Pixel Scroll 8/16 Waiting for Our Vote to Come In

When I came home last night my place had no power because a fuse had blown. I waited til this morning to be able to find the fusebox in daylight. Here’s as far as I got with yesterday’s Pixel Scroll, which in Wikipedia parlance is more of a Pixel Stub..

(1) Greg Machlin has finalized the File 770 meetup location at Sasquan.

The Worldcon File770 meetup, Thursday, Aug. 20, at 530 PM, will be at SARANAC PUBLIC HOUSE, 21 West Main Avenue, a very short (2 block) walk from the Convention Center.

They have food, drink, vegan and vegetarian food, and affordable prices:

SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUN with that prior sentence, people. DO NOT DISAPPOINT.

They know to expect at least 25, and not to expect us all at once. There’s a bar, so milling is a definite possibility.

Morris Keesan made an interesting discovery:

… and on the Google map, it appears to be next door to the Justice League.

Saranac map CROP

(2) Courtesy of Geekcrafts, socks to wear on your next Trek.

Linda Jo Park, of BeadKnitter Patterns, has created some out-of-this-world socks in honor of Captain Picard from Star Trek. You can find her pattern here.

She also suggests that the pattern could be easily adapted to reference other characters:

There’s no reason why a person couldn’t do them in Captain Kirk gold, Spock blue (you get two choices there), or even Deanna Trois lavender. Or perhaps you’d rather have Gorn green.

(3) Footage of Mark Twain shot by Thomas Edison in 1909, from Mental Floss.

Edison and Twain were close friends. In 1909, Edison visited Twain’s estate in Redding, CT and filmed the famous author. The silent footage is the only known recording of Twain in existence. It first appeared in a 1909 production of Twain’s “The Prince and Pauper,” and it shows Twain wearing his trademark white suit, puffing a cigar. Twain would die one year later.

(4) Sarah A. Hoyt is warming up for Sad Puppies 4 in “It’s All About the Bling”.

When we set out on this, back in the dim days of our first discussions of Sad Puppies (I object, of course.  I have cats) the goal was to make the Hugo worth something again.  Granted, we can’t cater for everyone’s taste.  If you’re a heavy mil-sf guy and the prize goes to hard sci fi it won’t be to your taste.  BUT to cater to the “literary” crowd is to cater to the tiniest fandom in SF.  (I found this out in sincere arguments with agents while looking for one between my third and fourth.  They all wanted me to write literary sf — because I CAN do it — because it would win awards and increase THEIR prestige (and make me slit my wrists in a warm bath if I had to write much more of it.  It was no fun.) But they all candidly informed me that it sold almost nothing and so I should try to get a job teaching or write for literary journals or something.  Why do you think they kept telling us that Ancillary Justice as a “fun space opera” — because no one buys “literary”.  Or yeah, some people do, but not enough to keep you in writer kibble.

Our idea, goofy as it sounds was to get some good books/good names associated with the Hugo, so Hugo would mean a boost in print run again.

[Thanks to Will R., Michael J. Walsh and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of yesterday Will R.]

362 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/16 Waiting for Our Vote to Come In

  1. I don’t quite know enough physiology to know for sure, but in The Three Body Problem, I found it suspicious that the protagonist saw the flicker of a Morse signal transmitted in “a faint red light”, when the signal consisted of more than 50 pulses a second. That seems to be at the limits of human perception.

    In movies, there is one where Jason Bourne (I think) leaves a bank in Zurich and emerges onto a street in Prague…

  2. Gabriel F. on August 17, 2015 at 7:46 pm said:

    It’s a bit uncomfortable, but mostly I just find it impossible to actually like the protagonist because there isn’t enough “her” to hang liking on. And a bit of discomfort because I’m mentally ill and sometimes the text feels a bit like the inside of my head has been on bad days.

    That book is still stuck in my head. Unsettled me deeply.

  3. @microtherion Or the Transformers movie where they break through the wall of the Smithsonian and directly out into remote mountainous countryside.

  4. Oh, on inaccuracies, I didn’t think about this one until people started talking about animals, but I grew up on a small farm and sometimes roll my eyes at the way they’re portrayed. Cattle, especially, are faster and smarter and (this is the uncomfortable bit) have quite a bit more personality than their popular image suggests. And a “farm wife” is basically just a farmer who’s a married woman. In stories set past the point where most farms could own at least a small tractor, she’d be as likely to be directly involved in agricultural production as doing housework.

  5. I think anything set in London gets the London-is-a-magical-city exemption. It is easy to spot the errors but then British TV shows set in London with writers who live in London and actors who live in London and crews who live in London made by TV production companies based in London and which are then watched by viewers a hefty proportion of which also live in London also make use of the many eldritch portals scattered around London’s streets.

    I recall watching a car chase in the venerable police-procedural soap opera “The Bill” in which the cars magically switched sides of the Thames and when they did cross bridges did so further up river than made any sense.

  6. RedWombat: But that was Hudson Hawk. You know, the movie where they hired the Rocky and Bullwinkle narrator for narration and intentionally filmed a conversation in a car so the ocean was on both sides, never mind the macguffins hidden in objects smaller than they are… I would be amazed if they didn’t intentionally put in sound effects from the wrong birds on purpose. It’s in keeping with the aesthetic.

  7. Someone mentioned the TV show “24?”
    The Fox TV studio is literally across the street from my apt. They leased part of a building in the next block for ’24’. San Fernando Valley generic building, except when they went to Santa Clarita for something that looked wilder.

  8. Filmic deconstructions of geography aren’t errors, really. They’re compromises. You can’t always film on a specific location and have to cobble some sense of movement together.

    In a story or novel, there’s no such excuse.

  9. You can’t always film on a specific location and have to cobble some sense of movement together.

    Well, in No Way Out there is also the part where Costner and Young drive to West Virginia by going the wrong direction on the GW Parkway. I’m not sure how that can be excused.

  10. I do not think I need to defend myself against Sarah Hoyt’s claims. I have, very much, enjoyed reading the comments sharing backgrounds, as it is a community builder and describer.

    My father worked at a farm during the Great Depression, because he was paid in food.

    Living somewhat near Boston, his father (my grandfather) grew potatoes in his yard, and was very popular.

    Their Fitchburg neighbors took a pot-metal bucket and collected all the lard, meat drippings, fat cuttings, and collected them for a community meal. Bring a crust a bread, and you could dip it in the pot. Perhaps because they lived near an Italian ghetto, this was called “grease-a-ruzzi.”

    This is not my story. This is my father’s story. My story is simple: I grew up poor.

  11. @Hampus “When watching action movies, I always think that they have their hero points they use to escape damage. They make much more sense as live action role playing games.”

    Just re-watched Last of the Mohicans last night. Spent a lot of the time thinking ‘these three must be really high level compared to everyone else’.

  12. Gabriel F. –

    It’s not just in SF, but it happens a hell of a lot in fantasy-oriented stuff, and ESPECIALLY horror, in addition to modern media…

    Rats.

    As someone who also had a rat as a pet, and one of my favorites though it’s hard to choose, I have the same issue. Only in addition they’re meant to look creepy but usually I’m all ‘aw lookit how cute that rat is’ because they use pet store rats instead of the dirty sewer rats (because that would be gross).

    The Drowning Girl is on my TBR list but my library doesn’t have it so it’s at the bottom. Hope it finishes strong for you, I’ve heard good things.

  13. I agree with everybody who mentioned being confused about which direction the ocean lies.

    Everybody *knows* that the ocean is to the east! This has been confusing my subconscious for all the years that I have been living on the Other Coast.

  14. Concur on Sneakers. Wonderful movie.

    My latest recent annoyance with Hollywood has been Vikings and one of the Star Trek movies.

    ‘They didn’t just yell “Shield Wall!” and then run off in all directions! And where did those Saxons get morion helmets?!’

    and

    ‘From near the moon to crashing into LA? That isn’t how distance or gravity work!!!!!!!’

  15. @GabrielF: The only rats that are really noisy are actually the babies. The little “nest full of baby birds” racket they make when nursing is nuts. You’d think that prey-animal babies would be a bit more discreet!

    Actually, you don’t: the rats are screeching for the same reason that baby birds do. It’s straight-up child/parent extortion: “feed me, or else I’ll attract a predator that kills us all”. Babies are ruthless bastards, no matter what the species.

  16. Filmic deconstructions of geography aren’t errors, really. They’re compromises. You can’t always film on a specific location and have to cobble some sense of movement together.

    Yeah. In THELMA & LOUISE, according to story and dialogue they’re driving from, what, Louisiana most of the way around Texas and then to the Grand Canyon?

    In the actual scenery, they’re driving north on I-5 in California north of the Bay Area for a while, and then south on I-5, and then north, then south, and so on.

    But they’re not doing it by mistake any more than NCIS’s many “location” scenes are all in Southern California instead of Iraq, Virginia, or wherever. They know full well they’re in the wrong place, but they can’t afford the real ones.

    So I can forgive it when SLEEPY HOLLOW has the characters driving around in the desert script of “Westchester County.”

    I don’t forgive it, so much, when they reveal that the ancient Indian tribes of downstate New York’s expansive ranchlands use scorpions in their magic rituals. That’s going out of their way to get it wrong.

  17. @RedWombat “but when there’s a whippoorwill in Hudson Hawk in…”

    You just be careful l saying bad things about Hudson Hawk- Or I might pout in your general direction!

  18. @Jamoche: I’ll allow it. 🙂

    @Morris: Soap on the bows is brilliant. I can cut string players in movies a *little* bit of slack–if they’re non-players, the idea of doing take after take with horrible screeching is perhaps an unfair burden.

    @Kyra: Fellow theatre producer here (low-budget stuff)! Fan of Shakespeare in Love, I kinda enjoyed Birdman (Selma and Boyhood were robbed). I somehow missed the inaccuracies (aside from there not being someone at the door for Michael Keaton) and would not object hearing about them.

    My name, is. Werner Barnes–my–voice is. My passport? Verify. Me!

  19. @Cassie B, I would highly recommend Thunder Below! by Admiral Fluckey. Pretty damn awesome yarn. I will admit to a large soft spot for submarines though.

    Which brings me to the other topic of the thread, things that bring me out of a show/book. Most shows/movies are ridiculous to actual veterans, but the depiction of submarines are particularly egregious. Crimson Tide, that series where a boomer took over an island country, etc. Frankly the best depiction of a submarine in the media was Down Periscope. That flick got burned a lot on the boat.

  20. Re ocean direction confusion: Living in a city on an isthmus means there is no issue for me! Of course, all west coast beaches have black sand…

  21. I’m with Greg. Kyra, please tell us more about Birdman.

    I enjoyed it, but claim little knowledge of theater-folk. Most of what I do know is from The Great Lorenzo, and as we all know, he was a famous liar.

  22. @Greg

    My name, is. Werner Barnes–my–voice is. My passport? Verify. Me!

    As much as I do love Sneakers, that scene utterly ruined “Leroy Brown” for me.

  23. In terms of weird geography, Rumble in the Bronx always amuses me. I’ll give the movie the giant pagoda-like structure. I guess you could get the permits for something like that even without bribing a building inspector. But there is no Bronx mountain range. And while Orchard Beach is nicer than it was when I was kid, I am fairly certain the City has not added a hovercraft rental concession.

    Also, while I enjoy Law & Order, writers for it and other cop shows clearly do not understand the difference between county and state time. You cannot do a “5 year bid” at Rikers. It is essentially a county jail. Sentences of a year and under can be served as county time in City jails. Sentences of over a year are state time in prisons run by the state DOC.

    One of my mom’s sticking points always amuses me. She likes A Princess of Mars, and why not, it’s a fun book. She has no problem with John Carter falling asleep in a cave on earth and being magically sent to Mars by a witch. She has no problem with Mars having an atmosphere and being inhabited. But a man from a live birth species having a baby with a woman from an egg laying species, THAT she has a problem with.

  24. In Hawaii, they use “mauka” to mean towards the mountain, and “makai” to mean towards the sea, so that as you go around an island you don’t have to adjust to the fact that the mountain used to be east and now it’s north.

    I don’t generally worry about geographical inaccuracies in movies and tv shows. Often I think it’s clever how they can set the stage with “wrong” information. (Sometimes it’s just laziness, but sometimes it’s cleverness.)

    My favorite book in terms of geography is Black Alice by Tom Disch and John Sladek. (Omigod, the spellchecker inserted ‘Tom Discharge.”) Part of it is set in Baltimore, and their entire research consisted of buying a street map. They used real street names, but none of them resembled the actual streets. It was fascinating to read.

  25. The most egregious geographical howler I remember was in a role-playing supplement, and I don’t remember at present whether it saw print or was a rejected submission. (I should also point out, perhaps, that I am breaking no confidences; this did not involve my current employer, and was a good decade-plus ago anyway.) Regardless, someone thought that what a sourcebook on New Orleans really needed was a comprehensive study of the city’s extensive sewer system and the labyrinth connected to it.

  26. I know that downtown L.A. has been used as a stand-in for New York City, quite a lot. It could be amusing to get of the subway at Pershing Square and come out of the station at, for example 5th Avenue, near Madison Square Garden. (King Kong did that. I’m not sure how well their disguises worked for the queen palms.)

  27. @Jon F. Zeigler: “Space really doesn’t work the way a lot of creators think it does.”

    For instance, crowded asteroid belts are really not much of a thing. Take a planet’s mass and smear it all along its orbit, and you get a lot of nothing between rocks.

    And BTW, since I forgot earlier – happy birthday!

    @Fugue: (chaos theory as plot device)

    What you have to realize is that scripts… find a way. 😉

  28. I just got back from a day of land based whale watching (which was great) and came back to everyone’s comments on my ‘cringe’ question – so thank you!

    I recall watching a car chase in the venerable police-procedural soap opera “The Bill” in which the cars magically switched sides of the Thames and when they did cross bridges did so further up river than made any sense.

    Considering we saw The Bill filmed in Hampstead and Battersea (across the street from my then flat), for a series set near Greenwich, it’s amazing it looks remotely realistic. But then those council estates all look very samey after a while.

  29. Or the Transformers movie where they break through the wall of the Smithsonian and directly out into remote mountainous countryside.

    See also the battle that seems to have the Pyramids on the outskirts of Petra.

    As far as the Connie Willis “Why don’t they walk?” thing: That is a very common mistake made by visitors to London. There’s this lovely tube map which shows where all the important things are, the streets above are a weird maze. So you take a 25 minute tube journey, involving a change of lines, to avoid an apparent long walk that’s just an artifact of the map.

  30. @Lenora et al.

    the same ways I understand Connie Willis got London wrong in Blackout/All Clear – assuming things are well far apart that are within easy reach and that ilk

    Connie Willis didn’t just get London wrong, she got England wrong. Skunk cabbage and garter snakes? She implies that one can make a trunk call at a pillar box.

    Her London underground knowledge was abysmal – she had tube lines that wouldn’t open for decades operating in her war time Britain, and incorrect (for the time) station names. It isn’t as though there are period tube maps on the internet or anything.

    There are loads more problems as well – one of the most shockingly researched books I’ve seen. Yet ISTR that Willis has talked about all the research she did for the books. There are also problems on the plot and characterisation fronts too I felt. A very poor Hugo winner IMO.

    Currently reading Halfway Human by Carolyn Ives Gilman.

  31. Sarah Hoyt:
    (I object, of course. I have cats)

    See? There is some good in everybody!

  32. Yes, it’s weird that the Puppies snarl about Redshirts and Ancillary Justice, the only Hugo-winning novels since 2000 which were actually about spaceships!

  33. Ann Somerville on August 17, 2015 at 10:58 pm said:

    Considering we saw The Bill filmed in Hampstead and Battersea (across the street from my then flat), for a series set near Greenwich, it’s amazing it looks remotely realistic. But then those council estates all look very samey after a while.

    Not the most cheery of sites.
    I saw the Gary Oldman* directed film Nil by Mouth at a cinema in Peckham. Oddest experience moving from cinematic gritty reality in SE London to actual gritty reality in SE London.

    [ObSF: I seem to recall Oldman’s fee for acting in the Fifth Element helped pay for the movie]

  34. Regarding Birdman:

    Well, first, there were a couple of specific off things that stood out to me.

    For one thing, the idea that “one big critic can make or break your Broadway show” hasn’t been true for a loooooong time now. (Also the idea that preview performances don’t matter because no one cares until the critics show up.) This was especially jarring in a film which actually had an emphasis on how widespread the internet is and how much more people pay attention to it. At the very least, people are looking at aggregations of reviews now, not just subscribing to the New York Times and going based on that alone. And in fact, word of mouth, amateur reviews, even tweets have become of great importance. Performers will certainly fret about reviews, but the “oh no the one important critic hates us we are doomed!” plot appeared to have been written by someone who time traveled here from the dim mists of the distant past.

    For another, it irked me that a film about a guy who is adapting a Raymond Carver story because he loved Raymond Carver and wanted to honor Raymond Carver chose to adapt a version of the story that Raymond Carver HATED because it had been edited by Gordon Lish so heavily that it was unrecognizable. And the original version has been published and is readily available. This is stuff that’s so well known it’s on Wikipedia, five minutes of dramaturgy would have uncovered it. But neither the adaptor nor the actor who’s such a big Raymond Carver fan that he’s memorized the show before his first rehearsal cares.

    But honestly, it was mostly that it was … too over the top. I’ve dealt with a lot of things the movie covers, or similar issues. Theater is a strange world. I’ve indeed dealt with last minute replacement actors and performers showing up to rehearsal drunk. Also exes cast as lovers having a bitter fight in the middle of rehearsal, actors storming out of rehearsal in a huff, actors breaking down in tears, and once an actor missing a dress rehearsal because he was being held as a political prisoner in South America.

    Nonetheless, I still watched Birdman and thought, this is not realistic. The behind the scenes drama is pitched way too high to be believable.

  35. Camestros — In the mid-80s I saw Donald Sutherland starring in an Agatha Christie movie in which there was a scene filmed in the cinema in which I was watching the film, the camera being situated in the aisle next to the seat I was sitting in. A very… interesting experience. It’s a good thing I don’t do drugs.

  36. Nicholas Whyte

    In the Blitz? That is deeply, deeply wrong.

    Also, the question about which ignorance pisses me off: money, financial instruments, markets, particularly financial markets, did I mention money?

    The truly bizarre thing about people whining about Scalzi’s deal was that it was blindingly obvious that they were completely clueless about the way markets operates. There is nothing wrong with being completely clueless about the way markets operate provided the ignoramus recognises that fact. I don’t understand astrophysics but I know that, when it comes to astrophysics, I’m an ignoramus.

    Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to puppidum; just reading the stuff Mike quotes here makes my fillings hurt. Fantasy land in which agents beg their writers to produce unsellable works so the agent can live happily on 15% of nothing…

  37. @Kyra
    I thought the ‘one crucial critic’ thing worked as shorthand. There are many influential theatre critics and journalists who would think, “what the hell does this has-been cinema action hero know about theatre?” and be inclined to pan the production, and collectively they would be very influential. Condense them all into a single critic and he can have a conversation with that character in a bar.
    And I think there’s a strong suggestion that this has-been cinema action hero knows very little about theatre or Carver, and the play is awful! (which partly explains the over-the-top backstage drama – the writer/director/star is in way over his head and has lost control)

  38. NelC on August 18, 2015 at 3:14 am said:

    Camestros — In the mid-80s I saw Donald Sutherland starring in an Agatha Christie movie in which there was a scene filmed in the cinema in which I was watching the film, the camera being situated in the aisle next to the seat I was sitting in. A very… interesting experience. It’s a good thing I don’t do drugs.

    I can’t top that experience – although in Avengers Age of Ultron Captain America has been hexed by Scarlet Witch and hallucinates that he is in a 1940s dance hall – which so happened to be the location where I had my 30th birthday party, so it was sort of like he was hallucinating that he was at my 30th birthday party.

  39. > “I thought the ‘one crucial critic’ thing worked as shorthand.”

    The argument I’d make against that assessment is that ‘one crucial critic’ is a cliche plot device for fiction-about-theater, and it’s a dated one. It’s like a ‘cooking a big dinner for your spouse’s boss’ plot, or a ‘they cannot be contacted because no one has a cell phone’ plot. To me, it doesn’t play like shorthand — it plays like someone got their knowledge of how things work from old sitcoms.

    And I’d believe Riggan Thompson knows jack about Carver, but if that were intentional, why doesn’t Mike Shiner, who is supposed to know something about Carver, complain about it? It seems more likely to me that the scriptwriter didn’t know and didn’t care.

    Basically, I found it unlikely that these things were intentional. YMMV, of course.

  40. Rrede sed

    I dislike the persona Tom Cruise so often projects.

    I voted Edge of Tomorrow lower than I possibly might have for the very reason of not liking Cruise’s character; even in his redeemed state near the end.

  41. I know almost nothing about England and less about London, but my grandmother, who grew up there and actually lived through the Blitz, loved those Willis books.

  42. Re: Geographical uncertainty — years and years ago I saw a guide-book to Chicago entitled “The Lake Is East.” A quick google doesn’t turn it up; it’s likely long out of print. Always struck me as an excellent name for a guide-book, however. Gives you the most important information right there up front…

    And alexvdl, my brother-in-law worked on “Down Periscope.” It was apparently a rather surreal experience; they filmed it partly on an actual navy submarine and there were guards posted to keep them out of “off limits” areas, and (if I recall his stories correctly) they had large parts of the bridge draped off so nobody could see the controls….

  43. nickpheas on August 18, 2015 at 12:11 am said:
    As far as the Connie Willis “Why don’t they walk?” thing: That is a very common mistake made by visitors to London. There’s this lovely tube map which shows where all the important things are, the streets above are a weird maze. So you take a 25 minute tube journey, involving a change of lines, to avoid an apparent long walk that’s just an artifact of the map.

    This is why I’ve always hated the London Underground map. It’s pretty but absolutely useless unless you already know your way around, in which case it’s redundant. New York, Paris, Chicago can make sensible useful maps but London sticks with artistic confusion. The one place I demand nutty nuggets is in transportation cartography.

  44. Only in addition they’re meant to look creepy but usually I’m all ‘aw lookit how cute that rat is’

    That’s my problem too. It really amused me when I was re-watching Hellraiser, and Clive Barker and his co-commenters were all saying the same thing — that it was hard to get any effect other than sweet little rats looking at you sweetly.

    All animal-horror has the same problem. Even fairly deadly predators just don’t look scary unless they’re actively threatening you right at this moment. One of the seasons of True Blood had a special about how they got the wolves to snarl menacingly. It turns out that if you give them a piece of meat and then take it away from them… they don’t like that.

    The thing I probably complain about the most is women’s clothing and makeup. It’ll violate character, period verisimilitude, and even basic continuity. Like I’ll point out to my husband, “see, she was wearing these ridiculous tottery spike heels, and now magically she’s wearing boots instead because she has to run.” 1960s period films are terrible for having women who are supposedly living in the Middle Ages or the 19th century having bouffant hair and cat eyeliner.

  45. Rev. Bob on August 17, 2015 at 10:21 pm said:
    The most egregious geographical howler I remember was in a role-playing supplement, and I don’t remember at present whether it saw print or was a rejected submission. (I should also point out, perhaps, that I am breaking no confidences; this did not involve my current employer, and was a good decade-plus ago anyway.) Regardless, someone thought that what a sourcebook on New Orleans really needed was a comprehensive study of the city’s extensive sewer system and the labyrinth connected to it.

    I may have seen that one, or something very like it.

    It’s an awful thing to think, but after Hurricane Katrina clobbered New Orleans and it was all over the news, I wondered if all the gothic stories and games set there might start getting it a little more accurate.

  46. The Carver stuff in Birdman didn’t bother me for one reason:

    The Gish-edited version of the story remains far more widely known and is leagues better than what Carver’s widow dug out of a box.

    Not every Carver fan is going to change their opinion because Tess Gallagher says they should.

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