Pixel Scroll 7/19

(1) Jim Davis, who was on the set while they shot the second episode of Star Trek:The Next Generation, recalls “Patrick Stewart’s trailer still had a handwritten sign on it (by him) that said ‘Unknown British Shakespearean Actor’).”

(2) The Catcher In The Rye bar in LA is gives its drinks literary names. Here is a sample of what the menu has to offer.


Absinthe, Benedictine, Dry Vermouth, Orange

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…”  -Edgar Allen Poe


Templeton Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Aperol, Burnt Orange, Orange Bitters

“But what I do, I do because I like to do.” -Anthony Burgess


Mount Gay Rum, Bitters, Simple Syrup, Pressed Apple Juice

“Don’t you ever go laughing at the Headless Horseman” -Washington Irving

But no Bradbury reference? That seems out of character for a book-themed enterprise based in his home town.

Compare this to the Literati Cafe which made the papers a few years ago by serving a cocktail named the Fahrenheit 451.

(3) Nicholas Whyte has updated his survey 2015 Hugo Awards: how some more bloggers are voting.

(4) Patrick May tested EPH with the 1984 Hugo data (scroll down to comment #299). I still got two Hugo nominations. What more do I need to know?

(5) I may have forgotten to mention that Sarah A. Hoyt and the Mad Genius club don’t write about Puppies most of the time. Dare I say that I usually enjoy the expositions about professional writing?

Consider Hoyt’s “Selling Books To Real People”:

This post has been prompted by my friend Amanda Green’s post on Amazon.  To whit, by the implication that Amazon killed Borders that others have flung up.

This is a touchy subject, because although I was informed that nice ladies don’t discuss politics, religion or coitus in public, I’ve found that the touchier subject is money: making it, keeping it, wanting it….

Did Amazon kill Borders?  Well, only if you look at it as assisted suicide.

Borders grew and became very big by having a system.  The system was ordering to the net.  They ordered only proven sellers.  The way they did this was by looking in the computer at the author’s name, and seeing how many of his hers or its (must be post binary) book they had sold.  Then they ordered just that number.

This system worked magnificently while Borders was a small bookstore, in a small town, and before the publishers tumbled onto it.  Two things Borders didn’t take into account: the variety of regional tastes and the corruption inherently possible in the system….

And this Mad Genius Club report “How to work with artists” based on the advice given by Sam Flegal, Libertycon artist GoH to self-publishers.

Just as we frequently say here that “It’s all in the contract!” and “You are not selling your book, you are licensing intellectual property!” Guess what? When dealing with artists, it’s all in the contract. And when you talk to them about using an image for a book cover, you’re not buying the work, you’re licensing intellectual property. Yep, that’s right: they’re just as concerned about licensing and IP rights when they talk to you as when you talk to a publisher… because in this case, they’re the IP creator, and you’re the publisher!

The shoe is now on the other foot. So, what terms should you offer the artist?

(6) Can it be that the makers of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, pioneers of the “digital backlot” that became the model for producing superhero summer blockbusters, lost so much money they never got to reap the benefits of their own system?

But a few great reviews don’t make a difference if your numbers are bad, and Sky Captain’s were very bad. Cinemagoers, perhaps put off by its black and white visuals or comic-strip tone, stayed away: the film made just $15.5 million on its opening weekend. This would have been fantastic if the film had used the tiny budget for which the brothers had originally asked, but the reported cost of $70 million made its eventual worldwide takings of $58 million a catastrophe…..

Kevin Conran has worked in the art department on films including Bee Movie and Monsters Vs. Aliens, and as a production designer on Dreamworks’ Dragons, a TV spin-off of the hit movie How To Train Your Dragon. As he muses on where the Sky Captain experience has led him, he says. “I think sometimes that there’s a world where we might have made this thing for $3-4 million and there would be a whole different story to tell.“

Kevin would never say this himself, but the Conrans’s contribution to cinema is huge. “You can absolutely draw a line from Sky Captain to the look and feel of many of the big blockbusters we see today,” says Ian Freer. “Its use of a digital backlot is now the dominant M.O. for production design. Films like 300, Sin City, Avatar and Alice In Wonderland have all created worlds built on the ideas put down by Conran.”

As much as the big budget movies have taken the techniques the Conrans developed, still very few people have really done what they set out to do: eradicate the need for giant budgets on fantasy films. Their plan was not to make things better for James Cameron or George Lucas, it was to give opportunity to the guys nobody had heard of – guys like them – and to have moviemaking be restricted only by your imagination not your bank balance.

“Conran crystallised the idea of the one man film studio, taken up by the likes of Robert Rodriguez and Gareth Edwards (director of Monsters and later Godzilla),” continues Freer. “But there are other ways in which Conran was ahead of his time. Sky Captain is a film built entirely on nerd love by a nerd director. With its in-jokes, old school visuals and pastiche of old genres, Sky Captain is the ultimate ‘geekgasm’ years before the word was invented.”

(7) Prediction: the Scooby-Doo & KISS: Rock & Roll Mystery will never be on Kyra’s bracket.

scooby doo and KISS COMP

116 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/19

  1. Another Android app that I am currently very happy with is Twilight. After 10pm, the whites go red and the brightness drops, which is a decent reminder to go to bed. This was not mentioned, but if you’re one of the weirdos like me who plays video games to fall asleep, f.lux is your friend. (Books keep me up- I need to keep reading. A game of Civ, once I’m past the early addiction is a gentle soporific.)

  2. On Kindles: I have an older model of the e-paper reader (now apparently called the Kindle Keyboard) and it serves most of my reading needs. I can read it in bright sunlight, as well as curled up in the chair with coffee and the cat.

    I find this device more useful than a tablet; it’s easier to read in bright light (though to be fair it’s harder to read in the dark), the battery life is better and I don’t get distracted by going on the web and browsing.

    Biggest “problem” with the Kindle for me is that it is too damned easy to buy “the next book” in the series. Couple of clicks from the comfort of my chair) and I have the next installment of my current obsession ready to read.

  3. snowcrash on July 20, 2015 at 6:02 am said:

    In other news, am almost done with Curse of Chalion.

    You goddamn bastards the lot of you. It’s fantastic.


    Rubs hands evilly together. Wait until you read Paladin of Souls. It’s even better.

    I would recommend not reading the brand spanking new novella Penric’s Demon until after Paladin of Souls. It won’t spoil you but I think reading in that order is more rewarding.

  4. I love my Kindle Fire HD — it’s my travel computer as well as e-reader. Even got a keyboard for it, so I can do email and Facebook if something happens to the desktop.

    Books, movies, games, the Divine Office, and now music too — what’s not to like?

  5. I have a Kindle Paperwhite, and use it a lot. Like others, I don’t just buy stuff from Amazon – I’ve got it loaded with lots of epub-formatted books, and some mobi ones, acquired hither and yon. I use Calibre for conversions, and to keep an archive of my own of what’s on the Kindle. It’s a very handy thing, with a screen that’s larger enough than my iPhone and smaller enough than my iPad to be in a particular comfort zone, and my gosh is the battery power nice. I also like the freedom from distractions sometimes when I just wanna read.

  6. Brad Torgersen writes about “un-customers”. I think he is talking about the Tor-boycott:

    “The voice that probably shouldn’t be taken seriously, is the un-customer: the guy who never bought you to begin with, and is liable to never buy you in the future — either because of taste, or because of politics, or some other damned thing — and who only came to your blog or your Twitter or your e-mail in-box in order to poke a stick in your eye. Such un-customers are common. Everybody has them. Doesn’t matter how big or small your creative business is. The un-customer is just in it to mess with you.

    But what if the un-customer threatens to spread the word?

    That’s a somewhat different issue. Before the advent of the internet, un-customers didn’t have a lot of influence, nor much ability to negatively impact you. Now? Depending on who your un-customer is, (s)he might have a small army of social media followers, ready and willing to launch a bad press campaign — if the un-customer decides to make a stink.”


  7. @Dave

    I wasn’t aware of a red shifted reader app. Interesting, but red text on a black background sounds like a recipe for eye strain for me.

    It’s not red shifted, you can just set the colours to whatever you want and you can set up two different colour profiles called day and night (but you can change between them whenever). You can set the colours to whatever you want. I’ve not found red on black to cause me eye strain but you could set to more subtle colours if you wanted.


    Twilight sounds interesting – I’ll check it out.

  8. Hampus Eckerman:

    I think he is talking about the Tor-boycott:

    And on Mad Genius Club, too!

    Unintentional humor can be a wonderful thing.

  9. Mike

    It is, indeed!

    Ok, I was twitched into alert awakeness, ready to leap from my bed, unti I looked at my watch and it said 2.05 am, and the alert awakeness should be at 7am.

    I shall therefore attempt to return to the arms of Morpheus, particularly since today is time to fly back to the UK, woe is me. Congratulations on your two nominations, and confusion upon the heads of those still pretending that they are so, so worried about EPH that they’d reluctantly oppose it; it’s total bollocks, and I hereby confer upon you the honorary right to adopt that splendid English English term…

    And on that happy note I shall go in search of Morpheus again…

  10. I’d like to thank whoever recommended the Greatwinter trilogy–I just finished Souls in the Great Machine, and loved it.

    e-readers: I have the Nook Simpletouch Glowlight, which I don’t understand why they don’t make anymore. It has side buttons, which make it easy to read one-handed, and a card slot. I believe later iterations lack both those, and have very little space for sideloaded books.

  11. @Hampus – heh. Torgersen (I think) is referring to some of the non-Pup posters on his blog who’ve pretty much told him that “Dude, we don’t intend to read you, not as a boycott, not because you’re a Christian, not because you’re a conservative, but because you’re an sanctimonious arse.”

    See, that’s bad, but the Tor “boycott” – it just is what it is. As always, Torgersen set’s very high standards for other people (h/t to Jim Henley).

    If you read his comments on his blog, it’s occasionally fun to see how he’s created this vision of “the File770 community”, which is apprently evil and mean and kicks Puppies.

    On ebook readers, a good cheap option is any Nexus 7 – good size, build quality and multi-purpose. Combined with Twilight (which is a fantastic app for bedtime readers, and is highly customisable), it’s a lot better than a dedicated device. Given that the Nexus 7 is no longer in production, and has been replaced by the Nexus 9, they should be available for even cheaper now I guess.

  12. I’m gonna vote with the Android tablet people. Apart from having all the apps fkr Kobo, kindle etc, I use it for comics(Perfect Viewer) and some video watching(MX player handles all my anime subtitle needs)

  13. I use my iPad for a whole lot of my reading these days – roleplaying games in PDF, comics, and like that. I use it for some of my writing work, and for video, podcasts, audiobooks, and the like. But there are times when what I’m after is prose, and the Kindle makes my reader heart glad.

  14. Don’t buy a 2012 Nexus 7. The most recent Android release (Lollipop) broke them. The 2013 model works fine with Lollipop though. I speak from experience with both models. The 2012 won’t be getting M, I believe the 2013 will.

    The 2013 is significantly better than the 2012 anyway: more RAM, better flash memory, etc.

    For bedtime reading I use Bluelight Filter, which works well. Twilight looks interesting though.

  15. @Seth Gordon: “Question for all you sophisticated consumers: In the next six months or so, I am hoping to get ereader/tablet machines for my kids (not just for reading ebooks, but also for audiobooks, email, and Google Docs). What do people think of Kindle vs. Nook (vs. more obscure competitors)?”

    One thing I can say for the collapse of Borders is that it got me into ebooks; I picked up my first Kobo reader for half-off there.

    I am of the weird opinion that an e-reader is best when that’s all the device is; I have no interest in a Kindle Fire (who thought that was a good name for a book device, anyway?) or any other bookstore-specific tablet. My iPad mini 3 is a much better general-purpose tablet, and if you dislike iStuff, there are plenty of good Android tablets out there. Any of them will handle e-reader apps just fine, and in fact I use my iPad when I’m beta reading because I like its screenshot capability and color interface for highlights and notes. Given your parameters, I’d suggest some flavor of inexpensive Android tablet for the kids.

    With that said, I’m currently on my fourth Kobo device, an Aura H2O that I won on one of their contests several months ago. It’s not quite as large as my iPad mini, which means it’s a little bigger than the Glo it replaced. The 4GB internal memory is currently unfazed by my close to 1000 books, and it has a microSDHC slot that will handle up to a 32GB stick. I am not worried about running out of memory any time soon.

    Now, as for ecosystem… urgh. I hate to advocate illegal acts, but DRM is a stupid hinderance that gets good customers burned, so I always advise people to free themselves from its chains. Download your books to your computer as soon as you buy them, strip the DRM, and convert them to whichever format you please. Keep a copy of that library, and it can’t be taken away from you; look up the Kindle 1984 incident. From that perspective, B&N is shooting itself in both feet with its weird DRM, but they’re still the big EPUB shop in the States.

    In practice, I prefer to buy from Viggle* if I can, then Kobo for indie discounts and to keep most of my library in one place, then B&N if it’s my only EPUB option, and Amazon as a last resort. Between DRM removal, downloading, and format shifting, I can put any of those purchases on my H2O… but that does mean losing features like bookmark sync across devices. Since I seldom read across devices, though, I don’t care about that.

    * Viggle is a “get points from watching TV” app that carries HarperCollins books – including Orbit – and free-for-points beats costs-money every time.

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