bad* school either, but it’s been on life support for almost 20 years and has never had a predominantly positive reputation–or even full enrolment–in its entire history.)

  17. Harry Potter and the Repeated Pixel Scroll Title

    P.S. Possibly there was life on the Moon in eons past? http://www.astronomy.com/news/2018/07/life-on-the-moon

    “New research published in Astrobiology suggests that the Moon may have been shockingly habitable in the past during at least two periods — shortly after the Moon formed, and when volcanic activity was at its highest.”

  18. @NickP. As a Chandler fan (I’m working on a concordance of his “Rim Worlds” stories, of which Spartan Planet is one as well as being a (marginal) Grimes tale, the TOR piece gave very short shrift to that novel.
    Spartan Planet (aka False Fatherland) published in 1968, was an early depiction of a male homosexual culture (a bit daring at the time). The planet was founded as a “lost colony” (early FTL drivers were notorious for failing) and, during the crash landing, all of the germ plasm for women was destroyed. The remaining colonists (it’s hinted that one of the leaders was fond of the “gay” culture of ancient Sparta) created “birth machines” to sustain themselves and “deformed” fetuses are exposed on hillsides for the indigenous “wolves” to devour. Of course, those “deformed” infants are often females.
    One salient feature overlooked in the TOR piece is that there are men in this culture who take on the “typical” roles of women (at least those that were “typical” in the mid-60s). The main character, Brasidus, has a boy friend who is a nurse in the local creche and is depicted as effeminite, soft, emotional, especially when compared to those who take on more typical male stereotypes (their parties and socializing seem to be modeled on the gay motorcycle/bar culture of the time).
    It’s decidedly not a good depiction of an all gay-male society, it’s rife with stereotyping and I’m not sure if you could say that it depicts “single sex, multiple genders”, but given when it was written and the relatively unsurprised reactions of the starship crew (multi-gendered) that “rediscovers” this lost colony and presumably are stand ins for mainstream culture, it does belong in a study of this topic.

  19. I wonder how long the typical cubesat is supposed to last.

    Six to 24 months. The first few dedicated to astronomy are being designed now (CUTE, SPARCS) and the technology demonstration platform, ASTERIA, is out there now. Cubesats are not great for collecting area but they are really good a long staring missions. CUTE will be looking at transiting hot Jupiters and SPARCS at flares from cool stars to understand how they affect exoplanet atmospheres.

  20. I am also curious about Harlan’s papers. He of course railed against the practice of going through dead authors’ papers to publish rough drafts, false starts, and other detritus, without the author’s creative control.
    But he had already begun the process of doing that himself while still alive, with help from his editor Jason Davis. Several books of screenplays and such are already available, and they launched a Kickstarter in 2016 for four more volumes of uncollected material. (I am a backer.) That was supposed to come out last Christmas, but like many things Kickstarted it is late. I assume much of the work was already approved by Harlan and can only speculate what sort of directions he left in case of his passing.

  21. Colin: Ellison was trying to avoid people with lesser talents connecting their names to him. Posthumous collaborations have been done with many writers. A book was assembled with a good handful of writers trying to finish Edgar Allen Poe’s fragment “The Lighthouse”. Dickens’ THE MYSTERY OF EWIN DROOD went through a set of séances contacting Charles Dickens in order to help him finish it.

    I’d rather the bit and pieces be there for study.

  22. The Pixel Scroll’s File is Half Constructed
    More Scrolls about Pixels and Files
    Pixel Scroll from a Fan in Minneapolis

    What is the law?
    Not to reuse titles, that is the law. Are we not fen?

  23. Robert: I hadn’t remembered that part of what Harlan said, and I was confusing “unfinished” with “unpublished”. So maybe we will only see work he considered done? I can sympathize why he wouldn’t want any unfinished work put out there, even if there may be value in it for scholars and fans.

  24. 11) I’m surprised no one has mentioned Philip Wylie’s The Disappearance.
    I recently found it in a discounted kindle edition during one of the Open Road Media massive offerings.
    I’m hesitating about re-reading it though, since the suck fairy can be brutal, and it’s been a long time.
    (There’s also all that pesky ballot finishing going on -ACK! – which is cutting into my pick-up-and-something-random time.)
    But I remember it being impressive to me, back when I was an impressionable teen.

  25. Lauowolf said–1) I’m surprised no one has mentioned Philip Wylie’s The Disappearance.
    I just looked at it again pretty recently. In some ways, that damn fairy got to it but in others it still worked. you really really have to take into consideration when it was written ( 1951, I just looked it up) and how that affected what was published. And how much society has changed. But that’s true of a lot of older works.

  26. @Jamoche:

    No; I haven’t found a spare Infinite Improbability Drive yet. I started looking in the garage a couple of times, but both times I got distracted by an avalanche of congratulatory telegrams. Damndest thing, really.

    Say, does anyone have any peanuts? I’m thinking about enjoying some poetry later…

  27. Lauowolf on July 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm said:

    11) I’m surprised no one has mentioned Philip Wylie’s The Disappearance.

    I did–back in Sept 2017, in my File770 scroll An Evening With (As In, They’re On Stage, I’m In The Audience) Stephen and Owen King, On Tour Promoting “Sleeping Beauties” I don’t know if that counts in terms of “has mentioned [in this scroll],” though.

    It looks like nobody’s (yet) mentioned Joanna Russ’s story When It Changed. it feels like there’s a Cordwainer Smith story that meets the criterion, too, although the more I think about it, the more I think I’m thinking about yet some other author.

  28. Daniel Dern on July 26, 2018 at 6:22 pm said:
    … the more I think about it, the more I think I’m thinking about yet some other author.

    Lordy yes.
    I seem to spend half my life trying to track down what something I nearly remember might be.

  29. 8 – The Iron Dragon’s Mother. Wonder if it will be less grim than The Iron Dragon’s Daughter? Nah.

    Grim but excellent, IMHO.

  30. @Daniel Dern: “The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal”. (This from the comments; I’m not sure I’d have remembered the title without them.) Like much of Smith, it exposes one of his ugly prejudices; in this case, just for a change, it’s homophobia rather than sexism.

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