Pixel Scroll 9/18/16 I Scroll The Pixel Electric

(1) WISCON GOH SPEECH. Justine Larbalestier posted “My WisCon 40 Guest of Honour Speech” in August.

Teens have made YA the second most profitable fiction category in the USA—after romance. Twelve years ago I mostly had to explain what YA is. These days not so much. Some of those folks who were bewildered as to why anyone would write YA back then, now read it, and some of them even write it. YA advances are, on average, higher than those for SFF writers.

Most of the top-selling SFF books in the USA are YA, not adult. Many YA books sell millions of copies all over the world. Not my YA books, alas. Can’t have everything.

YA, of course, could not be this huge if only teens were reading it. The Hunger Games trilogy sold far more copies in the USA than there are teenagers. Adults are reading YA in huge numbers. Adults are making YA super profitable for publishers.

But it was teens that started the YA explosion. They were the ones who pushed the Harry Potter, then Twilight, then Hunger Games series on their parents and teachers and other adults in their lives. Pretty much every mega-hit YA book starts out that way.

You’d think the shared bond of loving books would diminish the hatred and suspicion of teenagers and the things they like.

You’d be wrong.

There’s now a whole genre of op ed pieces about how YA is destroying the minds of the adults foolish enough to read it, turning them into blithering, infantalised ninkompoops who will never grow up. At the same time we YA writers are also corrupting the teens who read our books. Multi-tasking!

(2) SEUSS/STAR TREK MASHUP. A Kickstarter appeal is raising funds for Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go!


[It’s] a parody mash-up from the mind that brought you “The Trouble With Tribbles” that brings together two of the most beloved creations in history in a joyous celebration that will inspire you to join the high fliers who soar to high heights!

We’re creating a 48 page, 8.5″ x 11″ book that’s familiar and brand new at the same time, a perfect gift for children and adults of all ages, for anyone looking forward to the future.

  • David Gerrold is one of those gee-whiz-bang writers Who’s written for Star Trek, and Babylon 5, and Sliders, He wrote the Dingilliad, When HARLIE Was One, And won Hugos and Nebulas for his Martian son. (And really, to answer the question that wearies, He promises there’s a book 5 in the series.)
  • Ty Templeton‘s also a name you should know; We’ve followed his work back from Stig’s Inferno. He’s done Spider-Man, Star Trek, and Batman (it’s true!) And won Eisners and Shusters, and taught comics too.
  • Glenn Hauman‘s the person we brought in to edit. He’s okay, we guess. (Hey, don’t blame us, he said it). He’s wrote Star Trek and X-Men and colored some pics And now does the works over at ComicMix

The Kickstarter has raised $18,818 of its $20,000 goal at this writing, and has 11 days left to run.

(3) BOOK COVER AWARD. The ingenious Camestros Felapton’s new project is ranking SFF book covers from the current year. Here’s what he’s got so far – “Best SFF Award Nominee Book Cover Award 2016: longlist”.

Last year I ranked the Hugo best novels by book covers. I am going to do the same this year but I’ll extend the field to include the Nebulas, Clarkes and whattheheck The Dragons (winners only – too many nominees). So not quite the Felapton Towers award for best SFF book cover because that is wayyyy to big a field but instead the Felapton Towers award for best SFF book cover for books that got nominated for an award.

PLUS: BONUS AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION! Regular readers (yes, even Phantom) please suggest one other book not on the initial list!

And here’s his scoring system: “Best SFF Award Nominee Book Cover Award 2016: Criteria”.

Eligibility: yeah whatever

Prize: A jpeg of Timothy the Talking Cat

Criteria: Not going to just rank the covers but consider them on the basis of some different strands:

  • Artwork: 0 to 4 points. Not every book cover needs its own epic painting but if it has one then the work gets graded from 0 to 4. Note that this is purely in terms of the artwork on its own merits. Relevance and appropriateness to the book will be covered elsewhere.
  • Functionality: 0 to 3 points. A cover has a basic job to do. Can you read the title and who wrote it? Is all the relevant information there? Is the information well ordered?
  • Graphic design (aesthetic): 0 to 6 points. Text, art, borders, colour, everything – as a complete image how good is the cover in terms of making all the bits work together aesthetically? An extra couple of points are available here for covers with no artwork per-se, so that artwork-heavy covers don’t get an in-built advantage.
  • Relevance/appropriateness: 0 to 2 points. I haven’t read all the books, so I don’t want to weight this too heavily. Based on plot synopsis/reviews, does the book cover fit its contents? Does this horror story set in feudal Japan look like a cyberpunk western set in Mexico?

Jump in and give him a hand!


  • Born September 18, 1917 – June Foray, voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and innumerable other cartoon characters. Chuck Jones is reported to have said, “June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.”

(5) FLYING W. Rumor has it that ”Whataburger is having words with DC Comics over Wonder Woman’s new logo.


The worlds of fast food and comic book superheroes are colliding in a way that we’ve never seen before.

According to a Whataburger spokesperson, the San Antonio-based burger chain and DC Comics are currently involved in what the chain terms as a “friendly trademark discussion” with the classic comic book brand over the recent redesign of Wonder Woman’s stacked W logo.

A story making the rounds on a handful of comic book blogs suggested that the two parties were at war with each other. It seemed like bunk on the outset but we decided to go directly to Whataburger to see if this was anything of note.

“Contrary to some suggestions, Whataburger is not at war with Wonder Woman over her newly redesigned logo. In fact, Whataburger supports superheroes like Wonder Woman and her friends in the Justice League,” a Whataburger company spokesperson wrote in a statement to Chron.com. “Truth be told, Whataburger’s own superhero – Whataguy – would love to team up with Wonder Woman and her friends sometime to battle evil together.”

(6) YOU ORDERED SHELLFISH? John Scalzi, in Hawaii for a convention, has found all kinds of things to pretend to be distressed about at his luxury accomodations. For example:

(7) NEVER WERE TRUER WORDS SPOKEN. Wesley Chu hit the bull’s-eye:

[Thanks to Glenn Hauman, John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, and Darren Garrison for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lis Carey.]

83 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/18/16 I Scroll The Pixel Electric

  1. Mark on September 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm said:

    But which is the best Pirate book that’s not Treasure Island? I’m going to vote On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.

    Oh, seconded. I re-read On Stranger Tides recently after a gap of many years and enjoyed it immensely.

    The new Alastair Reynolds YA book Revenger riffs on Treasure Island apparently.

  2. Thirded when it comes to On Stranger Tides, which is one of my favorite Tim Powers books. Evidently it was the basis of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie to boot–never saw the flick myself.

  3. “basis” in the loosest possible sense of the word. But if it resulted in Tim Powers getting a dump truck full of money, I’m perfectly content with that outcome.

    Other favorite pirate books — Piratica by Tanith Lee springs to mind. And whichever of L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack volumes include pirates.

  4. Yarrr, Filers. I didn’t bestir myself to anywhere that gives free goodies if you arrive in pirate attire and speak thusly. Cuz they’re all fattening.

    Glenn have writed many good things welly.

    My SJW creds like to stand on my tablet and refill the food bowls in my Neko Atsume game. Particularly when it’s near their fud tiem. Evidently there should be cat fudz for all, even if they’re virtual.

  5. Neffy Award Winners

    The 2016 Neffy Award winners have been chosen. The winners are :

    Best Novel: Shadows of Self—Brandon Sanderson

    Best Paper Series Novel: Schooled in Magic—Chris Nuttall

    Best Editor: Toni Weisskopf (Baen)

    Best TV Show: Supergirl

    Best Comic: Girl Genius

    Best Film: The Martian

    In other News, the N3f will actually be launching three magazines, not one, counting Tightbeam (new issue out recently after a year or so hiatus). Tightbeam is letters and reviews. It will be bimonthly or more often if material arrives. It’s now all-electronic; the new Editor, Bob Jennings, believes that ezines need to be somewhat short or they will not be read. Eldritch Science (my old zine) will be fiction, poetry, and art. It will be all electronic, and accept material of up to novel-length and down to 7500 words for prose. The Editor is George Phillies. Ionosphere, returning after three or four decades, will be run by the Fan-Pro Coordinating Committee. It will be all-electronic, at a publication rate to be determined. John Thiel is Committee Head and Editor. We already publish The National Fantasy Fan (news) and N’APA (bimonthly APA).

  6. Andrew M:

    I feel like it grew from a place of “SJW = man-hating lesbian who will die a spinster with a million cats”, but I can’t say for sure.

    My feline overlord likes to scratch at the bedroom door when she feels that it’s time for me to feed her. Then when she hears me moving to grab the spray bottle she books it down the hall for the kitchen. “Oh, hi human! Since you’re up and here anyway…”

  7. “What is the best Pirate book that’s not Treasure Island? I’m going to vote On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.”

    Captain Blood. After that, Retribution Falls.

  8. @Kurt Busiek:

    Well wouldja look at that. Apparently I’m not a real SJW after all! Thanks for the info 🙂

    (Though my calico and black cats are now wondering what makes those stuck-up Siamese so danged special.)

  9. @Hampus Eckerman

    Retribution Falls was good fun, and now you remind me that I never picked up the the third in the series.

  10. We did indeed loosen standards to include other acceptable credentials. It just can’t be a Puppy-acceptable canine. Even canin3s who confuse Puppies are now acceptable.

    This worked much better than Leslie C’s attempts at painting cats for distribution as credentials.

  11. @Kurt: It expanded by popular demand, since so many of us SJW’s had other kinds of cats. We do not discriminate by color pattern and breed of kittehs.

    As the referenced page shows, it also pulls from the “lesbian who will die alone with cats” trope, and of course from cats being the opposite of puppies.

    Then, when “Cat Pictures, Please” won this year, I think that cemented it.

  12. But which is the best Pirate book that’s not Treasure Island? I’m going to vote On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.

    Not the asked-for format, but I’m going with The Secret of Monkey Island. Way old, but still great.

    On a similar note, in line with the whole anniversary thing, just addedStar Trek 25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites to my Steam library.I’ve never played the latter, and the former is possibly (I think!) my introduction to Star Trek. Ahhhh, nostalgia.

  13. By the way, I read a LOT of YA. I’ll feel halfway competent to nominate for the YA award if it’s ratified. Right now, I’m reading Mercedes Lackey’s Hunter, and it’s surprisingly good so far. I haven’t read any of her work in a while, and she’s definitely improved as a writer.

  14. Hmmmm…pirates….well, if it doesn’t need to be fiction, I’ll admit that I’m partial to Jane Yolen’s Sea Queens.

    Oh, wait. There are some “pirates” in Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. It really isn’t about them, but I’ll go count that, too.

  15. I really enjoyed Red Seas Under Red Skies by Lynch. Not really about pirates but has a lot of them.

  16. I used to do that to check my proposed scroll titles, come to think. I may have even mentioned it here. Of course, it doesn’t track variants (like exchanging the words “pixel” and “scroll”)

    Oh, it’s that day. Well, in its honor: “The big pies fetch $50/dozen. The small ones are $40/dozen. All kinds, except pecan’s $5 higher for both. The small ones are only about half the size, but making them isn’t …” Eh? Oh. That’s different! PIRATE. Got it.

    “Hey, you! You like Harry Potter movie? All Harry Potter movie, five each. Twenty for set. Color cover! No? How about X-Man movie. All X-Man movie, five each. Hey, don’t go! Wait! Software, too. Adobe programs, creative suite. All legit! Hey, wait! Don’t go yet! You like iPhone?”

  17. I have 4 large, furry dogs, but I yield my SJW credentials to no one. Does it help that all four of them are spoiled rotten and one of them is so incredibly rarefied that she’s allergic to meat? (Note: she’s not a rarefied BREED. She’s what we call here in the south a “yellow yard dog” but she still manages to be allergic to everything from grass to beef, bless her big old heart!)

  18. @Bonnie McDaniel: oh that’s disappointing. I’ll give it a try anyway at some point – but it’s currently behind a lot of other things in mount tbr.

  19. But which is the best Pirate book that’s not Treasure Island? I’m going to vote On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.

    The Pyrates by George McDonald Fraser (who also wrote Flashman).

  20. Nick Pheas beat me to a mention of Fraser’s THE PYRATES. The Flashman book FLASHMAN’S LADY also deals in part with Malaysian pirates.

    God, I miss the Flashman books. Since Fraser’s death, and with the rise in indie and self-published books, there have been a number of writers paying homage to Flashman by writing the adventures of various Flashman relatives, descendants, or acquaintances.

    There’s probably a worthwhile article in a discussion of those various homages. Unlike, say, Holmes or Austen homages/pastiches, Flashman imitations are few enough in number that a reasonable overview of “next-best-thing-to-Fraser’s-own-Flashman” could be done in a single article.

    (Since the Holmes estate lost copyright over pre-1923 stories in 2014, there have been a friggin’ flood of Holmes-imitations, especially by self-published writers. A lot harder to pick the wheat from the chaff, now, or even to keep up with what’s being published. And that’s just for books that now feel free to use the actual Holmes name, instead of going the unsubtle “Solar Pons” route.)

  21. @ Bruce Arthurs

    Re: the flood of Holmes-imitations

    I have a similar feeling about Austen-imitations and continuations. I’m not thinking of the completely over-the-top items like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but the ones that are basically fan-fiction continuations, or expansions on minor characters. At one point I picked up anything I saw along that line because the first couple of authors I’d encountered were pretty good. And then I started hitting the real dreck…

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