Pixel Scroll 7/26 – The Answer, My Friend, is Scrollin’ in the Wind

Rants, disenchants, and Peter Grant, in today’s Scroll.

(1) “The Taffeta Darling,” a guest brought in by the Dallas Gaming Expo to help direct games, says the whole thing was run so badly she quit and wrote “Where’s The Ball Pit? Or Why I Left Dallas Gaming Expo”.

This weekend is the Dallas Gaming Expo, a video gaming convention that had hired me to be their voice of the convention and help them run their gaming tournaments. For the first time ever as a guest, I left what would have been a paid convention gig due to disgust, disbelief and a good conscious [sic].

The Dallas Gaming Expo turned out to be a classic example of a promoter looking to make loads of money off of the gaming community without really knowing what the should be done. This expo was presented with huge expectations with loads of guests, arcade gaming, skeeball, video game tournaments and more! Unfortunately what attendees got Friday night was a ball room full of chairs, 4 wobbly projection screens and about 6-7 TVs with consoles. As a guest of the event I smiled, and hoped for the best and said I was having fun, well because that’s what ya do.  I also wanted to see this event succeed. I thought maybe more would be coming and hopefully it will be better in the morning. I stayed through the night and ran the Super Smash Bros tournament along with guest Natalie Green, which honestly was a lot of fun for me to watch and engage in. On the flip side the tournament itself had quite a few snags including casual rules for tournament play, broken controllers, lagging screenplay, no official forms, and the reliance on a group of volunteers that tried it’s best to make things work.

After bailing on DGE, she went across town to Quakecon, another gaming event in Dallas this weekend.

A dissastified customer has even started a Change.org petition to ban the Dallas Gaming Expo from happening again (though only 29 signers as of this writing).

(2) I know in the world of sf&f there’s a tremendous competition to be the field’s biggest narcissist, but honestly, is anybody more stuck on himself than Michael Moorcock? The headline of his latest interview — “Michael Moorcock: ‘I think Tolkien was a crypto-fascist”.

“I think he’s a crypto-fascist,” says Moorcock, laughing. “In Tolkien, everyone’s in their place and happy to be there. We go there and back, to where we started. There’s no escape, nothing will ever change and nobody will ever break out of this well-­ordered world.” How does he feel about the triumph of Tolkienism and, subsequently, the political sword-and-sorcery epic Game of Thrones, in making fantasy arguably bigger than it has ever been?

“To me, it’s simple,” he says. “Fantasy became as bland as everything else in entertainment. To be a bestseller, you’ve got to rub the corners off. The more you can predict the emotional arc of a book, the more successful it will become.

Nothing ever changes in Middle-Earth? Evil is defeated, the spirits on the paths of the dead are redeemed, all the elves leave, the Shire is trashed…. Never mind. I’ve read bales of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion novels. Entertaining, but he didn’t beat Tolkien at his own game.

(3) A radio dramatization of Iain M. Banks’ novella “The State of the Art” (45 minutes) is available free on the BBC for another three weeks.

The Culture ship Arbitrary arrives on Earth in 1977 and finds a planet obsessed with alien concepts like ‘property’ and ‘money’ and on the edge of self-destruction. When Agent Dervley Linter, decides to go native can Diziet Sma change his mind?

From Wikipedia:

The novella chronicles a Culture mission to Earth in the late 1970s, and also serves as a prequel of sorts to Use of Weapons by featuring one of that novel’s characters, Diziet Sma. Here, Sma argues for contact with Earth, to try to fix the mess the human species has made of it; another Culture citizen, Linter, goes native, choosing to renounce his Culture body enhancements so as to be more like the locals; and Li, who is a Star Trek fan, argues that the whole “incontestably neurotic and clinically insane species” should be eradicated with a micro black hole. The ship Arbitrary has ideas, and a sense of humour, of its own.

“Also while I’d been away, the ship had sent a request on a postcard to the BBC’s World Service, asking for ‘Mr David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her.’ (This from a machine that could have swamped Earth’s entire electro-magnetic spectrum with whatever the hell it wanted from somewhere beyond Betelgeuse.) It didn’t get the request played. The ship thought this was hilarious.”

(4) After a 17-year hiatus, W. Paul Ganley’s Weirdbook Magazine is coming back. A Stephen Fabian cover will be on the back and this artwork by Dusan Kostic will be on the front —

Weirdbook 31

(5) Futurefen is a new WordPress site hoping to serve as a news and conrunning resource for kids programming.

I started this site because of frustration with getting timely and accurate info about kid programming from SFF conventions. I wanted to start a larger dialogue about how conventions can better serve ALL members of our community, and provide a centralized resource for information for fans with kids. For many of us, quality kid programs are a necessity to attend a convention. For us as a community, we need to foster and include and welcome kids to our gatherings because kids are our future. They’re the future fans, the future scientists, future writers and artists and inventors, future interesting people. Many of them are those things RIGHT NOW, and they have a lot of good they bring along with the energy they take.

I don’t really know if/how this site is going to work, but here we go. Let’s make a difference. 🙂

(6) Peter Grant scoffs at Jason Sanford’s announcement that the Tor Boycott has failed. Grant encourages supporters to ”Stay the course”.

I repeat what I’ve said before:  the Tor boycott is a long-term effort.  I know for certain, based on solid feedback from literally hundreds of individuals, that it’s already biting.  It was an eye-opener at LibertyCon last month to have so many people come up to me, thank me for taking a stand, and confirm that they were part of the boycott.  I’m certain that in 2015 alone, the boycott will have a six-figure effect on Tor’s turnover – not much for a multi-million-dollar-turnover publisher, but that’s just the start.  As those involved in the boycott continue it and spread the word, the impact will grow.  I fully expect it to reach a cumulative total of seven figures over time.  Again, that may not seem like a lot to scoffers and naysayers;  but I think in today’s publishing market, where margins are already razor-thin, such a loss of turnover may have an impact out of all proportion to its dollar value.  Vox Day, who’s also called for a boycott of Tor, has more ‘inside information’ than I do, and he’s also confident that the campaign is having an impact.

Thank you to all of you who’ve taken a stand on principle and stood up for what is morally and ethically right.  That has a value all its own, in a world that doesn’t attach much value to either morals or ethics.  Stay the course.  This will go on for years, and I think it will bear both short- and long-term fruit.  (As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, there’s already convincing evidence of that.)

(7) Whereas all George R.R. Martin is saying is give peace a chance when you meet in person at Sasquan.

From talking and emailing with various friends and colleagues, however, I know that some of them will NOT be going to Spokane, mainly because the Hugo Wars have left a bad taste in their mouths. Others will attend, but not without trepidation. They wonder how much of the acrimony of Puppygate will spill over into the con itself… to the panels, the parties, the hallways. Will this worldcon be a celebration or a battleground? A family reunion or a family feud?

I wish I could answer that question, but no one really knows. I’m hoping for “celebration” and “family reunion,” and I think that’s the best bet… but we won’t know till the fat lady sings and the dead dogs howl.

And he has some gentle words for people he feels have been caught in the middle.

I don’t know Kary English. (It is possible I have met her or been in the same room with her at some previous con, but if so I don’t remember. I meet a lot of people). Until Puppygate and her double nomination, I had never read any of her work. But I agree with much of what she had to say in those posts, and I applaud her for saying it, knowing (as surely she must have) that by breaking ranks with “her side,” aka the Puppies, she would face the wroth of some of those who had previously championed her. I know that there are some on “my side” who have slammed English despite these posts, insisting that she spoke up too late in the game, that she was trying “to have it both ways.” No, sorry, that’s idiocy. Like Kloos and Bellet and Schubert before her, she’s opting out of the kennel and the slates. I will not fault her for not doing so sooner. This thing has been hard for all concerned, and these choices are painful… especially for a young writer who has just received his or her first Hugo nomination.

If there is any hope for reconciliation post-Puppygate, it lies with voices of moderation and forgiveness on both sides, not with the extremists and the haters. It lies with Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet and Edmund Schubert. I hope they are all at worldcon. I would like to meet them, buy them a drink, shake their hands, and argue about books with them.

[Thanks for these links goes out to JJ and John King Tarpinian. Title credit to Brian Z.]

270 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/26 – The Answer, My Friend, is Scrollin’ in the Wind

  1. 1) Reading how both the Dallas Gaming Expo and Quakecon were held in Dallas on the same weekend, weren’t the organizers of both events aware of the other event being run on the same weekend? If Yes, why didn’t one of them think about rescheduling? Yes, I know about deposits for booking the venues, but isn’t having the con potentially fail even more costly?

    2) On Michael Moorcock saying: ‘I think Tolkien was a crypto-fascist”.– What is his definition of a ‘crypto-fascist’? Personally, I think he has his knickers in a bunch because he know that his books will never sell as well as those of Tolkien. 😉

  2. Ghu knows I’ve enjoyed reading Moorcock more than I enjoyed reading Tolkien, but Moorcock is also the guy who, per an interview with Harlan Ellison, once told Ellison that H.E. was “better than Borges.” So I don’t think we can always trust Moorco’s opinion of other writers.

    That’s okay, though. There exists a long tradition of strong artists with eccentric opinions about other strong artists, and that sort seems to require their hobby horses to do their own work. None of Eliot’s nor Frost’s nor Williams’ contradictory views on prosody constituted laws of the universe, but thinking they did got the three out of bed in the morning, which worked out great for us.

  3. QuakeCon is a pretty big deal in the gaming convention circuit, esp for modern gamers/ fans of stuff by Zenimax/ id Software. It’s IIRC primarily sponsor driven, and has been around for several years

    DGE…dunno, seems like it was a first time thing targeted at nostalgic gamers, but yeah, doesn’t seem like it was well thought through. From the events guide to the clash with Quakecon…

  4. I am laughing at everyone’s “inside information” on how the Tor boycott is super-effective.

    Beale is constantly trumpeting his “inside information” on just about every subject. And the reality is, he is just as full of shit when he says that as he is on every other subject.

    Grant is a clown. He just doesn’t realize it yet.

  5. Is one less-than-perfectly thought out comnment on Facebook, already apologized for, really enough to galvanize people to whom it was, by definition, not even addressed* for a years-long boycott?

    Right there is the reason the concept fails. After a while, that thing Gallo said months/years ago will fade in the minds or take back priority to “OMG, you have to read THIS book. Here. Now.”

    (Can I say that the Hugos have ruined my library reputation? With some help from my toddler, who destroyed a book I’ll have to pay a replacement fee on**, but I thought my mostly Hugo-related books were due a week later than they were, then took 5 more days after that to get them back. :P)

    *it insults the Puppies. Grant has claimed not to be a puppy. In theory, then, his supporters are also not all puppies.
    **My husband has asked a key question on this: “How are there used kids’ books, anyway?”

  6. Old friend GRRM is right.
    Some of us aren’t going to worldcon because this feuding, worst I think in the genre’s history, has put us off. I’m a member but won’t go. Sad, really.

  7. “My husband has asked a key question on this: “How are there used kids’ books, anyway?”

    Personally speaking, through a judicious combination of helicopter parenting and increasingly strident “No, don’t do that”s.

    Obvs, this is not always succesful. I just tend to give mine designated books to be torn (mainly prospecti)

  8. I really like a lot of Moorcock’s fiction, and a fair amount of his non-fiction. But as Mike points out, it’s not just that I disagree with some of his assessments, it’s that he’s genuinely not paying attention to what’s going on in work he disagrees with sufficiently. Lord of the Rings is entirely about how everything changes, inescapably, and about what people have to do in response to that.

  9. The Tor Boycott is dumb, and extending it into a “long-term” campaign just makes it dumber. The pretext is flimsy enough as it is (and partly relies on wilful misreading), and the endgame is murky as heck.
    Does Grant really believe that people will be fighting Tor for years (decades?) over a private comment, until Tor makes Scalzi and Patrick Nielsen Hayden apologize for criticizing the Sad Puppy campaign and/or Vox Day.

  10. Hypnosotov: We’re talking here about a crowd that includes people who cheer on modern-day supporters of the Confederacy and the Nazis for defending civilization in the face of modern barbarians. They can sell each other on all kinds of ill-founded convictions.

  11. From one of the time-travel episodes of Red Dwarf:

    Young Lister: But I’m not into dosh, I hate money, I loathe possessions, It’s just so… crypto-fascist.

    Lister: Will you stop saying everything’s crypto-fascist? You make me sound like I was a complete git!

  12. Gregory Benford: Old friend GRRM is right. Some of us aren’t going to worldcon because this feuding, worst I think in the genre’s history, has put us off. I’m a member but won’t go. Sad, really.

    I think the vast majority of fans will be too busy geeking out — meeting favorite authors, getting together with friends and other fans of the SFFnal things they love — for the Puppy mess to be much of a consideration.

    It will be interesting to see — but I strongly suspect that this Worldcon will be little different than others, apart from “No Award” taking some of the categories at the awards presentation.

  13. I like Michael Moorcock as an author, and to me he certainly has the heart in the right place. But his knowledge of political history has a tendency to show.

    He is flat-out wrong when he describes Tolkien as a crypto-fascist (whatever that is). What Tolkien shows is his books, from a social standpoint, is an arch-conservative with a side of nostalgia a mile wide. That does not make him a fascist.

    However, Moorcock is correct when he says that “nothing will ever change” in Tolkien’s works, at least insofar as it comes to social change. Tolkien’s ideal is the rural countryside, where everyone knows their place, or well-ordered cities, again where everyone knows their place. Any attempt to strive for something more than one is supposed to have is evil or foolish or both.

    I’m still very happy that Tolkien wrote TLotR and his other books, but I disagree vehemently with the philosophy of history and society that he presents.

  14. Aaron:

    Beale is constantly trumpeting his “inside information” on just about every subject.

    Gut feelings come from inside yourself, so they count as “inside information”, right?

    Lenora Rose:

    Is one less-than-perfectly thought out comnment on Facebook, already apologized for, really enough to galvanize people to whom it was, by definition, not even addressed* for a years-long boycott?

    If facts mattered, the boycott wouldn’t have started. This is about thruthiness, not truth. The puppy narrative is that Tor have “insulted a large swath of their readers” and that there’s never been an apology. The longer Grant and Beale keep on pushing that narrative, the deeper the truth gets buried. People hearing about this now is likely to only see Grant’s description of what was said.

    But yeah, boycotting like this takes commitment – you have to remember it each time you’re buying books – and I doubt there’s a lot of people who will show the necessary commitment year after year.

  15. For a period when I was young, stereograms were all the rage. They just don’t work for me though. People promised that if I stared at them for just a little bit longer, I’d see my promised picture. Never did, but I spent a long time trying.

    No matter how long Grant tells his supporters to keep being mad with a multinational company, they won’t see the picture he promises them.

  16. Karl-Johan Norén on July 27, 2015 at 12:12 am said:
    Tolkien’s ideal is the rural countryside, where everyone knows their place…

    True but even then his hero (Bilbo) is somebody who is shown how parochial his world is and that adventure and eccentricity and spontaneity are wonderful things, It isn’t a take down of the hidden class structure within the English pastoral setting but it isn’t quite an endorsement either.

  17. Introducing … the fantasy bracket!

    The fantasy bracket will work slightly differently from the sci-fi bracket. First there will be four “regional showdowns” for various chronological periods, with sixteen works in each. The eight winners from each of those will go on to form the first 32-book all-period bracket.

    And here are some questions about the rules that are going to need answering …

    WHERE IS LORD OF THE RINGS?
    It has been decided that Lord of the Rings gets an automatic victory so that other works will not have to compete against it in early stages. Once a winner has been selected from the rest, Lord Of The Rings may be brought in to fight against in a Final Fantasy Bracket Boss Fight.

    IS “IT HAS BEEN DECIDED” JUST A WEASELLY OF SAYING “KYRA DECIDED”?
    … Well, yes.

    OK, THEN.
    Right, well. Did you have any more questions?

    YES. WHERE IS WINNIE THE POOH?
    It has been de – um, I arbitrarily ruled that children’s fantasy largely comes from a different tradition and is in many ways a different genre; it may get its own bracket at a later time. After some debate on the finer points, “YA” fantasy books have been judged to be largely in the same tradition as adult fantasy and therefore they are in the current bracket. (And yes, borderline cases exist and judgment calls have been made.)

    WHERE IS THE OCTOBER COUNTRY?
    After some controversy over short story collections in the last bracket, I ruled that only some types of these will be allowed; those containing stories that are linked or connected by character, plot, or setting in such a way that the work as a whole can in some way be said to be a coherent work, rather than a collection of unconnected stories.

    WHERE IS THE CURSE OF CHALION?
    As with the Sci-Fi bracket, a cut off has been placed – no books published after 1999, to ensure that all works have stood the “test of time” to at least some extent. More recent works may get their own bracket at a later time.

    WHERE IS MEN AT ARMS?
    That author already has a different work on the ballot, and no author can have more than one work on. However, under the rules, it will still be possible to vote for such a work as a replacement for the original choice, so long as it meets the other qualifying rules.

    WHERE IS MY FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME, WHICH TOTALLY QUALIFIES UNDER ALL YOUR STUPID RULES?
    You’ll still have a chance to vote for it! The rules allow voting for works which are not on the ballot, so long as they qualify.

  18. The voting rules:

    For any pairing, you can vote for one member of a pair, you can declare a tie, or you can abstain.

    For any pairing, you can also declare that another work not on the bracket would have been superior to both, and vote for that instead (this can be used to replace a work by a particular author with one by that author you feel is superior, or to vote for someone not on the ballot at all.) If the ballot is one of the “period” ballots, the replacement work should be from the same period (e.g., only 90’s works belong on the 90’s ballot).

  19. We being with … THE NINETIES!

    1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick

    2. OFF TO SEE THE DARK, DARK WIZARD
    Wizard and Glass, Stephen King
    Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling
    The Newford Stories, Charles de Lint

    4. HAPEXAMENDIOS VS. RUDY
    Imajica, Clive Barker
    Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Stardust, Neil Gaman
    Tam Lin, Pamela Dean

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman
    The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Daughter of the Blood, Anne Bishop
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana)
    Terri Windling (The Wood Wife)

  20. Everything Jim Henley said, ++

    There’s no chance at all that I’ll re-read any of Junior Tolkien, but several by Moorcock are already on my Kindle. Bottom line.

  21. I’ll stick to three categories:

    4. Imajica, Clive Barker
    6. The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko
    7. Daughter of the Blood, Anne Bishop

  22. (Oh, and as before, explanations of why you are voting a certain way are encouraged but not required.)

  23. 1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin

    I’ve been reading this for almost 2 decades, and I still want to know what the end is! Goodness knows it’s not perfect (an author with GRRMs editing experience should be able to tell himself to tighten up), but it’s the best fantasy epic produced in recent years.

    2. OFF TO SEE THE DARK, DARK WIZARD
    Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey

    Not a fan of King in general, and the things I like about him aren’t fantastical. On the other hand, Lackey writes stuff that I can just read and sink into. I’ve just remembered reading The Black Gryphon years ago though – a really good attempt at portraying non-humans in a non-human way.

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling

    This is definitely the best Potter, before the bloat hit in. HP is good on its own terms, and hugely influential.

    4. HAPEXAMENDIOS VS. RUDY
    Imajica, Clive Barker
    Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson

    No real opinion here.

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Stardust, Neil Gaman

    Gaiman, but IMHO his best work isn’t eligible for this competition. He’s a brilliant fantasist, but I’m not sure Stardust can carry him that far.

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman

    I haven’t read Nightwatch, but I’m pretty sure Pullman wins through anyway. A wonderful writer, and even if his chosen themes aren’t universally appreciated he’s a brave writer to push them through. Also, Armoured Polar Bears.

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    Pterry4evar

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana)
    Terri Windling (The Wood Wife)

    I’ve only read Tigana, and while I enjoyed it I didn’t feel it was sufficiently brilliant to knock someone out sight unseen, so I’m abstaining. And the TBR expands….

    Bonus round: Best movie/TV adaptions. Players are GRRM, Rowling, Gaiman, Pullman and Pratchett. I think Pullman has been worst served with his movie, and while obviously Rowling wins for sheer popularity, I think the HP movies have generally managed to capture the tone of the books. I very much liked the movie of Stardust, but it was rather flawed. I’m not sure where I stand on the GoT series. I watch it obsessively, but I’m increasingly convinced they’re adapting a tabloid version of the books which I haven’t read.

  24. It has been decided that Lord of the Rings gets an automatic victory

    CRYPTOFASCISM!

    1. Feck. Swanwick.
    2. Hmm. Haven’t read Lackey, didn’t like the King, so I’m going to declare CJ Cherryh’s Fortress In The Eye Of Time.
    3. Rowling.
    4. Barker. (I prefer Weaveworld, but that’s not nineties.)
    5. Gaiman.
    6. Pullman.
    7. Pratchett.
    8. Haven’t read either so I am going to declare From The Teeth Of Angels by Jonathan Carroll.

  25. Kyra: great job. Of course the winner is probably still going to be Ursula Le Guin except Brian Z says it was really Moorcock (and it is thoughtful of you to give all the other crypto-fascists a fighting chance BTW), but this is a brilliant way to shake things up.

    1. Swanwick

    2. King

    3 Here is where I’ll put my 90s protest vote for S.P. Somtow, Darker Angels.

    4 Hopkinson

    5 Dean

    6 Clever. Lukyanenko.

    7. Pratchett.

    8 Pass.

  26. Moorcock’s contrarian anti-Tolkein ranting was a useful counter to the waves of sub-Tolkein fantasy the shelves were awash with in the 90s when I first encountered them. I reflexively hated his dissing of Middle Earth, but at the same time it was refreshing, readable, and provided a useful model for critically reading the sort of stuff that was dominating the genre, and a spur to actively seek alternatives. I never loved Moorcock’s fiction, but I enjoyed a lot of it, and I read The New Nature Of The Catastrophe at exactly the right moment for it to shake up my own writing.

  27. Limited by not having read everything…

    1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick

    2. OFF TO SEE THE DARK, DARK WIZARD
    Wizard and Glass, Stephen King
    Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling
    The Newford Stories, Charles de Lint

    4. HAPEXAMENDIOS VS. RUDY
    No Vote

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Stardust, Neil Gaman
    Tam Lin, Pamela Dean

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman
    The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Daughter of the Blood, Anne Bishop
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    No vote

    How are vote ins supposed to work? If Harry Potter makes the list then DJW should as well, and Fire and Hemlock seems to fit with any category where Tam Lin gets a nod.

  28. JJ:

    I think the vast majority of fans will be too busy geeking out — meeting favorite authors, getting together with friends and other fans of the SFFnal things they love — for the Puppy mess to be much of a consideration.

    I know! I’ve been carrying around these two books, one is like Part Two of like an update of Ringworld with better astrophysics, and the other came out of this insane symposium that had everyone from Freeman Dyson to Neal Stephenson, and I was thinking of mentioning I might convert to an attending membership in hopes of getting them signed, but then I wondered if that might be a little tone deaf.

  29. > “If Harry Potter makes the list then DJW should as well, and Fire and Hemlock seems to fit with any category where Tam Lin gets a nod.”

    Fire and Hemlock is going to be on the 80’s list, which should go up tomorrow. (That’s one of the reasons I requested that vote-ins for the 90’s category should be for works published in the 90’s — they might show up later anyway, otherwise!)

  30. Oh, well this is interesting. I always thought I was evenly balanced on SF/F spectrum but I discover I’m more on the SF end and find that I’ve read much less (and in some cases know very little of to haven’t heard of) the Fantasy bracket.

    I see many books I’ve read but no pairing where I have read both. So I’m abstaining.

  31. Loved the New Statesman article. Some of his rants are a bit too much, but this on GoT was pitch perfect:

    I’ve had conversations with fantasy writers who are ambitious for bestseller status and I’ve had to ask them, ‘Yes, but do you want to have to write those sorts of books in order to get there?’”

  32. 1.
    A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin

    2.
    Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey

    3.
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling

    4.
    Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson

    5.
    Tam Lin, Pamela Dean

    6.
    The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman

    7.
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    8.
    Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana)

  33. 1. No strong feeling either way.

    2. Magic’s Price

    3. Newford. I think it was Bruce who suggested that you read as far into Wizard & Glass as you can stand, then skip to the end and fog to the next book. I found this to be true.

    4. Abstain

    5. Yikes! Pain! Stardust, but only by a fraction of a hair.

    6. Golden Compass

    7. Anne Bishop is pure id-fic and I respect that when done well, but Small Gods is a masterpiece. Small Gods.

    8. Wood Wife always forever and then some.

  34. 1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    A Game of Thrones

    Admittedly, it’s been quite a while since I read Daughter, but I don’t remember it being nearly as impressive as I’d expected, so this bracket goes to AGOT by default.

  35. Nearly all of Moorcock’s Sword and Sorcery features blue-blooded protagonists, and the original end of Gloriana is far more offensive than anything in Tolkein. Say what you will about Tolkein, he never wrote anything that could be construed as pro-rape.

  36. I’ve read less than I thought!
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling

    4. Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson

    5. Stardust, Neil Gaman

    6. The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman

    7. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

  37. Well fuck. Now I have to go back and find something that Moorcock wrote that was pro-rape. SF/F sucks.

  38. 1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick

    Too much of Martin’s works squick me out. I have an aversion to nasty/mean

    3. MAGIC MEETS THE MODERN WORLD
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling

    This is probably the best Potter book, before her editors stopped editing and her books became toooooo long. Very sad to have to vote against DeLint though

    5. FAIRY STORIES, REINVENTED
    Stardust, Neil Gaman

    Why make me make these choices?!

    6. THE DUST AND THE GLOOM
    The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko

    A hard choice but with luck if there is a J/YA bracket Pullman can have a shot there.

    7. FULFILLING THE PROPHECY IN STYLE
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    One of the best pTerry’s books

    8. THE RISELKA AND THE RABBIT GIRL
    Guy Gavriel Kay (Tigana)

    An earlier Kay and flawed, but the pivotal doomed romance of Brandin and Dianora still has me thinking about it(for good and bad reasons) to this day.

    A request to Kyra and our host: Could the Brackets get their own blog entry, instead of being possibly hidden or missed in the comments of the round-up?

  39. Say what you will about Tolkein, he never wrote anything that could be construed as pro-rape.

    There are so few women in his oeuvre for rape to happen to, and I doubt that he had any concept of male-on-male rape.

  40. Getting my bracket in before I forget:

    2. King. I’m surprised Eyes of the Dragon wasn’t the pick, but it came out in ’87, so it wouldn’t have been on this bracket.
    3. Gotta go with Rowling. Her world’s got a lot more thought and depth than most people realize. I would’ve enjoyed seeing Simon Green for this theme, but he works best in big series instead of individual books.
    4. Barker.
    5. Gaiman, but it’s close.
    6. Pullman.
    7. Pratchett.

    I kind of wish Tom Holt had made the cut with Flying Dutch or Odds and Gods, but I’m fairly sure Pratchett would have defeated him anyway. If you haven’t heard of Holt, imagine Douglas Adams writing contemporary fantasy instead of SF, and publishing a book or two a year in addition to his serious and pseudonymous work. He published 14 comic fantasy novels in the 1990s, and I’ve enjoyed every one.

    I consider it a huge injustice that the very people who rhapsodize over Adams almost universally give me blank looks when I mention Holt, who is at least as good, much more prolific, and still writing. (His new book drops in mere hours!)

  41. I’m not strong on Fantasy — not only have I not read the majority of these works, I haven’t read more than half of the authors — but I’ll throw a vote into the first round. I’ll probably have to drop out in the next round, though.

    1. IRON. DRAGONS. DAUGHTERS.
    The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick

    I picked up A Game of Thrones when it was published, and I was on my way to the cashier but there was a queue; so I started to read the blurb, which is when I found out it was the first of a series with no hint of how many were to come. I thought I’d leave it for a few years so I could read the series altogether. Still waiting.

  42. 1. A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
    I think the series has gone definitively off the rails, but the deconstruction of heroic fantasy tropes that began in the first book meant a lot to me, and still does.

    2. Abstain.

    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling
    For enriching my whole family’s life.

    4. Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson
    Never keen on Barker.

    5. Stardust, Neil Gaman
    Always keeen on Gaiman.

    6. The Golden Compass/Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman
    Proxy vote for my daughter.

    7. Abstain.

    8. Abstain.

  43. Nice to see Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s name in print. I was wondering what happened to her.

  44. Gregory Benford — I doubt that there will be much feudin’ at Sasquan. Puppy/anti-Puppy kind, anyway, even in panels dedicated to the subject. The Puppies’ figureheads have shown themselves to be not the kind of fan who enjoys clubbing together with other fans anyway. Their alienation is arguably the cause of all this online kerfuffle, but I doubt that many of the rank and file will feel the need to pay Worldcon attending membership rate to shake it in the faces of the more gregarious types.

    The regular feudin’ will probably be scheduled as per normal, though.

  45. If there was a category for warrior women, I’d throw Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s Tomoe Gozen series in to fight it out with anyone else’s work. The Golden Naginata has long been a favourite.

  46. Grant is a clown. He just doesn’t realize it yet.

    Making Grant realize he’s beclowning himself is a long-term effort. Stay the course. He will bear fruit.

    Speaking of long-term efforts, “the Tor boycott is working” is going to be a punchline in fandom for years. So kudos to Grant for that.

    I like that Tor appears to have responded to no one who tried to keep the attack campaign going after Tom Doherty’s ill-advised public statement throwing his employee under the bus. This is a competitor and a self-published author trying to benefit themselves through a malicious and misleading attack on the careers of several Tor employees. It deserves no response.

  47. I must confess I keep getting Tom Holt mixed up in my mind with Tom Sharpe.

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