Pixel Scroll 8/1 Scroll forth, my song, like the rushing river

Ten stories, three videos and a partridge in a pear tree.

(1) It’s a privilege to be included in this Sasquan program item:

Writing About Controversies

M. J. Locke [Laura Mixon] , John Scalzi , Mike Glyer , William Frank (Moderator) , Eric Flint

Since before the Great Exclusion Act of 1939, the science-fiction community has had its share of controversies, feuds and flame wars — between pros, between fans, between pros and fans. Maybe more than its share. Discussion about these controversies — whether in fanzines or online — has often generated more heat than light.  How can we research and write about controversial issues in the field? Is it ever possible to just stick to the facts?  Panelists talk about what they’ve learned about how to approach these issues.

August 23, 3:00 p.m., CC – Bays 111A

(2) Fraser Cain discusses what would happen if a black hole met an antimatter black hole.

Here’s the part you care about. When equal amounts of matter and antimatter collide, they are annihilated. But not disappeared or canceled out. They’re converted into pure energy.

As Einstein explained to us, mass and energy are just different aspects of the same thing. You can turn mass into energy, and you can turn energy into mass.

Black holes turn everything, both matter and energy, into more black hole.

Imagine a regular flavor and an antimatter flavor black hole with the same mass slamming together. The two would be annihilated and turn into pure energy.

Of course, the gravity of a black hole is so immense that nothing, not even light can escape. So all energy would just be turned instantaneously into more black hole. Want more black hole? Put things into the black hole.

Cain says if this is your rescue plan in case you fall into a black hole, you’re out of luck.

(3) You may need a break after science-ing the shit out of that last item. Here’s the comic relief.

[Bill] Nye recently read some unflattering tweets in support of a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary about him, which, to be honest, we kind of hope just turns out to be two more hours of tweets.


(4) Ken Liu’s novel Grace of Kings is available from the Kindle Store for $1.99 today, as I learned from SF Signal. So far I’ve only read his short fiction. Now I’m diving into his novels.

(5) I listened to five minutes of the Superversive Hugo livestream today, long enough to hear a male voice opine that No Award will not win any of the categories. And I thought to myself, that kind of boldly contrarian thinking is exactly what a livestream panel needs to pull an audience.

(6) Talk about a dog’s breakfast…

(7) Tempest Bradford has a modest proposal.

Does she mean that literally, or is this another case where an idea suffers because it can’t be fully unpacked in a tweet? Think of all the minority/marginalized groups cishet white men belong to. Religious minorities. People with disabilities. Participants in 12 Step programs. (Do I need to say that I have seen convention panels involving each of these topics?) This rule needs to go back to the drawing board.

(8) August 2 is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

The modern version of the ice cream sandwich was invented by Jerry Newberg in 1945 when he was selling ice cream at Forbes Field.  There are pictures from the early 1900?s, “On the beach, Atlantic City”, that show Ice Cream Sandwiches were popular and sold for 1 cent each.

And here is the ObSF ice cream sandwich content.


(9) I think it’s rather sad that the person who took the trouble of setting up this robotic tweet generator doesn’t know how to spell Torgersen.

(10) File 770’s unofficial motto is “It’s always news to someone.” The Hollywood Reporter must feel the same way. Capitalizing on the imminent release of Fantastic Four, THR just ran a story about the first (1994) movie adaptation of the comic produced by Roger Corman.

If you haven’t seen the movie that’s not because it was a box office bust. It was never allowed to get anywhere near the box office. Sony exec Avi Arad ended up destroying every available print.

Here’s the trailer, uploaded to YouTube in 2006.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

262 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/1 Scroll forth, my song, like the rushing river

  1. @Kurt – Thank you. I actually started as curious–novelette is a form I’ve been toying with–but the surprising evasions have woken a vague suspicion in my breast.

    BrianZ, I’ll start–I though McFarlane’s Written on the Hides of Foxes had some great imagery with the doll-eaters. Did any of the “Chinese ones” have imagery you particularly liked?

  2. snowcrash on August 2, 2015 at 11:08 pm said:

    I do see issues with it, foremost of which is that allows works 2 bites at the apple. A simple fix would be to add wording to disqualify any work that was nominated in the year of publication.

    There’s an existing rule that already covers that: Section 3.2.2 (“A work shall not be eligible if in a prior year it received sufficient nominations to appear on the final award ballot.”) Remember, there are a number of ways in which works already have multiple years of eligibility, notably anything first published outside of the USA. If they qualify for the final ballot in their initial eligibility year, they aren’t eligible again whether or not they actually appear on the ballot. This is to prevent “eligibility shopping,” whereby someone might decline their first finalist shot because they think they might have a better chance the following year.

  3. Re: Bradford’s tweet, I generally don’t think it’s a good idea to base broad policies on one egregious case, nuclear weapons excepted.

  4. David W: She’s not. It is an ongoing problem in a bunch of fandoms, widely discussed for a long time.

  5. Bruce B, your point about Bradford not just using this particular case as a casus belli is taken. I’m aware of said problems in greater and lesser fandom, but who really cares if on a panel about Libertarian SF that the moderator isn’t a libertarian, but may merely be a well-read fan who also has an interest in politics? I guess I don’t care for the implicit claim that a panel is automatically problematic if a moderator doesn’t have a particular identity. Better, perhaps. But I’d still like panels to be held on such subjects with a reasonable moderator who may not qualify by Bradford’s metric.

  6. OK. I’m too sick today to hold together an exposition about why I approve of Tempest’s stance. (Lack of sleep and random auto-immune crud can really do a number on one’s mental productivity.)

  7. Hope you’re feeling better soon! FYI, I did like your take on Donaldson a few days ago. Thank you.

  8. One more thought related to Bradford’s rule though. On a hypothetical panel about sexism in science fiction, you could do far worse than having someone like Jim Hines moderate it.

  9. A day late and a dollar short, but —

    My first encounter with Bill Willingham In Person (as opposed to “the author of that comic book I keep hearing I should be reading, hmm, that one trade paperback was rather good, maybe I should eventually get around to reading the rest) was at, I believe, Renovation, where he was a GoH. He was on a panel about Folk Tales and Fairy Tales. I recall that panel also included Ellen Datlow, but I don’t remember who else was on it.

    I do remember that after all the other panelists introduced themselves, he said, “Hi, I’m Bill Willingham, and I appear to be this panel’s Token Male.”

    I thought, That doesn’t bode well.

    The second thing I remember is that he referenced an argument he’d gotten into in an earlier panel, and then proceeded to use this panel as an outlet for continuing to make the arguments he seemed to have wished he’d made, or had made but was unsatisfied with the reception those arguments had received, in that previous panel.

    His argument seemed to go something like this:

    What are Folk Tales, but “the tales of the folk”? And who are the folk? ALL OF US! And that includes white men, thank you very much, so I don’t see why it’s considered cultural appropriation for Disney to retell Mulan any more than it is for a Chinese writer to retell some quintessentially European folk tale like Cinderella!* Turn about is fair play! Turn about is fair play! Turn about is fair play!** Also, it’s totally not important that there be representatives of every demographic in Hollywood, the question of whether a given audience member ever sees someone like themselves in movies and on TV doesn’t actually have all that great of an impact, I mean, I know this, ’cause I can imagine not being a white male and I growing up never seeing people who looked like me on TV, and I can imagine it not bothering me in the least.

    *Yes, I know. I don’t think he did.

    **No, he didn’t actually say it three times in a row (not even while banging on the podium with a shoe). But he repeated it multiple times throughout the panel, often prefaced with “like I said” or “like I keep saying.”

    The minute-by-minute details escape me at this remove. But I have a strong hour-long recollection of his participation on the panel being pretty much one prolonged *facepalm*.

    Thankfully, the other panelists were wonderful. At least, as far as I could tell, when Willingham wasn’t interrupting them to contradict their points about respectful representation of other cultures and stuff like that.

    Anyway, after that, the idea of acquiring and reading the rest of Fables lost what urgency it had for me.

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