Pixel Scroll 8/4 The Dead Wallaby of Clown Town

Money, money, money – we cover the spectrum from scarcity to infinite wealth in today’s Scroll.

(1) David Pascoe (“Trekking With The Green-Eyed Monster” on According To Hoyt) knows something that nobody else knows. ‘Cause he made it up:

It occurs, what with the Hugo voting just finished, and the results to be announced in a couple of week, that most of the Puppy Kickers are suffering from an excess of envy. I mean, think about it: the prospect of Jim Butcher (or Kevin Anderson, etc.) receiving a shiny, rocket-shaped object is so painful to them that they’re willing to ruin the award’s (remaining shreds of) credibility to prevent it. It’s accepted wisdom at this point that a move to limit voting to attending memberships will be advanced at the WSFS business meeting at Sasquan. While there’s a good deal of speculation over whether such a motion will even get approved (what then, would supporting members get for their hard earned filthy lucre? How could WorldCon possibly garner any kind of diverse, international support by shutting out anybody who can’t afford to fly across an ocean to come to the majority of conventions?), that it’s not reduced to backroom rumor mills is a sign of how strong the desire is to keep out the undesirable types.

Use this link to keep track of new business actually submitted to Sasquan.

(2) Bob Eggleton has some more anecdotes and critiques about Worldcon art shows, and in the last paragraph alludes to professional shows that are competing effectively for artists’ attention, which may be the most important influence on the fate of the Worldcon art show.

Illuxcon had risen in 2008 and, it started being for many pro artists the model for such a quality artshow. Security, professional hangings, a sense of overall quality to the show and one where artists, art fans and art collectors could come and be treated all well. No politics or stupidity or getting caught in some “fan” feud or political battle. Everyone gets on. Everyone does fairly well. Spectrum Live also fills a similar need. So maybe there is hope, but it requires a new and consistent sustainable model for such shows.

(3) Ahrvid Engholm’s post about Girl With The Dragon Tattoo author Stieg Larsson at Europa SF reminds readers about Larsson’s beginnings as a fanzine fan, and draws attention to a successor’s work on a new Millennium series novel that is coming out late this month.

An avid science fiction reader from an early age, he became active in Swedish science fiction fandom around 1971; co-edited, together with Rune Forsgren his first fanzine, Sfären, in 1972; and attended his first science fiction convention, SF•72, in Stockholm. Through the 1970s, Larsson published around 30 additional fanzine issues; after his move to Stockholm in 1977, he became active in the Scandinavian SF Society where he was a board member in 1978 and 1979, and chairman in 1980. In his first fanzines, 1972–74, he published a handful of early short stories, while submitting others to other semi-professional or amateur magazines. He was co-editor or editor of several science fiction fanzines, including Sfären and FIJAGH!; in 1978–79, he was president of the largest Swedish science-fiction fan club, Skandinavisk Förening för Science Fiction (SFSF).

The Swedish morning paper Dagens Nyheter August the 2nd published an “exclusive diary” by David Lagercrantz, covering his work with writing the new Millennium novel.

(4) Responding to a report that “Most of the [Hugo] votes were cast in the final week before the deadline, over 3,000,” Vox Day suggests —

Something to consider: on July 24th, I posted my complete Hugo recommendations. I am NOT saying those are all Puppy votes, only that there may be a connection.

(5) J. A. Micheline explains “Why I’m Boycotting Marvel Comics” at Comics Alliance.

First, came your quiet decision to hand the new Blade book over to two white creators. To be clear, I have no reason to think either creator will do a bad job on this book, but I was disappointed that one of Marvel’s most prominent black heroes would be handed to white people yet again.

I feel like I have to say this five or six times. Whenever this comes up, I get a tsunami of white people wondering what my problem is and suggesting I’m racist for saying white people can’t write about people of color. It’s not that white people can’t; it’s not even that they shouldn’t (except in some circumstances that I have written about almost ad nauseam recently) — it’s that white people are the ones who, historically and systemically, are consistently offered the opportunity. And in 2015, perhaps the right thing to do is to let people of color have a turn.

But that wasn’t the dealbreaker for Micheline, it was the string of gaffes that followed, beginning with —

The moment you and I really started having a problem, Marvel, was when your editor-in-chief all but laughed off the numerous critiques of the variants. Axel Alonso’s interview with CBR was unspeakably condescending and horrendously dismissive. From using scare quotes to frame the discussion to referring, to outcry from David Brothers and other readers/critics as a “small but very loud contingent,” to — and this is the part that I pretty much can’t forgive — indicating that we had suddenly learned the phrase ‘cultural appropriation’ and were eager to use it in an essay.

(6) Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam will appear at Live Talks Los Angeles on October 19, 2015 at the Alex Theatre. It’s the launch event for Gilliam’s memoir.

Gilliamesque-hc-s-227x300In Gilliamesque, his “pre-posthumous memoir,” he offers an intimate glimpse into his world in this fascinating book illustrated with hand-drawn sketches, notes, and memorabilia from his personal archive.

From his no-frills childhood in the icy wastes of Minnesota, to some of the hottest water Hollywood had to offer, via the cutting edge of 1960s and ’70s counter-culture in New York, L.A. and London, Terry Gilliam’s life has been as vivid, entertaining and unorthodox as one of his films.

(7) Larry Correia is selling a second series of challenge coins. Jack Wylder gives the details at the link.

2) Instead we’re doing it through the MHI Swag page: https://mhiswag.myshopify.com/ Important: Do NOT order yet! Wait until all 12 designs are finalized and up there so you only have to order once. Even if you’re planning on buying a complete set, hold off- we have a few other items we’ll be introducing along the way that might interest you. In fact, I’m not even going to put them on the site until all has been revealed…

This is the first of the series —


(8) At Bloomberg, Noah Smith writes about “Star Trek Economics: Life After the Dismal Science”.

I grew up watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (easily the best of the Star Trek shows). There’s one big, obvious thing missing from the future society depicted in the program. No one is doing business. There is almost no one buying and selling, except for a few species for whom commerce is a form of traditional religion. Food and luxuries are free, provided by “replicators” — machines capable of creating essentially anything from pure energy. Recreation, provided by virtual reality, is infinite in scope. Scarcity — the central defining concept of economics — seems to have been eliminated.

Is this really the future? Is it possible? Is it something we want?

Wait ‘til Smith discovers the Culture novels of Iain M. Banks…

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

363 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/4 The Dead Wallaby of Clown Town

    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin – standing in for the whole Earthsea trilogy, on the grounds of I Feel Like It.

    Criteria for this matchup:
    – world-building that tries to think outside of the Western European box
    – excellence in dragons
    – a thought-out system of magic
    – female POV
    – serious thinking about religion
    – no supernatural evil
    – trees (tie)

    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett — mostly for that book specifically, but also standing in for all of Discworld, on the grounds of I Say So.
    Criteria for this match-up:
    – no species (“race”) is intrinsically evil
    – wide variety of role models for small humans and dogs (cats need no role models).
    – DEATH
    – politically and culturally complex world-building
    – characters from all levels of society
    – ha-ha-only-serious thinking about religion
    – evolution
    – humor


    The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
    Criteria for this matchup:
    All of them.

    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Criteria for this matchup:
    – prose of shocking beauty
    – humor
    – a female character who’s important and sympathetic even though she’s not beautiful
    – songs that I actually try singing (tie)


    What Book Should Have Won?


    – fully-realized descriptions of trees, landscapes, weather, phase of the moon, so the world seems like a *world*, not just the backdrop for stories about people.
    – Tolkien notices that we’re in the middle of an ecological disaster, and he really cares.
    – trees (tie with Le Guin)
    – languages
    – history
    – four heroes: Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Gandalf. The lead hero, Frodo, isn’t royalty, a mighty warrior, nor a magic-user. He doesn’t rise in power or social class over the course of the story. This is the aspect of LOTR that is least imitated, and I am so sick of how aristocratic, monarchial, and magical-“meritocratic” fantasy is these days.
    – Slash. I loved Frodo/Sam and Legolas/Gimli before I knew what it was I was loving.
    – Faramir was My First Boyfriend. Happily, Mr Dr Science reports that Eowyn was his First Girlfriend.
    – Sam Gamgee.
    – Frodo & Sam’s journey to Mordor is a great depiction of World War I and of the reality of war, during the 20th century at least.
    – Frodo succeeds, but he doesn’t live happily ever after. World-saving adventure is like that.
    – best read-aloud (especially when Mr Dr Science does Gollum)

  2. She’s an obscure indie SF author with one novel and 86 Twitter followers.

    She also wrote a ridiculous “manifesto” for the Puppies, and has a thing about how taverns and snow can’t be in science fiction.

  3. Aaron: And don’t forget, she exposed the conspiracy to deny Terry Pratchett a Hugo!

  4. Kyra:

    Are you keeping track of the voting in a spreadsheet of some sort? Something you could put up online when we’re done? I’d like to make a graphic of the competition.

  5. Er, it’s not so much a “spreadsheet” as a “messy Word document with the bits and pieces in no particular order”.

    (But it does have all the vote totals, so it’d be fairly easy to cut them out and post them if you’d like.)

  6. To the person who suggested Archivist Wasp, thank you. I opened it after loading it on my Kindle, read the first few sentences of the prologue, and was suddenly halfway through the book. While it’s not perfect, it sure was a compelling read. I had difficulty putting it down. It’s a strong maybe for my Hugo list next year.

    Just a thought on Tolkien, I bounced off Lord of the Rings in elementary school and high school, but when I tried it again in college I was amazed at how good it had become. Pity I never thought to try The Hobbit until after I read Lord of the Rings. This thought should not be taken as a vote in the brackets, as I have abstained from voting thus far and intend to continue to abstain.

  7. Guys, I’m a little uncomfortable with ragging on her for being an obscure indie SF author, and I say this from having a pen-name who’s an obscure indie fantasy author. (I’m sure no one meant to be ragging on her for that, but it’s kinda coming off that way with the repetitions.) Indie SF authors could do extraordinary good in the world. This one…doesn’t, particularly, at least with regards to broader fandom, (though for all I know she donates money to orphaned wallabies) but we all started out obscure with a couple people on Twitter who followed us at random and I feel awkward deriding anyone for still being at that point in the journey, however regrettable their stated intentions may be.

  8. @rrede:

    “We’re marching off to Mordor, fa la la la la la la la!”

    (Okay, so that filk’s probably going to Baum with the audience…)


    I have this sinking feeling that I know precisely how KP came to the attention of the Puppies, but I would really like to be wrong. Her surname doesn’t exactly fade into the woodwork, and I know someone else who shares not only the name, but also an agreement with the Puppy philosophy and connections to many “name brand” Puppies. (As distinct from their followers, that is.)

    It all goes back to a certain end-of-June convention…

  9. She also wrote a ridiculous “manifesto” for the Puppies, and has a thing about how taverns and snow can’t be in science fiction.

    I regard both of these as signs of a lack of taste and common sense, but honestly, I don’t care if she starts a cult requiring that all adherents refuse to accept SF works involving taverns, I don’t care if she, personally, thinks that Beale’s body of work is better than Bujold, I don’t care if she wanders around professing that you can only be a SF fan if you vote for donald trump. If she does something that isn’t a slate (or a “nudge-nudge, wink-wink definitely not a slate but you should totally think about voting for these five entries for every category”), I’ve got no beef with her.

  10. I second what Laura “Tegan” wrote at 6:41 PM. Archivest Wasp was much enjoyed.

    Reading Judith Tarr’s Forgotten Suns now, and am really really liking it. May even have to nominate it, on my own slate!

  11. Guys, I’m a little uncomfortable with ragging on her for being an obscure indie SF author …

    I don’t have a problem with obscure indie SF authors, so I hope people won’t take my calling her that as an insult to all of them. Getting your fiction out there by any means necessary and trying to find an audience is an admirable pursuit.

    I only noted her obscurity because she’s being treated as an authority her accomplishments in SF would not justify. And that’s only going to get worse as the next Puppies campaign begins in earnest early next year.

    People have said here and elsewhere that suggestions be made to Paulk on excellent works so that the Puppies slate is better next time. That drives me nuts. Why would anyone who hates bloc voting and the malicious burn-down-the-Hugos campaign want to lend it the legitimacy of kowtowing to Paulk?

  12. RedWombat on August 5, 2015 at 6:42 pm said:
    Guys, I’m a little uncomfortable with ragging on her for being an obscure indie SF author…

    Point taken, but mostly the ‘ragging’ has been simple description.

    (And: much of what we DO know about her is that by her own account, she’s not a careful reader.)

    The problem is that she has no obvious qualifications to be put forward as an arbiter of the state of the genre in 2015.

  13. My mother read The Hobbit to us when I was six and my brother was nine. What impressed me most were the goblin caves and Beorn. And then soon enough I read it for myself and LOTR, too, and loved Strider and named my dolls after Galadriel and Eowyn.

    But when I was about ten I received used copies of A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan for Christmas. I still have those copies. Their impact was so much deeper than the pleasure of LOTR. Arha/Tenar was a young girl in a story that was at once deeply female yet not at all girly. I loved the descriptions of The Place, the power of ritual even when it’s meaningless, Arha’s own ambivalence about it all. I loved Thar and Penthe and Manan and loved to hate Kossil. I did always have my doubts about the total condemnation of the religion, especially the sexism and Archipelago supremacism that was built in to that condemnation. On the other hand, I have not enjoyed Le Guin’s later attempts at rehabilitating Kargad mythology.

  14. My guess is that the Pups are going to have a slate next year. They’re just going to call it a recommendation list, so they can act all hurt when people aren’t fooled.

    But hey-maybe they won’t. Maybe their recommendation list will have forty things in each category, at which point it won’t mess up the voting very much provided the leaders don’t tell them which things to vote for.

    Maybe. It’s a thing that is technically possible.

    @Red Wombat–I’m looking forward to reading about Bob and the unicorn.

    I’m currently reading The Whitefire Crossing in paper and enjoying it very much. I have purchased Archivist Wasp seeing that it has been multiply recommended here. You folks are very bad for my book buying budget, but I’m finding a lot of great reading as a result.

  15. There have been so many books flying back and forth that I finally had to break down and check out Archivist Wasp. Then I remembered that Nicole Kornher-Stace wrote Desideria, which I enjoyed a lot despite some serious flaws.

    So looks like I bought another book.

    TIE. These are two works I admire, and which i enjoy rereading when I do pick them up, but which do not beckon me to reread with the same intensity as others, nor fill me with the same level of soft joy when I do, and while they have new depths and moments that reward a reread by a more mature mind, so do others.

    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Both quicker and more thoughtful than i had recalled.

    The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Molly Grue was always loved, but she is much more powerful when one is closer to her years and experience and tiredness and belief that a unicorn would not come to her. Schmendrick, too, improves with a more mature look. The unicorn is immortally herself, even if she has learned regret. And love.

    What Book Should Have Won? Abstain. I have half a dozen answers but also no answer. I chose Watership Down over Small Gods but am not sure it is the greater. I chose the Last Unicorn over Bridge of Birds but I may be wrong. Deerskin and Rose Daughter have their hold upon me but are they truly above Tolkien? Freedom and Necessity is superb but scarcely magical. I would happily send Digger and the Arrival head to head with all these AND Sandman, but are they even the same genre?

  17. Doctor Science — Hmm … I have a Livejournal account under the name kyrademon that I’ve just started using again. It looks like there’s some kind of send/receive messages function on it. You, um, might want to ping me here if you send me a message there, though, because checking that function it looks like I got one 7 years ago that I never knew about, so the “hey you have a message” alert doesn’t seem particularly robust.

  18. CPaca on August 5, 2015 at 3:17 pm said:

    And strangely enough, he styled himself “Jordan S. Bassior”. Just like “John C. Wright” or “Michael Z. Williamson”. Do we have enough data to justify a law about preening full-of-themselves right-wing jerks yet?

    The reason I use my middle initial is to not to be confused with the Canadian Michael Walsh and the NW gafiated fan Michael Walsh. And I’ve met of them.

    At the first Glasgow Worldcon the Marriott managed to merge, combine, blend, etc etc the two reservations by Michael Walsh who were separate individuals. Hilarity ensued.

  19. @Cat: The Whitefire Crossing – man, I love that and its sequel! I’m so looking forward to the final one (it was a Kickstarter, but at some point it’ll be available for sale – but hopefully you supported the Kickstarter ;-). Also, Courtney Schafer is interesting funny, and very polite and friendly to her fans. And I am so jealous of her reading prowess (she reads fast and absorbs it).

    Ahem. So yeah, I’m a fan of her and her books. 😉

  20. Oh and I must vote. Am I a bad person for perhaps voting for something because I feel like my votes with cancel out? 😉 I totally don’t understand this bracket, Kyra.

    The original Earthsea trilogy, Ursula K. Le Guin

    The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien


    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien


    OMG thanks to whoever suggested The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper – yes yes yes, I nominate the 5-book set! A thousand times yes!

  21. Michael J. Walsh, If your NW gafiated namesake is married to a woman named Martha, he’s my brother-in-law. But as you point out, it’s a very common name, so you might know a different NW gafiated fan…

    (Heck, I’ve been half-wondering if YOU were my brother-in-law. But I was embarrassed to ask.)

  22. As we head to a close, some additional awards for the authors:

    The “Cross-Genre Excellence” Award for doing well in both the fantasy and sci-fi brackets:
    1st place: Ursula K. Le Guin
    2nd place: Roger Zelazny
    Honorable Mention: C. J. Cherryh

    The “This Shall Not Stand!” award for initially off-bracket authors that got the strongest support:
    1st place: John M. Ford
    2nd place: Mervyn Peake
    3rd place (massive tie): John Myers Myers, C. J. Cherryh, Ellen Kushner, Glen Cook, Elizabeth Moon

    The “But We Love You LOUDEST” award for non-finalist fantasy author with the most vocal fan base:
    1st place: P. C. Hodgell
    2nd place: Diana Wynne Jones
    3rd place: John Myers Myers
    Honorable Mention: Karl Edward Wagner

  23. 1) Tolkien
    2) Pratchett
    3) Tolkien
    4) Tolkien
    5) The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien

    Those first three are very tough choices. I haven’t read The Last Unicorn, so the fourth was easier.

  24. Agreed about the danger of reading the comments here. Your recommendations have had a terrible effect on my budget. (shakes head ruefully, opens next book)

  25. Imagine me yelling “GOD STALK!” in the same tone as “SPACESHIP!” from the Lego Movie.

  26. But hey-maybe they won’t. Maybe their recommendation list will have forty things in each category, at which point it won’t mess up the voting very much provided the leaders don’t tell them which things to vote for.

    “Is it our fault only five good novelettes were published last year?”

  27. Cassy B. on August 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm said:

    Michael J. Walsh, If your NW gafiated namesake is married to a woman named Martha, he’s my brother-in-law. But as you point out, it’s a very common name, so you might know a different NW gafiated fan…

    (Heck, I’ve been half-wondering if YOU were my brother-in-law. But I was embarrassed to ask.)

    I believe/thought formerly married. And if the same MW, then I’ve met that Martha. And if she’s the same Martha, I have an amusingly signed copy of her first book that includes the line “oops, wrong Walsh” or something like that.

    The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
    Too personal for me, perhaps. I first read it at thirteen, which is a very long time ago, and it was the most powerful experience I’d had to date of feeling translated into a different world. A world where – for better or worse, in critical terms – you knew exactly what mattered. (I was an obsessive reader. I knew that feeling. But nothing else compared to this.) And then I didn’t read it again until two years ago, when my life was being smashed repeatedly against a rock. If I hadn’t had that book to help me transcend it, I’m not sure what would have become of me. It was so beautiful, and so much like coming home. And it broke my heart, but in a way that put the passing of all things into perspective.

    The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

    The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    For a different kind of magic than LotR possesses. For a lighter touch but no less beauty. Because I’m a sucker for good fools, and Schmendrick is that. Because no one else had written the Molly Grues of the world into a fantasy story and taken her seriously and given her dignity. Because compassion is a quality one doesn’t find often in fantasy.

    What should win? Lord, I don’t know. There are no shoulds. But Little, Big will always occupy that small shelf of necessary and beloved books which I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. (And what about The Book of the New Sun? Was that passed over in favor of The Knight’s Tale? Although I suppose it’s considered science fiction, not fantasy. I’d call it an enigmatic combination of genres.)

  29. Anno Dracula. I read that at a time when I tried to read every vampire book that was available. To think that there was a time when that even seemed possible.

  30. IDK
    I’m sorry you’re leaving, as your contributions were thoughtful and honest. I hope you’ll come back.

    from people’s comments, it seems that allegiance to Tolkien is stronger in people who first read LotR at younger ages and/or before reading other great fantasies. I read the books in my late 20s because LeGuin recommends them so strongly in The Language of the Night, and Earthsea had blown me away, and they were good but that was all. Plus I got tired of the lack of women, and don’t believe that evil can be isolated outside “us”. I had read too many of Tolkien’s successors, I think, to allow for the achievement he made. May have to back and try again.

  31. 1. The Lord of the Rings.
    2. The Lord of the Rings.
    3. The Lord of the Rings.
    4. Tie.

    Category 5 is not “what should be the winner” because obviously that’s The Lord of the Rings. “What wasn’t in the bracket that should have been in the finals” is The Sandman.

  32. I must abstain from this bracket, because I don’t like most as much as I do others that are not listed.

    My outside choice – God Stalk or Bridge of Birds.

  33. And Silverlock. What a great story.

    It would be nice to see a 21st century remake, if one could find an author with deep enough references.

  34. AYKBob:

    Yet I see that both Beale and Wright have announced that they are voting for themselves, “in every category possible”.

    Have they announced how they’re ranking themselves, in those categories where they nominated themselves multiple times?

  35. I’m holding out hope that Kate Paulk will … put out a recommended list with at least 10 works per category in eg. alphabetical order so as not to encourage a slate

    Why is it necessary for her to put out any list at all?
    Why not a post that says “The Hugo award nominations have opened up. Here is how to become a voting member of Worldcon, and here is where to send your nominations. If you want better works on the ballot, join Worldcon and nominate!”
    And maybe another post that says, “Hugo nominations are open for another 6 weeks. So far, these are the things I’m thinking of nominating – the comment thread is open for you to post your own recommendations!”

    If she posts “This is the Sad Puppy 4 recommendations list…”, whether it has 3 items per category or 10, she doesn’t understand what people are annoyed about.

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