Pixel Scroll 9/27/23 Do Pixels Dream Of Electric Scrolls?

(1) LE GUIN ON EARTHSEA. Literary Hub invites fans to “WATCH: Ursula K. Le Guin on Creating the World of Earthsea”.

The Journey That Matters is a series of six short videos from Arwen Curry, the director and producer of Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guina Hugo Award-nominated 2018 feature documentary about the iconic author.

In the third of the series, John Plotz reflects on “Worlds Out of Words,” in which Ursula talks about creating her most beloved fantasy world.

Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea is both a series of books and a whole world. Perhaps its most amazing power is how it teaches readers that even here, in our own shared world, “words do make magic.”

Nobody who came to A Wizard of Earthsea as a child will ever forget Ged’s relationship to words of power. Calling down birds, or threatening a dragon with its own name, is the sort of magic that makes an overlit library fade away, that puts readers like shy solitary nine-year-old me out on the sea in a boat held together only with spells. “Making worlds out of words,” as she puts it here, is a power she felt lucky to have.

(2) THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY? Even though Publishers Weekly says the suit doesn’t mention books, nevertheless, they report that the “Book Business Applauds Government Lawsuit Against Amazon”.

The Federal Trade Commission, supported by 17 state attorneys general, finally filed its long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Amazon yesterday. In a 172-page complaint, the government alleged that the e-tailer “uses a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power.” The use of that power, the government continued, allows Amazon “to stop rivals and sellers from lowering prices, degrade quality for shoppers, overcharge sellers, stifle innovation, and prevent rivals from fairly competing against Amazon.”

The immediate industry reaction to the news of the suit was uniform: “What took so long?” Or, in the words of Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson, that it was “about fucking time.” An industry lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous, gave a more nuanced view in wondering why it took the government so long to act, pointing to the infamous buy button case in 2010, when Amazon pulled Macmillan’s buy buttons in a dispute over e-book terms. (The fight is detailed in former Macmillan CEO John Sargent’s new book, Turning Pages.)

Even with Amazon’s dominant position over the sale of e-books and print books, the suit doesn’t mention books, which, of course, were Amazon’s first line of business. The suit does, however, highlight Amazon’s hold over the companies who use its online marketplace to sell a range of products, including books, to consumers….

(3) CHENGDU WORLDCON UPDATE. [Item by Ersatz Culture.]

He talks about his nominated story, and then about SF generally and the Chengdu Worldcon.

There’s a title card that says this is “Episode 1”, but I’ve not come across an episode 2.  Although there’s a brief bit with Cixin Liu at the start, you see more of Yao Haijun, who is a Best Editor (Long Form) finalist this year.  The video doesn’t seem to be directly tied to this year’s Worldcon or Hugos though.

(4) HISTORIC INFLUENCE. Digital Trends posits these as the “10 most influential sci-fi movies ever”. I very much agree with the decision to include this one on the list:

A Trip To The Moon (1902)

As the first science-fiction movie ever created, this black-and-white short holds great importance in the world of cinema. Based on a story by Jules Verne, this picture follows a team of astronomers who launch themselves into the eye of the Moon and encounter the alien Selenites on the lunar surface. While this film is known more for its technical achievements, A Trip to the Moon still stands out as a goofy satire of imperialism and colonialism.

(5) ED BRYANT’S BLOOD. Scott Edelman says he’s at 77% of the fundraising goal to buy new podcasting equipment for Eating The Fantastic. What will he do to move the needle now?

“I’m parting with an autographed copy of the limited edition to Edward Bryant’s Fetish — which he signed using his own blood. The letter at the listing explains how and why.” The item is here on eBay. “I bought this at an HWA charity auction during the 1995 World Horror Con … and now it’s time to let someone else own Ed’s DNA.”

(6) HANSBERRY’S FANTASTIC PLAY. Nisi Shawl’s essay “Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry”, part of the “Expanded Course in the History of Black Science Fiction”, can be read at the Carl Brandon Society website.

…This essay is about Les BlancsLorraine Hansberry’s last play.

WHERE IT FITS IN THE OEUVRE
First produced in 1970, a little over five years after the author died of cancer at the age of 34, Les Blancs never achieved the acclaim of Hansberry’s massively successful Broadway play A Raisin in the Sun, nor that of the Off-Broadway dramatic adaptation her widower Robert Nemiroff patched together from her notes and autobiographical writings, To Be Young, Gifted and Black. But though it remained unfinished at the time of her death, she considered it her most important work.

HOW TO TELL IT’S FANTASTIC
Les Blanc’s action takes place in an unnamed African country modeled on Ghana and Kenya, according to Hansberry’s biographers, and also somewhat on the Congo, according to me. (See, for instance, the reference in Act Two, Scene 2 to the Belgian King Leopold’s favorite method of mutilation, the cutting off of indigenes’ hands.) The “Kwi,” this country’s original inhabitants, are in the midst of being supplanted by English-speaking whites. The supplantation is carried out via multiple methods: a paternalistic Christian mission-cum-hospital, a white-run government supported by a white-run soldiery, and political interference with the threat of military intervention from the US. Like many SF and Fantasy authors before and after her, Hansberry is able to analyze real-life issues with lessened fear of triggering reprisals by situating them in a purely speculative location. Rather than invoking an alternate past as I do in Everfair or an extrapolated future as Nnedi Okorafor does in Who Fears Death, though, Hansberry creates a semi-imaginary present. (Now, of course, that present has passed….

(7) HOUSE COLORS. You can watch the Empire State Building lit up in Harry Potter colors tonight, September 27, via this livestream.

(8) MIXING IN WITH MARVEL. The creator of the Mutts comic goes in a different direction with his new book. Patrick McDonnell’s The Super Hero’s Journey, published by Abrams ComicArts in collaboration with Marvel Comics, was released September 26.

The book begins with the Watcher as he observes Earth and the inner struggles of the Marvel heroes. He watches Doctor Doom (who has harnessed the power of the Negative Zone) slowly destroy the human spirit. The Watcher then leads Mr. Fantastic on a meta journey through the pages of classic comic books. Ultimately, our heroes come to a Zen solution in an unexpected fashion — one that aligns with Patrick’s other beloved and award-winning books — leaving us with a renewed sense of love, hope, and redemption.

Learn more about the project as Forces of Geek “Chats With Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell About ‘The Super Hero’s Journey’”.

The book features excerpts of early Marvel Comics by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck and Vince Colletta. Was including original Marvel art part of the plan from the beginning and when it came to your selections, were they already definitive in your mind or did Marvel make suggestions on certain images/panels to include within your narrative?

One of my first concepts for this project was to combine my art with the classic ‘60s comic panels and pages to tell a new story in a new way. It gave me an excuse to re-read all those amazing early issues. I was looking for panels that would work with my storyline, but also staying open to find happy surprises that might help shape the story. Marvel was not part of that process but were supportive and enthusiastic of the final product.

Early in the book, you mention that reading the early Marvel comics was life-altering and transformative and transported you. Can you explain how the experience changed you?

Early childhood art experiences open you up to new ways of thinking and seeing the world. Those comics made me want to explore my own imagination and creativity. The Marvel super heroes made you believe that everything and anything is possible and to strive to be the best you could be.

(9) PETE KOZACHIK (1951-2023). Cinematographer Pete Kozachik, who worked on several well-known stop-motion animation genre features, died September 12 at the age of 72 reports SFGate.

Pete Kozachik, the pioneering visual effects artist and cinematographer who brought his unique style to stop-motion animation classics including “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Corpse Bride,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Coraline” and more, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, at his Bay Area home due to complications related to primary progressive aphasia. He was 72 years old….

…Kozachik decided he wanted to try his hand at making his own Harryhausen-esque movies. A family friend taught him how to shoot, develop and print photos, and after reading an article titled “Build a Movie” in one of their Popular Photography magazines, he got to work on his very first project. Earnings from his job as a paperboy with the Detroit Free Press allowed him to buy a black-and-white 8 mm camera, foam pieces snipped with scissors became crude dinosaurs and cave people, and a dark rabbit-fur purse he found in a trash can was transformed into his star: a King Kong puppet he would pit against the dinosaurs….

(10) MEMORY LANE.

1989 [Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Terry Pratchett’s Pyramids where our Beginning is from one of the early Discworld novels, being just the seventh. It was published by Gollancz thirty-four years ago. Josh Kirby did the absolutely amazing wrap-around cover for this edition. 

Pyramids was unusual for the early novels as it was  split into four ‘Books’, a structure that gives it a unique position amongst the otherwise early chapterless Discworld novels. No, The Colour of Magic doesn’t really count as it’s a collection of linked novellas, not a single novel with chapters or sections. Later novels did have chapters. 

The only Award that it got nominated for, a British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel, it won. 

And now our Beginning…

Nothing but stars, scattered across the blackness as though the Creator had smashed the windscreen of his car and hadn’t bothered to stop to sweep up the pieces. 

This is the gulf between universes, the chill deeps of space that contain nothing but the occasional random molecule, a few lost comets and . . . . . . 

but a circle of blackness shifts slightly, the eye reconsiders perspective, and what was apparently the awesome distance of interstellar wossname becomes a world under darkness, its stars the lights of what will charitably be called civilization. 

For, as the world tumbles lazily, it is revealed as the Discworld—flat, circular, and carried through space on the back of four elephants who stand on the back of Great A’tuin, the only turtle ever to feature on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, a turtle ten thousand miles long, dusted with the frost of dead comets, meteor-pocked, albedo-eyed. No one knows the reason for all this, but it is probably quantum.

Much that is weird could happen on a world on the back of a turtle like that. 

It’s happening already. 

The stars below are campfires, out in the desert, and the lights of remote villages high in the forested mountains. Towns are smeared nebulae, cities are vast constellations; the great sprawling city of Ankh-Morpork, for example, glows like a couple of colliding galaxies. 

But here, away from the great centers of population, where the Circle Sea meets the desert, there is a line of cold blue fire. Flames as chilly as the slopes of Hell roar toward the sky. Ghostly light flickers across the desert. 

The pyramids in the ancient valley of the Djel are flaring their power into the night.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 27, 1920 Henry Farrell. Novelist and screenwriter, best known as the author of the “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” story which was made into a film of the same name starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. His other genre fiction was all in the Toffee series which consisted of a novel, The Shades of Toffee, and related short stories. Any of you read them? (Died 2006.)
  • Born September 27, 1927 Roberta Gellis. Though she wrote nearly a dozen novels of her own, you most likely know her writing within the Elves on the Road Universe created by Mercedes Lackey. She co-wrote the Serrated Edge prequels with Lackey, two of which were full novels — Ill Met by Moonlight and And Less Than Kind. (Died 2016.)
  • Born September 27, 1956 Sheila Williams, 67. Editor, Asimov’s Science Fiction. She won the Hugo Award for Best Short Form Editor in 2011 and 2012. With the late Gardner Dozois, she co-edited a bonnie bunch of anthologies such as Isaac Asimov’s RobotsIsaac Asimov’s Christmas and Isaac Asimov’s Cyberdreams. She was also responsible for the Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy writing being renamed the Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. 
  • Born September 27, 1966 David Bishop, 57. In the Nineties, he edited the UK Judge Dredd Megazine (1991–2002) and 2000 AD (1995–2000). He wrote a number of Dredd, Warhammer and Who novels including the Who novel Who Killed Kennedy which is a popular Third Doctor story.  He’s written Big Finish stories in the DreddSarah Jane and Who lines. Dredd audio dramas. 
  • Born September 27, 1972 Andy Briggs, 51. He started out as an uncredited writer working on story developer on the Highlander Series. I’m going to single out his writing of The Tarzan Trilogy which consists of Tarzan: The Greystoke LegacyTarzan the Jungle Warrior and Tarzan: The Savage Lands. Most excellent pulp. He’s written eleven scripts including a remake of The Philadelphia Experiment

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • xkcd reinvents book podcasts.

(13) IGNORE THAT BOND BALONEY. JoBlo quickly walked back its story that “Christopher Nolan could possibly direct period James Bond films”. Ain’t happening.

…Well, that was fast but a knowledgeable source has reached out to us to say that this rumour is “1000% fantasy” and not at all true. Nolan is not in discussions with EON to take on the James Bond films, and indeed, the rumour below did seem too good to be true. The fact is, with Oppenheimer having grossing over $900 million worldwide, Nolan’s next project can be – well – whatever he wants. Would he really tie himself to a franchise at this point in his career? It’s unlikely. Chalk this one up to wishful thinking as far as us James Bond fans go. Oh well, it was fun thinking about it while it lasted!…

(14) YOU HAVE TO SPEND MONEY TO STEAL MONEY. “Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic in growing tech battle” reports AP News.

Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in Anthropic and taking a minority stake in the artificial intelligence startup, the two companies said Monday.

The investment underscores how Big Tech companies are pouring money into AI as they race to capitalize on the opportunities that the latest generation of the technology is set to fuel.

Amazon and Anthropic said the deal is part of a broader collaboration to develop so-called foundation models, which underpin the generative AI systems that have captured global attention.

Foundation models, also known as large language models, are trained on vast pools of online information, like blog posts, digital books, scientific articles and pop songs to generate text, images and video that resemble human work.

Under the agreement, Anthropic is making Amazon its primary cloud computing service and using the online retail giant’s custom chips as part of work to train and deploy its generative AI systems.

San Francisco-based Anthropic was founded by former staffers from OpenAI, the maker of the ChatGPT AI chatbot that made a global splash with its ability to come up with answers mimicking human responses….

(15) VISIT A NEARBY TOWER. The Guardian has good news about an architectural and scientific landmark: “Observatory built to represent Einstein’s theory of relativity reopens in Germany”.

A solar observatory built to substantiate Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity has been reopened near the German capital after a renovation project to preserve it for future generations.

The Einsteinturm (Einstein Tower) on Telegraph Hill in Potsdam, 16 miles (25km) south-west of Berlin, spent a year under scaffolding while work was carried out using modern techniques to seal its many thousands of cracks, cure it of extensive dampness, and to save its domed zinc roof, while retaining its authenticity.

Constructed between 1920 and 1922 by the architect Erich Mendelsohn in collaboration with the astronomer Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, the 20-metre tower, said at the time to resemble a “gawky spaceship”, has long been a lure for architectural enthusiasts and astrophysicists alike….

… The tower is very much still in operation as a working solar observatory today, run by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics (AIP), where it is mainly used for the study of solar magnetic fields….

(16) DO YOU HAVE PRINCE ALBERT IN A CAN? “Scientists just opened the lid to NASA’s asteroid sample canister”Ars Technica peeked over their shoulders.

…When the spacecraft departed the roughly 1,600-foot-wide (500-meter) asteroid Bennu in 2020, engineers estimated the probe had gathered around 250 grams, or 8.8 ounces, of specimens from Bennu’s porous surface. The spacecraft sampled the asteroid by extending a robotic arm out in front of it, then essentially pogoing off the surface, only contacting Bennu for a few seconds. When it touched the asteroid, the spacecraft released a burst of gas to funnel loose rocks into a collection chamber shaped like an air filter on the end of the robot arm. This device is called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or TAGSAM.

Scientists discovered the collection chamber’s door was wedged open with larger rocky material, with some fragments of rock leaking out into space, so they decided to quickly stow the sampling device inside the return capsule to avoid losing more material. That led some scientists on the OSIRIS-REx team to wonder whether the spacecraft might come back to Earth with even more than the 250-gram estimate, which was four times the minimum requirement for mission success.

Researchers likely won’t know for sure how much material OSIRIS-REx brought home until next month. That will require the lab team in Houston to remove the TAGSAM sampling mechanism from its restraint inside the canister, which protected it for the journey back to Earth like a nested doll. Then they will open up the device and hopefully find larger chunks of rock. All of this should happen in the next couple of weeks….

(17) BUT DOES IT LAND JELLY SIDE DOWN? “Scientists find antimatter is subject to gravity” – the Guardian has the story.

Galileo put gravitational theory to the test by dropping balls from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Four hundred years on, scientists have performed a higher tech version of the experiment to demonstrate for the first time that antimatter also falls downwards.

The study, by scientists at Cern, showed conclusively that gravity pulls antihydrogen downwards and that, at least for antimatter, antigravity does not exist.

“Broadly speaking, we’re making antimatter and we’re doing a Leaning Tower of Pisa kind of experiment,” said Prof Jonathan Wurtele, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Berkeley. “We’re letting the antimatter go, and we’re seeing if it goes up or down.”…

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. The Daily Woo earlier this week posted a video with a “Final Look At Warner Bros Ranch As It’s Leveled – Hollywood History Gone Forever”.

…I pulled over here and parked on this street in Burbank where the Warner Ranch was. It is no longer the Warner Ranch even though there are still some buildings back in here. I was lucky enough twice to be able to get inside once like a year ago and then once like four months ago. Since then from what I am hearing there are no employees of the company of Warner, it’s not even title that anymore, and there’s just a demolition crew in there so I’m gonna see what I can find…

[Thanks to Ersatz Culture, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Steven French, Dann, Rich Lynch, Scott Edelman, John A Arkansawyer, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

Pixel Scroll 4/6/2016 I Saw A Scroll Drinking A Pina Colada At Trader Vic’s, His Pixel Was Perfect

(1) APPRECIATION. At Fantasy Café, Stephanie Burgis thanks the women who blazed the trail into the fantasy genre.

I wanted to write a very important thank you note to the women who first showed me the way into this field…

I imagine the extra emotional hurdles I would have had to jump, if those women hadn’t taken the risk before me of letting the world know their gender when they published their books.

So: thank you, Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip, Emma Bull, and Judith Tarr. I loved your books then, I love them now, and I’m so grateful that you took that risk for me and every other fantasy-loving girl reader/writer out there.

Thank you.

(2) FEMINIST COMICS. Corrina Lawson at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog recommends “9 Feminist Comics Everyone Should Read”. Apparently this doesn’t literally mean feminist, but anyway —

It’s a good time to be a reader interested in feminist comics. When I say “feminist,” I don’t necessarily mean “a book in which a women fights the patriarchy.” I don’t even require the story to be written by a woman.

What I mean by “feminist comics” is that they offer stories that include three-dimensional female characters. That’s it. I know, it seems like a low bar, but it’s surprising how often it isn’t done. And yes, many of them that do it are written by women—but not all.

In compiling a list of feminist comics I think everyone should read, I looked beyond Marvel and DC Comics, because I wanted to spotlight work being done outside of the “Big Two,”  though I do love and applaud the work being done on Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, A-Force, Black CanaryBatwoman, and Gotham Academy. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list; rather, it’s a glimpse at a handful of the many comics out there with fascinating female characters. Please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments. (And to those wondering why Lumberjanes isn’t on this list, well, I sang the praises of that book in a previous article.)

First on the list is Monstress, story by Marjorie Liu, art/cover by Sana Takeda (for young adult readers)

(3) MORE CIVIL WARRIORS. SciFiNow breathlessly reveals “Captain America: Civil War adds two interesting last minute cast members”.

The first is the marvellous Jim Rash, best known to many as Dean Pelton from Community. The second is Alfre Woodard, who is particularly interesting seeing as she’s also set to appear in Netflix’s Luke Cage as Mariah Dillard. Does that mean Captain America: Civil War will become the first MCU film to cross over with Netflix’s series of Marvel shows?

Both Woodard and Rash’s involvement in Civil War seem to have been revealed by accident when both their names were included on a Disney list of cast members who will be attending the film’s upcoming premiere. Since the list was issued, sources have claimed that Woodard will play a small but pivotal part in Civil War as the mother of an American citizen who was killed during the Battle of Sokovia in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

(4) BRADBURY IN MUTTS. James H. Burns says, “One of my favrorite things in the world for many years now has been Patrick McDonnell’s comic strip, Mutts. McDonnell is simply one of the best, of our generation, and really, all time. You should like this installment!”

mutts, bee

 

(5) KINDLE SCOUT. Joan Marie Verba explains “How Kindle Scout Works” at the SFWA Blog.

Kindle Scout is a publishing option sponsored by Amazon.com. Writers can submit an unpublished manuscript of 50,000 words or more in the science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or romance genres. Kindle Scout then will put up a web page with the cover, summary, sample chapter, and author information. Potential readers then review the information, and if they have an Amazon.com account, they can nominate the work. At the end of 30 days, the Kindle Scout team reviews the statistics and the work. If they accept the work for publication, the author gets an advance against royalties and the work is published on Kindle Press….

One site I would highly recommend reading before, and especially during, one’s campaign is kboards—in particular, the “Kindle Scout Experiences, Anyone?” board. This board has authors who are in the midst of a Kindle Scout campaign as well as authors who have completed one (successfully or unsuccessfully). Some on that board assert that there are factors in addition to the number of nominations that Kindle Scout considers in order to make a selection, such as the author’s sales history and number of titles previously published.

(6) MOVIE SPACESHIPS. ScreenRant lists the “14 Most Iconic Ships To Ever Appear In Science Fiction Movies”. It’s true, I made noises while reading this article.

If you’re reading this list, chances are at some point in your life you’ve held a toy spaceship in your hands and steered it gracefully through the air, banking left and right, while making engine noises (“Kschchchch,” “Wrrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaar!”) and laser noises (“Pfew, pfew,” “Tschew!”). That’s because ships in sci-fi movies can be so crazy cool. That’s part of the fun of watching them: seeing which new designs special effects teams have come up with, or what old favorites have been updated.

Most of these ships are spacecraft, but sci-fi ships can also go underwater or even inside the human body. There are malicious, invading alien crafts and benevolent alien ships; massive vessels that hold thousands of people, and little one-seaters. But they’re all awesome in their own way.

Okay trufen – before you peek, guess whether #1 on the list is from Star Wars or Star Trek!

(7) BAEN NEWS. Baen Books will now offer MVMedia ebooks on the Baen Ebooks website. MVMedia is an Atlanta-based publisher known for a wide range of science fiction and fantasy, notably for its Sword and Soul genre anthologies. Sword and Soul is epic fantasy adventure set in a mythological Africa featuring a sword-wielding black hero.

MVMedia at Baen Ebooks launches with The Dark Universe Anthology edited by Milton J. Davis and Gene Peterson, and From Here to Timbuktu, written by Milton J. Davis.

The Dark Universe anthology is a multi-author space opera in the high sense. It portrays the origin story of the Cassad Empire, from its ambitious beginning as a refuge and new home for a persecuted people to its evolution to the first great human Galactic Empire. Authors include Milton Davis, Gene Peterson, Balogun Ojetade, Penelope Flynn, Ronald Jones, Malon Edwards, K. Ceres Wright and DaVaun Sanders….

(8) GUSTAFSSON OBIT. Ahrvid Engholm pays tribute to the late Lars Gufstafsson (1936-2016) at Europa SF.

Lars Gustafsson was just awarded the International Zbigniew Herbert Prize in Poland, and was supposed to collect it May 17th in Warsaw, his 80th birthday.

But death intervened.

Lars Gustafsson, author, poet, philosopher, etc, passed away April 3rd. He was 79.

Lars Gustafsson was a heavyweight in Swedish literature and culture. The biggest swedish morning paper, Dagens Nyheter, had seven (!) pages about Gustafsson’s death.

And he was a big fan of science fiction and fantastic literature! It began when he as a young boy steadily read the then sf pulp magazine Jules Verne Magasinet (1940-47). He even visited our local SF conventions occasionally.

(9) DRAGON AWARDS REACTIONS. Here are samples from the range of reactions to Dragon Con’s new SF awards.

(10) THE WINNER HAS YET TO ENTER THE RING. Lela E. Buis awards a technical knockout to the Dragon Awards simply for being announced, in “Upheaval in the awards system”.

Contrast this attendance figure with WorldCon that gives out the Hugo Awards. Wikipedia lists 4,644 attendees and 10,350 who bought memberships to vote the 2015 Hugo Awards, which was a record for numbers. With DragonCon moving into the awards game, I’m thinking the Hugo’s are officially undermined. The Puppy scandal has not only disrupted the voting system, but it seems to have led to an inspection of the Hugo process where works are winnowed through a narrow review and recommendation system and onto the ballot.

(11) DUKING IT OUT ABOUT PC. Matthew M. Foster and L. Jagi Lamplighter overflowed Facebook with their recent discussion of Political Correctness, each writing a supplemental blog post.

Foster’s post is, “They Took My Job!”

Political Correctness threatens people’s jobs.

OK. How? The example from that other thread is that researchers who disagree with climate change are afraid to speak up due to fear of losing their job. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good example for it brings up an obvious alternative—that is that researches who do not do a good job fear losing their job. Which they should. If 99 researchers do an experiment and get X, and 1 guy does it and gets Y, then the most likely reason is because 1 guy did it poorly. And that’s what we have in climate change research. But lets get past that and make this more general, to take out the notion that the employee is bad at his job while keeping in mind the nearly meaningless nature of the term “PC.”

So, how can someone lose their job due to political correctness?

  1. He could say something that is offensive to other employees or the boss thus damaging productivity.
  2. He could say things that are offensive to the general public
  3. He could say something that indicates his disagreement with the boss.

….Or they can just say whatever they want, and accept the consequences. Because that’s not political correctness. That’s life. I believe the phrase is, freedom isn’t free. Yelling “political correctness” doesn’t get you out of life. It doesn’t excuse you from consequences, and if you think it does, you are an idiot whose views of society would create the totalitarian state you claim to abhor—if you were consistent anyway.

Which all comes down to, no one is losing their job due to political correctness nor should they fear doing so. They are losing their jobs because they are rude and insulting, or because they are inconsiderate by disrupting the company, or because they are causing the company to lose sales, or because they are personally upsetting their boss, or because they won’t follow their boss’s lead, or because they are bad at their jobs. That’s how jobs work. Don’t want to lose your job? Don’t do those things. Political correctness has nothing to do with it.

L. Jagi Lamplighter wrote, “Political Correctness vs. The Search for Happiness”.

I am a strong supporter of the great dialogue that is civilization. Were it up to me, nothing would ever interfere with it.

Political correctness quenches this conversation. Here are some of the reasons I say that:

* It replaces discussion and debate with Puritan-style disapproval.

You don’t explain to someone why you disagree with them. You speak so as to shut them down as quickly as possible.

* It keeps people from sharing politically correct views in a way that might convince.

Because of this, if the person who favors the politically correct position has a good reason for their opinions, the other person will not know, because debate has been silenced.

*It keeps people from sharing any other view.

If the person who does not favor the politically correct position has a good reasons for supporting their position—the person favoring the politically correct reason will never hear it, because he shut down the debate before he had a chance to hear the reasons…..

(12) CARD HOLDS THUMBS DOWN. “Will this election doom America? ‘Ender’s Game’ author holds dim view in light of current politics” reports the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

America has no hope.

That could be the summation of an hour-long talk science fiction writer Orson Scott Card offered last week Wednesday at Ripon College.

Couching his comments in the concept that a good science-fiction writer must understand history, Card explained that history now suggests the United States is not at a crossroads, but already too far down the wrong path to seek a solution.

“There is no winning hand in this election. There is no vote you can now cast that will save us from potential disaster, and that’s never really been true in American history before. Sometimes we’ve elected the worst guy, nevertheless the worst guy was never as bad as the choices we have now,” said Card, who wrote the popular book “Ender’s Game,” and which he turned into a screenplay for a Hollywood movie. “So we can look at empires, we can look at them as I do as a science fiction writer, and try to find how they rise and fall, what rules apply …

“The problem is, we’re all making this situation up together, and we’re all stuck with whatever answers we come up with. And if history’s taught us one thing, it’s all empires fall, and they all fall at inconvenient times.”

(13) POTTER EVENT RESCHEDULED FOR GEEZERS. The City of Perth Library postponed its Harry Potter event, aimed at teens aged 12-18 and their parents, to accommodate adults who complained they felt left out.

Library staff attempted to explain that the event was curated by its Youth Services faculty and the events were specifically targeted at teens….

Despite this explanation, many fans lamented over the idea that they would miss out on their chance to learn about owls or take a “potions class” from local experts so the library decided to postpone the event indefinitely.

“We want to be able to provide a magical experience for all Library patrons,” they wrote on Facebook. “As such the Harry Potter event has been postponed and we are looking at how we can accommodate many more witches, wizards, muggles and their families.”

(14) RIDLEY RAPS. “Daisy Ridley Rapping Is the Greatest ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Bonus Feature Yet!” at YouTube.

(15) WHAT A WRITER NEEDS TO KNOW. Soon Lee’s instant classic started life as a humble comment before being enshrined in the canon of English literature a few minutes later.

The Writer

On a cool Autumn’s eve
At a Worldcon bound for nowhere
I met up with the writer
We were both too tired to sleep

So we took turns a-starin’
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us,
And she began to speak

She said, “Child, I’ve made a life
Out of writin’ people’s stories
Knowin’ what the plots were
By the way they held their tropes

So if you don’t mind me sayin’
I can see you’re out of ideas
For a taste of your Oolong
I’ll give you some advice”

So I handed her my China
And she drank down my last swallow
Then she bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light

And the night got deathly quiet
And her face lost all expression
She said, “If you’re gonna play the game, child
You gotta learn to write it right

You’ve got to know when to show ’em
Know when to tell ’em
Know when to passive voice
And to gerund

You never check your wordcount
When you’re typin’ at the keyboard
There’ll be time enough for counting
When the writin’s done

Every writer knows
That the secret to good writin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep

‘Cause every book’s a winner
And every book’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to Fail
Better next

And when she finished speakin’
She turned back toward the window
Crushed out her cigarette
And faded off to sleep

And somewhere in the darkness
The writer she dreamt stories
But in her final words
I found advice that I could keep

You’ve got to know when to show ’em
Know when to tell ’em
Know when to passive voice
And to gerund

You never check your wordcount
When you’re typin’ at the keyboard
There’ll be time enough for counting
When the writin’s done

Repeat to fade

(Starring Badass Raadchai Ann Leckie as the writer. With apologies to Kenny Rogers)

[Thanks to Will R., JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]