Pixel Scroll 8/5 Closing Bracket

Four is fantastic, two is good, but two divided by one can only be sad, all in today’s Scroll.

(1) The quartet’s comic book shut down in April. They have a movie but do they have a future? Alex Pappademas remembers the original future of the Fantastic Four at Grantland.

I am jealous of Reed Richards. I am jealous of his Thinking Room, which appears to have floor-to-ceiling tablet-screen walls on which to write Beautiful Mind–ish equations. I am jealous of his having had 100-plus ideas. But I also relate to Reed. Reed has a wife and a family, but in order to see to their safety and security, he has to absent himself from their lives and spend long periods of time in the Thinking Room. As a professional writer, I relate very strongly to all of this…..

I became a fan of the Fantastic Four and specifically of Reed Richards when I was 32, reading those Dark Reign issues for the first time. My wife was pregnant with our daughter and I was trying — in vain, it turned out — to finish writing a book before the baby came. It would be great to be able to tell you that Reed Richards inspired me to keep going even when all seemed lost, but this isn’t that kind of story. I never finished the book. But during those months when I was trying, I returned again and again to that “SOLVE EVERYTHING” panel and imagined myself as the Reed Richards of my own family, unshaven in the lab, too smart not to realize my situation was hopeless and too desperate not to keep going.


(2) SF Signal’s newest Mind Meld feature asks:

Q:Why is gaming important for the development of your other creative pursuits? Have any video games you’ve played been especially influential in your career?

And Beth Cato, James L. Sutter, Josh Vogt, Monica Valentinelli, Nathan Beittenmiller, Carrie Patel, and Jen Williams answer.

(3) Frankenstein style light switch plates.

Turn your room into a horror movie mad scientist lab! Perfect for Halloween Haunted House!

The single switchplate is $9.99

black frankenstein switch

The dual switchplate is $14.99

double frankenstein switchplate

(4) We still don’t know when winter is coming, and George R.R. Martin has once again teased the release date without actually saying when it is.

Author George R.R. Martin is just as excited as everyone else for the release of his novel “Winds of Winter.” The book is the sixth installment in the series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” which is the basis for the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones.” Martin said in a recent interview he wants the book to be out as soon as possible and teased it holds a shocking twist for a major character.

Most of the material in the first five published books has now been used up and Season 6 of the TV series is already in production. Martin has constantly spoken about his desire to get the sixth book out as soon as possible, and a recent entry on his live journal Not A Blog has given fans hope the release date will be sooner rather than later.

In the blog, he spoke about traveling to a wedding and a baseball event in the East Coast. He signed off by leaving a faint hint the book may already be in the hands of his publishing house. “And while I will be travelling, my army of minions will be here at the old homestead, toiling in the paper mines,” he said.

(5) Arthur Chu, maybe the Puppies have a point about you after all.

(6) Yesterday’s scroll excerpted J. A. Micheline’s “Why I’m Boycotting Marvel Comics” at Comics Alliance.

Declan Finn decided to give it the Puppy treatment in “Boycotting Marvel: A Fisk” at The Catholic Geeks. Quotes from Micheline’s article are bold and underlined.

First, came your quiet decision to hand the new Blade book over to two white creators.

Um … Blade is about vampires. Not race relations, vampires.  You do understand that vampires are less a #BlackLivesMatter problem and more an #AllLivesMatter problem, don’t you? Or are you one of those people who would storm the stage with outrage at such a hashtag? Yes, you strike me as a very hashtag person. Heavy on the hash — and I mean hashish, not corned beef hash. I’m saying you’re high, not fat.

To be clear, I have no reason to think either creator will do a bad job on this book,

Oh, I think you just did.  You’ve quite implied already that because they’re white, this is a problem. Either their race is a problem, or it’s not — and since you went out of your way to say they’re white, this tells me quite clearly that this is a problem.

(7) Vice writer Cecilia D’Anastasio interviewed seven black cosplayers at Otakon for “What Black Anime Fans Can Teach Us About Race in America”. Chanel P. had this to say —

Were there any anime characters you identified with in particular?

I definitely identified with Sailor Jupiter [from Sailor Moon]. I was the tallest kid in my elementary school class. People would pick fun at me. She was shy, and so was I.

What do you think about the fact that there aren’t many black anime characters? Was that a barrier to engagement?

It was at first. When I first started coming to anime conventions, I was a bit afraid, actually, to cosplay any characters. I thought, They aren’t black, I can’t do that . I thought you had to actually look like the character in order to dress like her. But, I mean, I saw people of my skin tone dressing like the character they wanted and thought, I can do that too . I thought, I guess it doesn’t matter that there aren’t black characters. But I think we do need more black characters.

What’s it been like to cosplay?

The first time I cosplayed Sailor Moon was at Otakon last year. That was the first time I ever cosplayed. I got some pictures taken that were posted on the internet. I was excited, like, Hey I’m on the internet, yay! And then I read the comments. A lot of them weren’t good, at all. I got, “The cosplay is good, but she shouldn’t be black,” and “Oh, her skin is too dark,” and “Oh, her hair shouldn’t be blonde.” It was a lot of nasty stuff people should have kept to themselves.

(8) This may be the first time anyone resorted to Craigslist to dump surplus convention program books:

Did you miss taking home your copy of the WesterCon 68/2015 program? Or didn’t attend and want to pretend you did? Or really just wanna know what you missed? Three of them followed me home after the end of the con’. You can have up to three; pick up here.

(9) After reading today’s Robert Conquest obituary, Rich Lynch noted in comments that the famous Walt Willis carried on a correspondence with Conquest, and quoted from it in “I Remember Me” for Mimosa 17.

[Conquest:] Personally, I think it is clear that the Soviet system is, in all essential matters, as bad as the Nazi one, and that its theory that this system is suitable for imposition on the rest of the world is the greatest danger there is. On the other hand, I fancy that if we can solve our own problems and keep the Communist states from breaking out, while at the same time pointing out to them the advantages that would accrue if they ceased to exclude themselves from the world community, their internal tensions would finally force these states to evolve or perish.

[Wills:] As you’ll probably have noticed, I didn’t really appreciate Conquest’s importance. At the time, he was mainly known to me as an anti-Soviet polemicist, and my politics then were more pro-Soviet than anything, based on the assumption that whatever was wrong in the Soviet Union, at least their hearts were in the right place. I don’t have any recollection of further correspondence with Conquest, though I can’t say what might not turn up in the files, but as far as I know, my last reference to him was in my report of the visit of Madeleine and myself to the World Fair in Seattle in 1962:

[Willis:] “Even now there is such a cloud of fatigue in that corridor of my memory that I cannot believe there would be much of interest in it to you. Except possibly the still vivid recollection of seeing at the exit from the U.S. Science Pavilion, in great gold letters on the wall, a quotation from a Hyphen subscriber. Unaccountably they failed to mention this fact, mentioning just the name, Robert Conquest — presuming, no doubt, that his chief claim to immortality lies in his poetry and not in his letters of comment on Hyphen. Admittedly, he hasn’t written many of the latter recently, his subscription having lapsed, but let that be a warning to you. Let your Hyphen subscription lapse, and you may find yourself reduced to writing on walls in Washington.”

(10) Hollywood’s ultimate power couple has announced they’ve split!

Things got a little heated at the Television Critics Association panel for ABC’s new series, The Muppets, when Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, along with series executive producers Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory) and Bob Kushell (Suburgatory), revealed more about their upcoming series and that the felt couple’s long-term relationship is done-zo.

“Piggy and I have gone our separate ways romantically,” Kermit revealed. “I think it’s just kind of coming out in the press now.  It can be tough to work with your ex, you know.  And it can be tough to be the executive producer on your ex’s late?night TV show, especially when your ex is a pig.” (We’re sure he meant that in a species identification way only.)

(11) David Tormsen ranks Sad Puppies at #5 on a list of 10 Misguided Social And Political Movements Of Our Time on Listverse.

Every year, the Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy writers are voted on by paid members of Worldcon, the World Science Fiction Convention. Popular nominee books, movies, and commentators are placed on a shortlist of five, which are then voted on. The system is relatively easy to game, but this was not previously a problem as the majority of voters simply voted on individual taste, and popular authors knew campaigning for the awards would be in bad taste. That was until the Sad Puppy movement came along.

The Sad Puppies believe the awards have been taken over by excessively progressive authors and fans. Right-wing author Brad Torgersen describes them as “niche, academic, overtly to the Left in ideology and flavor, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun.” The Sad Puppies believe science fiction and fantasy have lost their way and want to return to a sci-fi golden age. They see a liberal conspiracy to promote authors who are female or minorities, supposedly alienating a fan base of primarily white males. Their vision of the future has no place for social science fiction or the influence of feminists, LGBTQ advocates, or liberals.

[Thanks to Dave Doering, Rich Lynch, Michael J. Walsh and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat.]

124 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/5 Closing Bracket

  1. If Tron Guy wants something else offered, he can damn well step up up and offer it himself, instead of whining that no one is catering to him specifically.

    This seems to be common among the Puppy set. They want cons to cater to them, but they aren’t willing to do much of anything to contribute other than showing up and whining about how things aren’t run they way they want them to be.

  2. Aaron on August 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm said:

    This seems to be common among the Puppy set. They want cons to cater to them, but they aren’t willing to do much of anything to contribute other than showing up and whining about how things aren’t run they way they want them to be.

    I do not think they “get” being a volunteer in general. To them, everything must be done for a specific return, and if you aren’t Getting Paid For It, it has no value. Therefore, all of the work that the volunteers who put on conventions do has no value because we are not Getting Paid. However, because they had to pay for their “ticket,” that does have value, and that value includes being able to endlessly complain that their customer needs aren’t being met.

  3. I was impressed when Torgersen began making up new insulting names for the people he was expecting to shower him with prizes.

    Apparently he doesn’t quite understand that the Hugos are awards handed out by the very fans he insults.

  4. I’d assume that at least a plurality of Puppies believe that SFWA administers the Hugos, even now.

  5. sez ‘As You Know’ Bob on August 6, 2015 at 6:48 pm:

    I was impressed when Torgersen began making up new insulting names for the people he was expecting to shower him with prizes.

    Apparently he doesn’t quite understand that the Hugos are awards handed out by the very fans he insults.

    Well, the Pups’ primary narrative has always been that A Shadowy Cabal Of Wrongfen Has Hijacked The Hugoes, with the consequence that The Hugo-giving Voices Of All True Fen Have Been Sacrificed Upon The Altar Of SJW Political Correctness. If Torgersen actually believes this narrative, in his mind he’s not insulting The True Fen Whose Hugo-Giving Voices Have Been Sacrificed; rather, he’s insulting The Shadowy Cabal Of Wrongfen. Accordingly, I think this behavior of Torgersen’s is evidence that he really does believe the Pups’ narrative is basically accurate. So when a Pup makes noise about how some people are in for a rude awakening, they’re probably right.

    They’re just misidentifying who will be rudely awakened.

  6. *adds to the large and shiny piles of THANKUs we are assembling for Kyra*

    I rarely participate in this sort of thing (ALL THE BOOKS!), but you made it too much fun! Great work!

  7. ccm: The funny thing about Tron-man’s complaints is that for decades women and various minorities participating in fandom had to put up with not having panels and topics that were relevant to their particular concerns either…

    PLUS, the sexual harassment which wasn’t called that back then (*remembering slave girl auctions to raise $ for cons*). I’m old enough to remember back when groping and propositioning women was standard (and my mother has horror stories of how the wives of the graduate students–silly people there were no women in the geology program my dad was in [when he became Dean some years later he changed that for his university7]–had to band together and be careful to avoid situations where they would be told to put out or their husband might suffer the consequences).

    Tron-man can get stuffed as far as I’m concerned (and it’s not all that goddamned much better despite the changes–a lot of women are still very much afraid to report the harassment).

  8. Hey, I just thought of something that should have occured to me a while ago – doesn’t the extreme success of the *pup slates this year directly refute the Sad Puppies contention that the SJW/CHORF set has been running slates for the past few years? Wouldn’t there have been more puppy failure in that case?

    Or will they just assume that means that, yes, there really were more of the silent but deadly moral majority all along?

  9. I wonder if Tron Guy has heard yet that Penguicon’s first announced guest for 2016 is Ann Leckie.

  10. @Kathodus, yeah quite a few people pointed out that out once the Hugo nominations came out. Response form various Puppies has ranged from silence, to claims that “The silent majority has spoken!” to statements that sum up to “Oh, that’s because you Ess Jay Dubyas are all incompetent”.

    So even when they do acknowledge reality, they claim some sort of numerical superiority (that 3-400 out of a couple of thousand is a majority is based on Puppy Maths), or that the SJW Cabal, who have been so skilled at running slates that they’ve managed to do it for decades without a single leak/ corroborating evidence, are AT THE SAME TIME so incompetent that they didn’t see the Puppies coming after 3 years of escalation.

  11. Kevin Standlee,

    I do not think they “get” being a volunteer in general. To them, everything must be done for a specific return, and if you aren’t Getting Paid For It, it has no value. Therefore, all of the work that the volunteers who put on conventions do has no value because we are not Getting Paid. However, because they had to pay for their “ticket,” that does have value, and that value includes being able to endlessly complain that their customer needs aren’t being met.

    I did ten seconds of research to test whether “they” get it for a couple values of “they”. Note this bit:

    While all of our staff pays for their registrations (including our Chairman), joining staff does have a couple of perks. Through long tradition only staff is allowed to purchase convention t-shirts in black, since it’s always been our thought that if someone has a question they can simply ask the closest ‘Black Shirt’ to get help. Also the ConSuite is available for sodas a bit earlier for staff. And if you’re staying Sunday night for Dead Dog, you can get in line for the food earlier.

  12. Brian — What’s your point? You seem to be implying something, but it’s too early in the morning for me to figure out.

  13. Brian thinks he’s proved the Puppies do “get” volunteering, and do it. He’s done this by linking to Libertycon’s volunteer page, and a page about UPenn research showing that Mormons are generous and helpful.

    Of course, the Libertycon page describes, and Brian quotes, the perks of volunteers, and no one said that Mormons didn’t “get” volunteering, only that the Puppies don’t. But, hey, it’s the best he can do.

  14. @Lis:

    Maybe BZ would have been better off choosing a convention that nobody in the comments has firsthand experience with, or at least one that’s more typical in the perks it gives staff. LibertyCon, in my experience, is distinctly out of the ordinary in that respect. For example, most of the cons I’ve been to or have heard about give staffers at least some break on the registration fee, even if it’s only five bucks. LibertyCon, OTOH, would rather charge staff full price while letting Attending Pros* in for free.

    * Pro status subject to the whims of the board. I’ve been working full-time in the game industry for years, but that doesn’t qualify. Even if I write, edit, and/or publish SFF on the side, it doesn’t count until it makes up at least half of my annual income – and my coworker whose job is writing and editing RPG books (primarily SFF in nature) also doesn’t count, despite that position being ALL of his annual income. They even dropped SFWA membership as proof that you’re a pro after SFWA opened its doors to qualifying self-pub writers. (They believe the SFWA qualifications for indie authors are too easy.)

  15. As an aside, I’m still puzzled why my userpic doesn’t show up only when I’m commenting from one specific browser on one specific computer of mine.

  16. Rev. Bob: I’ve only been closely involved in two conventions, the Iowa City Icon, and Minicon. Icon, at that time, gave free memberships to all pro writers, which it defined as being eligible for SFWA membership. The reason was that it was a small convention in the wastes of nowhere, and it wanted to be attractive to pros. It was about 250 members, away back in the wilds of the early 80s, if I recall correctly. The only perk concom members got was that we could get a preregistered membership price as late as at the door. We were largely college students, largely flakey and disorganized, and perpetually short of funds, so this was a nice perk that didn’t cost the convention too much.

    Many years ago, now, Minicon made a decision not to comp any of its volunteers. There was a perception that being a volunteer was an in-crowd thing, and that the volunteers were setting themselves apart from the rest of the community. There was also a feeling that Minicon was inviting in outside “talent,” professional musicians and the like, and giving them memberships but not expecting them to be actual members. Now, the only members whose memberships are allowed to be comped are current and previous GoHs. And if you are on the concom and a previous GoH, then you don’t get your membership comped, you are expected to buy your membership. There isn’t any official policy about extending pre-reg rates for volunteers, but in practice, if you’re running short at the deadline and are a generally useful sort, exceptions are likely to be made. And as time has gone on, other exceptions to the comp policy have been made, some of them I agree with, some of which I don’t.

    Each convention has its own volunteer culture, and provides incentives and perks based on local conditions. I tend to find that con cultures that have a quid-pro-quo attitude about volunteering tend to be less interesting to me in other ways, too.

  17. You’d be surprised what sort of Tuomases tend to pop in and comment on these old posts.

    I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear!

    Whoops, wrong Henley. 😉

Comments are closed.