Pixel Scroll 11/23 Mister Scrollman, Bring Me A Screed

(1) Syfy offers a free viewing of the first episode of The Expanse  — Episode 1: Dulcinea. (Also available on the Syfy Now App, Hulu, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, Playstation, Xbox, and Facebook.)

(2) Variety says additional episodes have been ordered for Rachel Bloom’s series and CW’s iZombie.

Freshman comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has landed five more episodes, bringing its first season total to 18, while “iZombie” has received an additional six-episode order, giving the second season a total of 19.

Audience for the Bloom series is growing slowly.

While the positively-reviewed “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” hasn’t gained much ratings traction, it has posted its best numbers to date in recent weeks. Paired with sophomore critical breakout “Jane the Virgin,” the six episodes averaged a 0.34 rating in 18-49 and about 1 million total viewers in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates.

(3) Misty Massey tells about a live slushpile reading in “Getting What You Ask For” at Magical Words.

Many, many times I hear writers complain how much they hate getting form rejections from editors, because such things do nothing to help them understand why the editor didn’t want to buy their story. Editors don’t understand, they cry, that writers can’t fix stories if they aren’t told what went wrong in the first place. Some writers say editors are lazy, others think they’re cruel. For whatever reason, it’s always the editor’s fault.

A couple of years ago, David Coe approached Faith Hunter and me to present a panel called Live Action Slush. (For those who don’t know, the writers submit the first pages of their novels anonymously. A designated reader reads each page aloud, and the three of us listen as if we were slush editors, raising our hands when we reach a place that would cause us to stop reading and move on to the next submission.  Once all three hands are up, the reading stops and we discuss what made us stop reading.) David had done such a panel at another con, to great acclaim, and wanted to bring it to ConCarolinas. We had two sessions, both standing room only. As far as we could tell, anyway. We were asked to present it at Congregate later that same summer, and since then we’ve offered it in various incarnations at any cons we attended.

Most of the time, the writers seemed happy to hear our suggestions, although once in a while we would run into a writer who just couldn’t handle the idea that their story wasn’t already perfect.  You see, the point of Live Action Slush is to give the writers exactly what they’ve been complaining they never receive – a specific, clear reason for the turndown. Sometimes the problem is that nothing is happening by the time we reach the end of the first page. Sometimes the writer spends the entire first page describing the characters without giving the reader the slightest idea what the book’s about. Characters might be hideous stereotypes, or flat and wooden.  There are tons of reasons, most of which are easily repaired once the writer knows what has happened. But there are some writers who really aren’t ready to hear what needs fixing. They’ve come to the workshop fully expecting that the panelists will declare their first page to be utter brilliance. Those are the writers who storm out of the room, instead of staying to listen to the critique of other writers under the same scrutiny. They go into the hallway and tell their friends how mean we were, how we don’t really know anything. Most important, they don’t make any changes.

(4) In an Absolute Write forum, Alessandra Kelley gives the context for a wisecrack James Frenkel made on a Windycon panel and asks “Is what I witnessed abusive behavior?”

There are a number of important questions that urgently need discussing if we are to have any sort of careful, agreeable, professional and accepting environment for our conventions.

Many people make thoughtless remarks or cruel witticisms or little jokes. Should people be more mindful of them?

Is it right to treat a category of people as inherently funny or insulting?

How much tolerance should there be for little jokes? At what point does laughing them away become aiding and abetting the marginalization of a segment of the community?

Should a person with a known history of abusive behavior be held to a higher standard than others? What about a person in a position of authority?

Should we not speak up when we see such behavior?

(5) Lucy Huntzinger reports that the Down Under Fan Fund will be receiving a $2,000 donation from Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon. The DUFF co-administrator said, “Thank you for supporting face to face encounters between international fandoms!”

(6) Today In History

The first of a four-part pilot episode of the series aired on the BBC on this day in 1963. Titled “An Unearthly Child”, the story introduced the Doctor, the Tardis, and many other things that would become hallmarks of the program.

(7) Today’s Birthday Boys

  • Born November 23, 1887 — Boris Karloff, birthname William Henry Pratt, in Camberwell, London, England.
  • Born November 23, 1914 – Wilson “Bob” Tucker

(8) Early suggestions coming in for the 2016 Worldcon program…

(9) The Kickstarter for The Dark North – Volume 1, a premium coffee table art book with new stories from Scandinavia’s best illustrators and concept artists, is just fully financed, but it’s still possible to contribute.

Artist: Lukas Thelin

Artist: Lukas Thelin

(10) “Being a Better Writer: Names”  by Max Florschutz at Unusual Things has four good ideas for dealing with a fundamental sf writing challenge.

So, naming things. This is, as you might guess, a requested topic. And to be honest, I think it’s one worth talking about.

See, naming things can actually be pretty tricky. When creating a world from scratch, or even just a redesigned/repurposed version of our own world, often one of the first things a lot of young writers do is assign their characters, places, and things very interesting names. It’s kind of a trope by this point, but if I had to guess my prediction would be that to the new writer, the goal is to excitedly show you how fantastical their world is. So they don’t have people with names like Joe or Samantha. They have people with names like Krul’Qa’pin or something like that.  And they live in the city of Byulnqualalaltipo! Aren’t those fantastic?

Well, in sense, sure. They’re also completely unpronounceable, for a start. And that is just the start.

See, there are a host of problems with names like this. The first being that they’re difficult for the reader to read, pronounce, and parse. They’re these very out there, fantastical names that are hard to make sense of, and the more of them a writer puts into his story, the harder it will be not only for the reader to keep interest, but to keep everything straight. Especially if the writer has gone and made a number of the names similar through conventions such as “I’ll stick apostrophe’s here and here and that’ll make a name.” And while it certainly might create names that look impressive, the truth is that a lot of “name creation techniques” that novice writers go for tend to create a whole host of problems like what we just discussed.

Okay, so this is writing that, if not bad, is certainly not good, clearly. But in order to avoid this trap, it’s worth understanding why it’s a trap in the first place. Why are writers doing this? What makes creating a multi-syllable name that defies typical English attractive?

(11) A dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, (which did not win the brackets, darn it) sold at auction for $1.56 million today.

The blue and white gingham dress, one of 10 thought to have been made for Garland in her role as Dorothy in the movie, was among the top items in the Bonham’s and Turner Classic Movies Hollywood memorabilia auction….

A year ago, the Cowardly Lion costume worn by actor Bert Lahr in the movie sold for almost $3.1 million at a Bonham’s auction.

(12) National Geographic reveals “An 80-Year-Old Prank Revealed, Hiding in the Periodic Table!”

You wouldn’t know it, because it’s hiding down there at the bottom of the periodic table of elements, but it’s a prank—something a five-year-old might do—and the guy who did it was one of the greatest chemists in America. It’s pure silliness, staring right at you, right where I’ve drawn my circle, at element 94.

(13) At Motherboard, “For the First Time Ever, Astronomers Have Observed the Birth of a Planet”:

The new research, published this week in Nature, provides hard evidence of a developing gas giant orbiting a young Sunlike star called LkCa 15, located 450 light years away in the constellation Taurus. What’s more, it appears as if at least two other giant bébés are also forming around the star, though only one was directly detected.

“No one has successfully and unambiguously detected a forming planet before,” said astronomer Kate Follette, a co-author on the study, in a statement. “There have always been alternate explanations, but in this case we’ve taken a direct picture, and it’s hard to dispute that.”

(14) Click at your own risk! From ScienceFiction.com “Thanks To A Leaked Children’s Book We Have Some HUGE ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Spoilers!”

(15) “Steven Moffat Reveals the Nightmare Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special We Could Have Had” on io9.

But while those meetings went on, more and more actors publicly denied that they would be a part of the special, prompting growing discontent from Doctor Who fans—who didn’t realize that behind-the-scenes problems with the script, and a ticking clock, meant that Moffat very nearly had to scrape together a story with whatever actors he could find. Case in point? In one form or another, there was a story outline for “The Day of the Doctor” that featured no Doctors at all… only Jenna Coleman as Clara.

(16) A project known as “Justice League Dark” is inching closer to a greenlight. Joblo lists the front-running candidates to direct:

Things are heating up for DARK UNIVERSE, as casting rumors have been swirling around the past week and now we have word on who the studio is eyeing to direct the supernatural superhero tale. We’re told that BIG BAD WOLVES directing duo Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, as well as EVIL DEAD remake director Fede Alvarez are the top contenders to take the gig right now. Both sets of filmmakers have a strong grasp of the dark and macabre genre and would easily fill the shoes of Guillermo Del Toro, who left the film after turning in his screenplay and toiling with the studio over casting and scheduling. However, Del Toro’s script is said to be excellent and one of the main reasons that the studio is pushing to get JLD underway with a shooting start in early 2016.

Yahoo! says Dark Universe is expected to put the spotlight on some of the lesser-known heroes and villains of the DC Comics universe whose adventures typically involve magic or supernatural elements of some sort.

Among the characters rumored to have a role in the film are occult detective John Constantine, who was featured in a short-lived television series of his own recently, and Swamp Thing, a multimedia sensation who was the subject of two live-action movies, a live-action television series, and an animated series to go along with his long-running comic book series and other projects. The film will also reportedly feature the villain Anton Arcane, the antihero demon Etrigan, and the sorceress Zatanna, as well as Madame Xanadu and the body-swapping spirit Deadman.

(17) Ice Age 5 short: Scrat In Space!

[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman, Will R., JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

Catching Up With DUFF

There will be no Down Under Fan Fund race this year.

DUFF was created by John Foyster and Fred Patten to connect Australian and North American fandoms. The first winner, Lesleigh Luttrell, was picked in 1972. A full history of the fund can be found here.

Julian Warner and Justin Ackroyd took over the Australian DUFF administrator’s duties in April and issued this statement on Facebook:

Following a brief announcement on the “Unofficial Down Under Fan Fund” page on Facebook this is a more extensive statement regarding the Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF). Justin Ackroyd and I (Julian Warner) were asked by Bill Wright (current Australian DUFF administrator) on behalf of himself and Juanita Coulson to take over DUFF administration until a new delegate and administrator is appointed by the voting masses. For differi…ng reasons, Bill and Juanita find themselves unable to devote the time and resources necessary to the necessary tasks. We do not need to debate the reasons why we have been asked to help. Speculate on other people’s motivations if you must but please respect the privacy of others.

We just want to get DUFF back on track – running races for as long as fandom supports it. Justin and I believe that we cannot viably run a race – from Australia/New Zealand to North America – this year. We need a period of time to replenish funds and to allow for a well-organised campaign for next year. Obviously we would like to deliver DUFF to a very capable next pair of hands.

Lucy Huntzinger has kindly offered to be the administrator at the North America side of things for the interim. Her credentials as a previous DUFF delegate and fannish networker are impeccable. She will take over administration of the NA funds from Marty Cantor who “volunteered” to take them over from John Hertz. We owe a huge debt of thanks to Marty for his efforts. I’m glad that John and Marty have the sort of friendship which can survive the odd mutual grumble. It sounds like the way that Bruce Gillespie and I, for example, grumble about each other.

Justin and I have some behind the scenes matters to clear up but we will continue to re-vivify the DUFF network and look for fund-raising opportunities in the future. We also want to include our cousins across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand in our plans and deliberations. Lucy wants to establish a network of helpers in North America and I am pleased to see that volunteers are already coming forward.

Justin and I are happy to answer questions about our intentions. Note that I am active on FB but Justin is not.

Feel free to re-distribute this message to relevant forums.

Today Lucy Huntzinger made the first post on the new official DUFF website:

This is the official website of DUFF, the Down Under Fan Fund. DUFF was founded in 1972 to create and strengthen links between North American and Australasian fandom by an exchange of elected delegates. Fancy, eh? It’s not that fancy. The fund helps to send a fan from North America to a National Convention or Worldcon in Australia or New Zealand and, in alternate years, a fan from Australia/New Zealand to a Worldcon or NASFiC in North America. It’s administered entirely by volunteers, specifically the delegates who take their trip and then come home to raise money during their tenure as administrator, and it works as the bridge it was designed to be. Even with all the social media you can shake a stick at, there’s nothing that can replace a face to face meeting with someone from another country who partakes of your subculture. It changes both sides, promoting understanding of our different cultures and creating friendships.

This year, 2015, the race between Australasia and North America has been suspended. Both sides are in a period of rebuilding the fund. The North American administrator is Lucy Huntzinger (acting administrator for Juanita Coulson). Email address: downunderfanfund at gmail dot com. The Australian administrators are Julian Warner and Justin Ackroyd (acting administrators for Bill Wright). Email address: julian.warner@swiftdsl.com.au.

Next blog post: getting ready for the TAFF/DUFF Auction at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, WA.

Allyn Cadogan Passes Away

Allyn Cadogan. Photo by Gary S. Mattingly.

Allyn Cadogan. Photo by Gary S. Mattingly.

Part of the faannish trio who founded Corflu, Allyn Cadogan died of liver cancer on April 16 in Tucson, AZ.

The fanzine fans’ convention was the margarita-inspired idea of Cadogan, Lucy Huntzinger and Shay Barsabe during an evening in 1983 spent lamenting the marginalization of fanzine fandom at the big conventions. They held the first Corflu the following year in Berkeley.

Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Cadogan was an integral part of Vancouver’s vibrant fan community — editor of the local club’s BCFSAzine (August 1976-September 1977), and treasurer of Westercon 30, held at the University of British Columbia in 1977.

GenrePlat_copyIn 1977, Allyn Cadogan, Susan Wood, William Gibson and John Park also released the first two issues of Genre Plat, which Cadogan continued to publish solo once she set down in San Francisco.

What seemed a supremely important piece of esoterica in those days was the source of the title, a reference to a box of Kaybee toothpicks with a bilingual label saying “Flat style” in English, and in French, “Genre Plat.” Those of us who knew no French at all felt it added to the zine’s Canadian mystique. 

Genre Plat was that rare fanzine able to maintain a faanish atmosphere while paying a great deal of attention to science fiction. The 1978 issue featured Cadogan’s interview of Kate Wilhelm at Westercon 30. Gibson had just sold his first short story in 1977, but was a few years away from hitting the big time, meanwhile wrote sercon for Locus and SF Review. Susan Wood, then a professor at the University of British Columbia, was actually the best known of the editorial quartet, winning the second of her three Best Fan Writer Hugos the year the zine began.

Cadogan would be associated with a more distinctly faanish zine when she co-edited Convention Girls’ Digest with Sharee Carton and Lucy Huntzinger in the 1980s. And along the way she also produced several issues of Bunnies, Zucchinis, & Sweet Basil.

genre plat toothpicksThe Cadogan-Huntzinger-Barsabe trio, before founding Corflu, produced the Emperor Norton Science Fiction Hour, a public-access television program in San Francisco during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In the mid-1980s she was married to Karl Mosgofian for awhile and the couple had their own company, Asta Computer Services.

Lucy Huntzinger paid this final tribute to Cadogan:

She was wickedly funny, generous, enthusiastic, artistic, smart as hell. She was a very good friend.

Corflu Zed Posts PR #2 Online

Corflu Zed logo

Randy Byers writes: “The second issue of the Corflu Zed progress report, AmaZed and CorfluZed, is now available at <http://efanzines.com/Corflu26/index.htm>. Corflu Zed, the 26th Corflu, will be held the weekend of 13-15 March 2009 in Seattle.

“This edition of the progress report contains plenty of news and information about the convention, and it also includes reminiscences, Dickian dreams, and faan fiction by Earl Kemp, Jerry Kaufman, Terry Floyd, Lucy Huntzinger, and Otto Pfeifer, plus cartoons by Steve Stiles, Brad Foster, and D West. We also have a lettercol this time, and we hope you’ll write us with your comments and questions for the third and final issue, which we’ll publish in February. Send letters to pubzed@corflu.org.”

Update 12/11/2008: Added Jerry Kaufman to credits.