Pixel Scroll 9/21/17 A Pixel Walks Into A Bar And Orders A Fifth

(1) CELEBRATE THE RADCH. Ann Leckie’s new book Provenance comes out on September 26, and the Imperial Radch fandom on Tumblr is asking people to create thematic fanworks as part of the celebration.

Each day, fans are encouraged to post work under the #Imperial Radch tag, and if you like, a new #Imperial Radch Week tag. Any medium is encouraged, and we selected days that hopefully highlight a wide range of skills!

  • Tuesday, Sept 19th: Ship Day
  • Wednesday, Sept 20th: Music Day
  • Friday, Sept 22nd: Fav Friday
  • Saturday: Sept 23rd: AU Day
  • Sunday, Sept 24th: Favorite Scene Day
  • Monday, Sept 25th: What the Heck is a Geck Day
  • Tuesday, Sept 26th: Release day

See this post for details of each day’s featured topic.

(2) RAISE YOUR TBR HIGHER. James Davis Nicoll foresees you will want to read “Twenty Core SF Works About Psionics and Awesome Mind Powers Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”. Three of those works are –

  • The Clairvoyant Countess by Dorothy Gilman
  • Ingathering by Zenna Henderson
  • Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang

Next week – “Twenty Room Houses True Fans Need To Own To Accommodate All The Books True Fans Should Have On Their Shelves.”

(3) FINAL JEOPARDY REFERENCES LEN WEIN. Steven H Silver has the story: “Today’s Final Jeopardy question may be the first time there’s been a FJ question about the spouse of a former contestant.  The question asked about a character created by Len Wein.  Len was married to four-time Jeopardy! champion Christine Valada (2009).”

(4) DONATIONS NEEDED. Mica Sunday Deerfield, Linda Bushyager’s sister, suffered substantial damage to her Houston home from Hurricane Harvey, and has launched a GoFundMe to raise money to make it habitable again.

When hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf coast, it filled over capacity the reservoir that is behind Mica’s house in West Houston. There was about 3 1/2 feet of water in the house and the neighborhood was inaccessible until yesterday, when our friend Dan courageously went there to see what happened. After 7 days of floodwaters, virtually all her possessions were dissolved, covered with mold, and lost to the flood. It will cost approximately $25,000 to empty the house, tear out all of the drywall, and remove the appliances, kitchen cabinets, insulation, furniture and everything else. Then they will do drying out and mold remediation. She will end up with an empty shell of a house. She will also then need money to fix the house back up. Any donation at all will be much appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

If you don’t know Linda Bushyager, she’s a long-time fanzine fan (Granfalloon, Karass) and fantasy author. More than that, when she shut down her fannish newzine Karass in the mid-Seventies, she passed the torch to File 770. And we’re still here!

(5) GATEKEEPERS. Martin Wisse defines a problematic culture in “The real trouble with comix”.

Supporting small business is important, but Amazon won’t ask you if you’re buying X-Men for your boyfriend every week. I’ve lost count of the women I know who stopped going to comic shops after being hit on or patronized too many times.

That small aside from a story about online harassment in video gaming perfectly illustrates the challenge the socalled mainstream comics industry has created for itself. Like videogaming, comics culture is steeped in rightwing victim culture, where you convince yourself both that you and your hobby are horribly oppressed and bullied by the jocks, the popular clique, riajuu and that your particular brand of pop culture is superior to what the brainless masses consume because they don’t spent their Wednesday evenings waiting for the new issue of whatever The Avengers is called this week. So you get a culture and industry that bemoans the fact that nobody loves comics anymore, but resents any step made to make people feel welcome. In fact, people seem to feel personally insulted if others enjoy the wrong sort of comics, as this fortuitous tweet demonstrates.

(6) SHOULDN’T SALES MATTER? Barry Deutsch addresses the same problem in a tweetstorm that begins here —

It runs 21 tweets and along the way observes:

(7) AGENT SPILLS THE BEANS. Fantasy-Faction scored an interview with agent Harry Illingworth.

When you’re reading all of those submissions, trawling through the slush pile, what is it you are actually looking for? What type of story, point of view, writing sets fire to your super-agent synapses and makes you request the full manuscript or sign them up there and then?

First up I’m looking at whether the author has followed the submission guidelines. It may sound obvious that you follow the guidelines when you submit, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t. I then think about whether it’s a good cover letter as if it’s not a good cover letter I’m not inclined to be too hopeful about the book itself. I do find the authors I’ve taken on have all had really strong cover letters and the author knows their book and can express that in the letter. It all comes down to the actual writing though, and I’ll only ever call in the full manuscript based on my enjoyment of the first three chapters.

When writers search the internet for advice on how to create successful query it can be… overwhelming. So, help us out – what makes a good query letter, synopsis?

I think what makes a good query is research beforehand. You’ve written a book, so take care to find out who is writing similar kinds of books. Who can you compare to without saying you’re the next GRRM? Entice the agent but don’t tell the whole story of the book, and also carefully research the agent before you submit. Make sure you are putting your book in front of the right pair of eyes, and it doesn’t hurt to add a personal touch so the agent knows you haven’t just sent it out blindly.

(8) STINKIN’ BADGES. Jeff Somers names “Science Fiction & Fantasy’s Most Delightful Government Agencies” for readers of the B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog.

SpecOps 27 (Thursday Next Series, by Jasper Fforde) What isn’t to love about a government agency charged with investigating literature-related crimes? Especially in an alternate universe where literature has the cultural heft of superhero movies, and the division between reality and fiction is so thin the two are easily mixed—with breathtaking results. All of the “Special Operations” units in the fictional world are pretty cool, actually, including SpecOps 12, in charge of investigating time travel-related events. For anyone who’s ever dreamed of falling into a book and waking up in their favorite story, SO-27 represents kind of the next best thing.


  • September 21, 1937 — J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit published.
  • September 21, 2005 Invasion premiered to those interested TV audiences.
  • September 21, 2015 — Fox TV dished out the series premiere of Minority Report.  The premise was culled from the Steven Spielberg movie of the same name, based on a story by Philip K. Dick. By the end of the first season it had been learned that few people want to see precogs go incog.


  • Born September 21, 1866 – H.G. Wells
  • Born September 21, 1912 – Chuck Jones, famous animator
  • Born September 21, 1947 — Stephen King


Mike Kennedy found someone who probably should have asked for help earlier, in Real Life Adventures.

(12) SCARED TO DEATH. In October, Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) has filled their calendar with all things spooky and magical. Their movie lineup that includes Interview with the Vampire, The Dark Crystal, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and a talk with Cheryl Henson (daughter of Jim and Jane Henson and President of The Henson Foundation).

Campout Cinema: Interview With the Vampire, October 6, 8:00 p.m. 21+ ($14, $11 MoPOP members)

A vampire tells the story of his life from widowed plantation owner to murderous immortal in this gothic classic based on Anne Rice’s best-selling novel starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, and Christian Slater. Includes admission to Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film and Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction.

Campout Cinema: The Dark Crystal, October 13, 7:00 p.m. All ages. ($16, $12 MoPOP members)

The last of the Gelfings must journey to find the crystal shard that will create order and bring peace to his world in this Jim Henson classic. Includes admission to The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited and a pre-screening talk with Cheryl Henson (Henson Foundation President, and Jim and Jane’s daughter).

The Art of Puppetry with Cheryl Henson, October 14, 2:00pm Free with museum admission.

From Sesame Street and The Muppet Show to The Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s creative imagination and enthusiasm for new technologies expanded the art of puppetry. Join Cheryl Henson (Henson Foundation President, and Jim and Jane’s daughter) as she looks at her parent’s dedication to the art form through a discussion and showcase of their impressive body of work.

 Campout Cinema: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, October 26, 8:00 p.m. ($14, $11 MoPOP members)

The dream warriors must work together to try and stop Freddy Krueger for good in the third installment of this classic horror franchise starring Robert Englund, Patricia Arquette, and Heather Langencamp. Includes admission to Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film and Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction.

MoPOP After Dark: On Thursdays and Fridays throughout the month of October, MoPOP will host After Dark Happy Hours with exclusive after-hours access to MoPOP’s newest exhibition Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film, plus MoPOP favorites Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy Worlds of Myth and Magic. Specialty, bone-chilling cocktails will be available for purchase. 5pm-8pm, MoPOP South Galleries. 21+, $15.

(12) ASGARD STYLE. About this time of year if I think of anyone wearing Marvel-themed clothing, I’m thinking about a Halloween costume. But no longer!

Josh Bennett, fashion designer and knitter extraordinaire, brings his passion for Marvel and its complex storytelling into a new sweater collection inspired by Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok. The new line will showcase Nordic influences, luxury fibers, and fantastical touches across a tight range of men’s sweaters available this holiday season.

…Bennett has always had a love for storytelling, and grew an appreciation for the robust worlds in Marvel stories as he immersed himself in Marvel films. When Thor: Ragnarok was announced as a November release, the unique settings, bold colors, and sense of wonder made it a perfect idea for a winter sweater collection.  Using references from the film, modern day trend influences, and new knitting techniques, Bennett has created a first-of-its-kind collection.

… The luxury limited edition collection includes four different styles, a chunky cardigan, v-neck tennis sweater, fisherman hoodie, and fair isle zip up, and uses yarns including 100% Italian cashmere and yarns from New Zealand, a nod to Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.  Each sweater is extremely limited to no more than three pieces per size for each style and is numbered and dated.

The Josh Bennett x Marvel collection ranges from $1095 – $1495 USD and is available to shop online at www.joshbennettnyc.com  beginning November 10 with a pre sale October 10.

(13) HOW TO BREAK IN. The BBC reports that “Game of Thrones’ Ellie Kendrick wants to open up ‘closed shop’ film industry”.

“I’ve worked in the film industry on and off for about half my life and I’ve noticed that the worlds that are represented on our screens by no means mirror the worlds that we see around us in our everyday lives,” the 27-year-old says.

“Part of that is because it’s such a difficult industry to break into and often it requires huge financial support from parents or jobs. Or it requires contacts you’ve made in film school – which again costs a lot of money.

“So it’s a bit of a closed shop.”

The piece ends with this prime quote about her GoT role:

“But also, you know, I get to wield an axe occasionally and kill some zombies. So, all in all, she’s a pretty well-rounded character.”

(14) DIFFERENT BOUNDARIES. Mel Brooks, currently preparing for the opening in London’s West End of a musical version of his film Young Frankenstein, told a reporter, “Blazing Saddles would never be made today”.

He said Blazing Saddles, his Western spoof about a black sheriff in a racist town, could never be made today.

“It’s OK not to hurt the feelings of various tribes and groups,” he said. “However, it’s not good for comedy.

“Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. It’s the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, telling the truth about human behaviour.”

(15) MICHELLE YEOH. A featurette with Star Trek: Discovery’s Captain Georgiou.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Steven H Silver, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, David K.M. Klaus, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

78 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/21/17 A Pixel Walks Into A Bar And Orders A Fifth

  1. @xtifr

    I did just re-read Witches of Karres fairly recently, and honestly, it’s more “tween creeping on adult”.

    I would question whether “adult male writes story in which tween girl creeps on adult male” escapes an interpretation of being a case of an adult male creeping on a tween girl. Even if the tween is portrayed as having agency within the story, the author is the person in the scenario with the ultimate agency.

  2. Heather Rose Jones:

    Even if the tween is portrayed as having agency within the story, the author is the person in the scenario with the ultimate agency.

    Absolutely (see Piers Anthony’s oeuvre for examples).

    The only character I recall the Captain in “Witches” showing any attraction to is the three girls’ mother, though, who is of a reasonable age (though she turns out to be married to his great-uncle, making the girls his first cousins once removed – moving into Heinlein territory).

  3. That is an overstatement. First cousin marriage is disapproved of quite widely, certainly including the UK, though along the lines of ‘a bit dodgy, especially if repeated within a family’, rather than with the kind of horror that would greet people marrying their siblings, etc. What is perhaps distinctively American is the disapproval, which many people seem to have, of marrying one’s fifth cousin once removed, or indeed anyone with any traceable relationship at all.

  4. @Darren: I’ve been seeing some pretty heavy tankoubon discounts on amazon (especially preorder), I paid under $6 for the latest Nichijou.

  5. What is perhaps distinctively American is the disapproval, which many people seem to have, of marrying one’s fifth cousin once removed, or indeed anyone with any traceable relationship at all.

    Mostly it seems to be limited to nearer cousins – second cousins, who aren’t that closely related to each other (sharing only great-grandparents), and maybe third cousins (where the connection is a generation farther back).

  6. I’ve got nothing against cousin marriage, having read enough of my own genealogy to realize how frequent it is. The bit about Captain Pausert turning out to be related to the 9-year-old who is swears she’ll marry him was just a bit too much. Note that when the Captain says “Of course I’m not taking her idea of getting married to me when she grows up too seriously!” he gets this response from her father “No more, my purblind great-nephew, than I took Toll’s ideas along those lines too seriously.” (Toll being the girl’s father).

  7. Regarding cousin marriage: people who have lived in the same village for a few centuries (or similar closed social environment) need to have a pragmatic attitude toward marrying connections. Some of the American attitudes toward kin-marriage may be related to geographic churn (and distance). Families who have lived in the same place with the same neighbors for multiple generations are unusual in most places I have lived in North America.

  8. Eh. My great-aunt married her first cousin, and I’m pretty sure there’s another one not too far off in my family tree, although odds of it happening were slim in my generation since at that point we’d all branched out a bit. (None of my first or second cousins lived within regular visiting distance. One of them was in Australia, even.) It was never a big deal, though.

    (Am in the UK, with a family that was largely London-based until recently, on both sides, with the occasional exception from elsewhere in the UK + ROI, plus France if you go back far enough.)

  9. In re: first cousin marriages —

    To get away from the “approve/disapprove” fuzziness, a slightly more concrete fact: In most countries, first cousin marriages are legal. In the US, they are legal in about half of the US States, and illegal in the other half. They were generally legal in all states before the time of the Civil War. The US bans evidently starting coming into effect in the mid-1800s as an overreaction to the at-that-time infant study of plant and animal breeding, including the results of inbreeding.


  10. The closest marriage that I’ve been able to verify is first-cousins-once-removed – her father was a brother of his mother’s father – and that’s a great-grandmother’s parents. It’s possible there’s a first-cousin marriage farther back on a different side and in another country, but some of the information isn’t available.
    I’ve run into a lot of cousin marriages in some groups, either because travel was difficult or because they were expected to marry within their church (Seventh-day Baptists). Not much of it in the Deep South, though, despite the stereotypes.

  11. [one more godstalk]

    [When I try to access 770 from my iPad with Safari, the site returns a page titled Bad Request. However, the site works fine with Chrome for the iPad. Go figure.]

  12. First cousin marriage is disapproved of quite widely, certainly including the UK, though along the lines of ‘a bit dodgy, especially if repeated within a family’

    Insert Norfolk joke here.

  13. On a book-y note, for those of you in San Francisco or nearby, this weekend is the Friends of San Francisco Public Library Book Sale at Fort Mason. I went today instead of my usual Saturday run and spent $16 for 3 hardbacks and 7 paperbacks. I always end up with a bag of books from there. Now, this year the SF section didn’t seem to be as big as usual, but they did split Fantasy off into it’s own area. I may go again tomorrow just to see if they’ve put out a lot more–when I go on Saturdays, there’s always boxes of books under the tables as well as the ones on top and today there weren’t.
    I mostly picked up mystery PBs and did find a hardback with a dust jacket to replace something already on the shelves. The only SF book was a paperback tie-in of “Lost in Space” to add to my impromptu tv tie-in collection.

  14. I just finished “The Bedlam Stacks”, the sort-of-prequel to “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street”.

    I liked the overall plot, though I had to tell myself “here is where we go into magical-realism land” about a bunch of things. But oh my land, the natural history is worthy of a teenage fanfic writer who’s never been out of Manchester.

    If you’re writing from the POV of a 19th-C botanist, then you need to know (or fake) something about plants, and animals as well. When in the western foothills of the Andes, you do not worry about *bears* (mentioned repeatedly) or wolves, nor do you see them! Everyone should be talking about jaguars, El Tigre, instead. That’s not even getting into the fact that our protagonist, who calls himself a “gardener” but is really a botanist, spends no time noticing the hundreds of new and different plants he would be seeing, or thinking about how they fit into the landscape.

    Pulley did a LOT of research on language & culture for this book, she spent time in Peru and learned Quechua! But the landscape, the natural world, and the food (yes, quinoa and pineapple are both native to South America, but they do not grow everywhere! people eat a lot of maize, potatoes, chilis, and assorted roots, too!

    Ugh. I’m so conflicted: I like the characters, very much. But I just can’t believe in the setting, I keep feeling as though they took a right turn at Albuquerque and ended up in Canada: with the bears, and wolves, and even beavers.

  15. Yea, pineapples are north coast of South America, and into the Caribbean.
    Quinoa is from the high altitudes of Ecuador and Bolivia, IIRC – they can grow it in the Rocky Mountains, or so I’ve heard.

  16. @Contrarius: maybe long-term memory is the first thing to go — I should have remembered that. Thanks for the data.

    Xtifr: If Schmitz was trying to write for young women, a lot of what he wrote was male-gazed (or perhaps out of a very strange romance tradition, as in A Tale of Two Clocks) — but he also had some remarkably capable leading females (Agent of Vega, early Telzey Amberdon). I don’t know whether it would be more interesting or horrifying to hear a current interviewer summon up Schmitz and try to find out what he thought he was doing.

  17. @Doctor Science

    I missed any natural-history bloopers in “The Bedlam Stacks” due to having absolutely no knowledge in that area whatsoever!

    The book itself – I was finding it quite slow and almost disassociative in the way it was told until perhaps the final third. I’m sure that was at least partially intentional as the narrator was clearly meant to be in a bad way, but it felt like his mood was weighing down on me and frankly discouraging me from continuing to read. It obviously all got a lot more active in the final third, but I’m not quite convinced that that final third belonged in the same book.
    I’m interested to see where else she goes with this world, but The Bedlam Stacks didn’t fill me with the same joy as “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” did.

  18. As for the story not ending, do you have the same problem with ongoing US comic series, which can run into several hundred issues before getting a reboot?

    I never read comics until Sandman – as a kid I was a fast reader, and somehow I had missed out on the idea that you were supposed to stop and look at the pictures; in illustrated books they’re completely optional. Those have middles and ends within a reasonable amount of time 🙂

  19. Chip Hitchcock on September 22, 2017 at 8:54 pm said:

    Xtifr: If Schmitz was trying to write for young women, a lot of what he wrote was male-gazed (or perhaps out of a very strange romance tradition, as in A Tale of Two Clocks) — but he also had some remarkably capable leading females (Agent of Vega, early Telzey Amberdon).

    Yes, he was one of the first to routinely* have strong, capable female protagonists (and secondary characters) in his fiction. Which is a plus. But aside from that detail, his work was very much a product of its time, full of unfortunate implications and casual condescension, and all the rest. Very mixed bag.

    I do think he was a mostly positive force at the time. I think the extreme popularity of the Telzey stories helped prove that there was a market for SF stories starring women. His stories may not hold up that well, by today’s standards, but I think they helped open doors.

    * The Witches of Karres is just about his only work which doesn’t feature a female protagonist, aside from a few early short stories.

  20. Jamoche on September 23, 2017 at 11:42 pm said:

    I never read comics until Sandman – as a kid I was a fast reader, and somehow I had missed out on the idea that you were supposed to stop and look at the pictures; in illustrated books they’re completely optional. Those have middles and ends within a reasonable amount of time

    Check out this list (from 2006, so there will be even higher numbers now, for those that haven’t canceled or reset to 0 in the last 11 years) of comics that have made it past 200 issues–including several way over 500 issues. So open-ended publication schedules isn’t exclusive to manga (though long running manga put the longest-running US comics to shame in issue/chapter numbers–one series has over 11,000 chapters.)

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