Pixel Scroll 9/11 ETA: The Scrollers Support Me in Email

(1) James H. Burns recalls the effects of 9/11 on Broadway in “Delphinus, in the Northern Sky” (posted in 2012).

It’s eleven years later, and we’re still here. Still able to perform, or write, or otherwise create, or, also wonderful, to be able to embrace those passions.

I was just thinking of the guts it took for the actors who resumed their places on the stage so soon after that day in September.

Remember the courage it took, for some of us, just to walk down the street. And these folks were resuming one of the toughest challenges, in the arts.

(2) Melbourne has a website that maps every one of its city trees. Citizens can report a particular tree’s condition and get the city to attend to it. The website has a button “Email this tree,” short for “Email the city about this tree.”

Except, as fans will do, many take the label literally, and email the tree about life, the universe, and everything.

People around the world have been e-mailing trees in Melbourne to confess their love.

As part of the Urban Forest Strategy — implemented to combat the steady decline of trees following a 13 year drought — the city assigned all of the Melbourne’s 77000 trees individual emails.

The idea was residents could use these emails to report trees that had been vandalised or were in a severe state of decline.

Only, people decided to make another use for the email and began writing love letters to their favourite trees….

Weeping Myrtle, Tree ID 1494392

Hello Weeping Myrtle,

I’m sitting inside near you and I noticed on the urban tree map you don’t have many friends nearby. I think that’s sad so I want you to know I’m thinking of you.

I also want to thank you for providing oxygen for us to breath in the hustle and bustle of the city.

Best Regards,

N …

Variegated Elm, Tree ID 1033102

Dear Elm, I was delighted to find you alive and flourishing, because a lot of your family used to live in the UK, but they all caught a terrible infection and died.

Do be very careful, and if you notice any unfamiliar insects e-mail an arboriculturist at once.

I miss your characteristic silhouettes and beautifully shaped branches — used to be one of the glories of the English landscape — more than I can say.

Melbourne must be a beautiful city.

Sincere good wishes


The Urban Forest Strategy will see 3000 new trees planted in Melbourne each year and since its implementation in 2012, 12000 new trees have been added to the city’s urban landscape.

(3) Step inside Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s next-generation spacecraft designed to carry humans to the International Space Station and other destinations.

(4) Major league baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates welcomed back devoted Batman fan A.J. Burnett by sending up the Bat-Signal.

(5) Need a little adventure in your life? Tor.com is seeking an in-house publicity coordinator.

This person will work with publicity and editorial departments and contacts throughout all of genre publishing, developing plans for comprehensive book coverage on Tor.com and assisting with publisher and author outreach. They will also be responsible for encouraging and moderating conversation between readers on the site and on social media.

This is a full-time position working in our New York office. Ideally, we are looking for a candidate with at least 2 years of publishing experience, who is outgoing, extremely organized, and detail-oriented. Applicants should be both highly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about science fiction and fantasy across a range of media….

(6) Did I forget to mention – issue 24 of Hugo-winning fanzine Journey Planet, the Richard III theme issue, is available online. This issue contains a series of articles by Steven H Silver, Joan Szechtman, Chuck Serface,  K.A. Laity,  Ruth Pe Palileo and  Pixie P.as welll as pieces by editors James Bacon and Chris Garcia. The cover, some interior and technical art work was provided by Autun Purser, a full-time deep sea ecologist, who has created a series of travel posters, advertising travel to destinations from unusual fiction – the “Fantastic Travel Destinations.”

Bosworth_JP _cover_issue24 COMP

(7) Kevin Standlee shares several examples that show why Hugo Administrators aren’t activists.

  1. 1989 and A Brief History of Time (Scroll down and click “further detail” for a bit more information.) In 1989, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time had sufficient nominations to make the final ballot. The Administrator ruled it ineligible, as the definition of Best Non-Fiction Book (the title of the category now known as Best Related Work) at that time said that the book had to be about “science fiction, fantasy, or fandom,” and thus the Administrator ruled that science books weren’t eligible. This decision was controversial. There were attempted changes to the WSFS Constitution that year that were eventually rejected, IMO mainly because nobody could agree on a consistent proposal. It took several years of argument, but eventually the 1996 WSFS Business Meeting passed (and the 1997 meeting ratified) the change of the category from “Best Non-Fiction Book” to “Best Related Book,” thus:

Any work whose subject is related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom, appearing for the first time in book form during the previous calendar year, and which is either non-fiction or, if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text.

Note that ABHOT would have been eligible under this wording.

(8) Naturellement !

(9) These Black Mouse Printing Titanium Steel His and Hers Band Couple Rings are cute as the dickens and go for only $59.

Black Mouse rings

(10) Cat Valente in a comment on Jay Maynard’s award proposal at Black Gate

…Because it’s simply not right to say a good story has no message. Story and message are not separable, hostile camps demanding loyalty only to one or the other. A good story has themes. A good story is about something. A good story is not only about things that happen one after the other, but about why they happen, and how, and to whom, and how all those things interconnect. And all that can happen WITH ray guns and explosions and buxom princesses. It happens literally all the time. One does not kick the other out of bed for eating crackers.

The author always, ALWAYS, communicates their own culture and experience through their fiction. There is no writing without that cultural electricity animating it. It’s not good or bad. It just is. We cannot help it, we are human. To say that Ancillary Justice is message fiction and undeserving but Time Enough for Love is not is to say that some of those communicated experiences are good and should be promulgated and some are worthless and should be cast aside. And I don’t think there’s anything in the world that should be cast aside and never written about.

However, no one, not even the terrible, no good, very bad SJWs, has ever said that the best stories are ones where the “message” overrides the good story. Everyone wants a good story. Everyone wants to sink into a novel and get totally wrapped up in the tale. There is no need to split into camps on this topic because there is literally no argument. Everyone wants the same thing.

The difference lies in the fact that for some people, a story that communicates an experience that they are unfamiliar with, whether a gendered one, or racial, or sexual, or even literary, jars them out of the story and makes it harder to get wrapped up in it. I can even use my powers of empathy to understand that, because it jars me out of a story when I come across a message about how shitty and/or unnecessary women are, because I am a woman and I like to not feel like I am shitty and unnecessary. But unfortunately, for some people, me just writing a story that draws on my life experience IS political, because my experience isn’t theirs, and the central presence of women in a story is, for them, a political act….

(11) Ruth A. Johnston, author of Re-Modeling the Mind: Personality in Balance, was interviewed by L. Jagi Lamplighter at Superversive SF about her interpretation of the Hugo kerfuffle. It’s part of a series – later installments will apply her theory to characters in John C. Wright’s Night Land stories, and “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” as well as the larger Hugo/culture war picture.

Part One:  What Forces Drive the SciFi Culture Wars?

Q: In the Afterword to your new book, you suggest that ideas about personality might help us understand “culture wars” by showing how the sides just see the world differently.  What do you mean by “personality-based worldviews”? 

A: The thesis of Re-Modeling the Mind is that our brains can’t process all of the information that comes at us constantly, so each brain organizes itself around more limited options, depending on the neural strengths it already has. When we talk about “personality” we mean these limitations and abilities, which are usually clearly visible when we watch each other. We know ourselves this way, too. We know there are things we simply can’t take in, or if we can take in the facts, we can’t manage them to make decisions. There are things we pay close attention to, and other things we just can’t be bothered with. Personality is this very real neural patterning that filters the world so that it’s manageable.

But this means that our personalities also limit and even blind us to things other people can perceive and manage. We’re all in the same physical world, in the sense that we agree on where the objects are, so that we can avoid running into them. But at a more complex level, we really don’t all live in the same world. Our personalities can have such root-level different views of the world that we can barely have conversations. This is what I’d call a personality-based worldview.

I’m not a science-fiction reader, and I’d never heard of the Hugos until this year. But watching the ferocity of the battles made me feel convinced that at least some of this culture war is provoked by a clash of personality-based worldviews. In other words, probably the leaders and many supporters of each faction share some personality traits so that they all “live” in a similar world. In each faction’s “world,” its values are not only sensible but the only possible ones. Or if not the only possible ones, the only morally right or safe ones. This is why it’s so hard to have a conversation. It’s self-evident to each faction that its values are right, and the arguments offered by the other faction hold no water in their worldview. A lot of people on both sides feel that if So and So wins a prize, moral right or wrong will be rewarded.

(12) David Gerrold on Facebook is working out his own communication theory to explain “the recent squabble in SF fandom.”

…We now live in a world of self-organizing subcultures. Some of them are positive — organizing around the desire to address various challenges. Some of the clusters are negative, organizing around cult-like behaviors. Some are in the business of disseminating valuable information — some are in the business of misinformation and propaganda.

There’s a psychological phenomenon about new media — we give it gravitas. The first decade of any medium is the decade of education and assimilation. ie. We have to learn how to filter the information, we have to learn how to recognize that it is not an access to truth, merely one more way to be massaged. Example: The 1938 Orson Wells “War of the World” broadcast and panic. That happened while radio was still in its infancy for most listeners.

The internet is experiencing a prolonged childhood — most of us are still somewhere on the learning curve. We still trust too much of what we’re seeing on our computer screens, because we haven’t learned how to distrust it yet.

That’s the context in which we’re all operating. We’re being assaulted by an avalanche of data — we have to figure out how to mine it for actual information.

We have built the kind of technology that gives every person on the planet access to vast libraries of information and the ability to communicate with people all over the globe. But even if we’ve built a global village, we haven’t yet learned how to live in it. We’ve brought our prejudices and our beliefs and our parochial world-views.

Here, on this continent, we’ve built a cultural monomyth that carries within it the seeds of our own destruction — the mythic hero. We believe in John Wayne, the strong man who comes to rescue us. It’s a variation on the Christ myth. Or Superman. Or Batman. We’re incapable of being responsible, we need a daddy figure to sort things out for us. (The savage deconstruction of this monomyth is a movie called “High Noon.” It’s worth a look.)

Belief in superheros is an adolescent fantasy — it’s a way of abnegating personal responsibility. Whatever is wrong with the world, the Justice League, the Avengers, SHIELD will fix it.

The counterpoint is that whatever is wrong with the world — it’s not us. It’s THRUSH or SPECTRE or HYDRA or some other unnamed conspiracy. It’s always a conspiracy. …

(13) Steve Davidson has an advanced scouting report on next year’s Retro Hugos, which will be voted by members of MidAmeriCon II for eligible work from 1940.

But when it comes to the editor’s categories, we’re going to be restricted to one, that for Short Form.

Of course Campbell is the natural choice here, but take a minute to consider everyone who is eligible:

Mary Gnaedinger – Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Fantastic Novels (reprints)

Raymond A. Palmer – Amazing Stories, Amazing Stories Quarterly (reprint), Fantastic Adventures

Mort Weisinger – Captain Future, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories

Frederik Pohl – Astonishing, Super Science Stories

F. Orlin Tremaine – Comet

Charles D. Hornig – Future Fiction, Science Fiction, Science Fiction Quarterly

Martin Goodman – Marvel Tales/Marvel Stories

Malcolm Reiss  -Planet Stories

John W. Campbell Jr. – Astounding Science Fiction, Unknown

Farnsworth Wright – Weird Tales

None of the other editors had anything approaching the budget that Campbell had, yet Pohl, Hornig and Weisinger managed to put together some very fine issues from time to time (often relying on friends for copy at cut-rates), while Malcolm Reiss practically gave birth to the sword and planet sub-genre (not to mention introducing us all to Leigh Brackett!) with Planet Stories and several of the other magazines had a material impact on the field – if only by keeping certain authors and artists barely fed.

[Thanks to Mark (wait, not that one, the other one), L. Jagi Lamplighter, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian. Title credit to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

299 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/11 ETA: The Scrollers Support Me in Email

  1. Fudgesicles. I jumped the gun commenting on the other Pixel Scroll. Oh well:

    Re: Amazing Stories Retro Hugo Editor List

    Oh good, we only had two editors on our list, and they were mainly there because when I was date- and length-checking on isfdb I saw their names over and over again for first publication of a recommended story, and I figured that seeing them that many times ought to be a rec-by-proxy. If anyone particularly recommends any of the editors Amazing Stories has listed, I’ll add them (and repost the File770 Retro Hugo Recommendations, with additions, nearer the time).

    The two currently listed are Campbell and Pohl.

    ETA: LOL, JJ. 🙂

  2. *sigh* It’s a pity Ruth A. Johnston didn’t research the Hugo situation for herself, instead of getting her brief from Lamplighter. If you start out with false premises, any conclusions you draw are going to be at least equally flawed.

  3. Ruth A. Johnson’s series is shaping up to be an epic of false equivalence considering the number of times she said she knew very little about SF and was clearly working from LGLs account.
    It’s a pity, because it sounded quite an interesting perspective on writing, although my knowledge of Jung et al is so limited that she could either be a genius or a kook and I couldn’t tell.
    The most telling thing is that the work selected for our “side” is Dinosaur…I see straw SJWs being erected in the distance.

    Damn, now I’m totally confused about which Mark I am.

  4. All very nice and interesting, to look for the origins of the Puppy storm in high falutin psychology and brain chemistry, but the truth remains it’s a political movement and outflow from the larger culture war waged by American right wingers.

  5. Thanks for a scroll blessedly free of name calling.

    JJ’s right that Johnson’s ignorance of the field is doing her no good at all, but her central point, that both the puppies and the rest of fandom act on the basis of separate world views, which would be exceedingly difficult to change, seems like a good description of the central problem. without better data, however, her detailed conclusions will be of little value.

    From where I stand, however, Cat Valente got it in one!

  6. Msb: her central point, that both the puppies and the rest of fandom act on the basis of separate world views, which would be exceedingly difficult to change, seems like a good description of the central problem

    It is, but not in the way she describes. The separate world views are “we want to get awards for the authors we like, so it’s okay to game our choices onto the Hugo ballot unethically” vs. “the Hugo fiction awards are for works, not authors, and no, you have to participate ethically as an individual, the same way all the rest of us do”.

  7. I don’t know if I’ll be able to participate in the Fantasy Bracket for 2000-2015, since I clearly don’t read that much fantasy.

    So, just because I will no doubt not be around when the SF Bracket for 2000-2015 starts, Kyra, here are my suggestions:

    Brain Plague, Joan Slonczewski (2000)
    Calculating God, Robert J. Sawyer (2000)
    Darwin’s Radio, Greg Bear (2001)
    The Chronoliths, Robert Charles Wilson (2001)
    Cosmonaut Keep, Ken MacLeod (2001)
    In the Company of Others, Julie E Czerneda (2001)
    Kiln People, David Brin (2002)
    Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold (2002)
    Blind Lake, Robert Charles Wilson (2003)
    Singularity Sky, Charles Stross (2003)
    The Algebraist, Iain M. Banks (2004)
    Accelerando, Charles Stross (2005)
    Spin, Robert Charles Wilson (2005)
    Learning the World, Ken MacLeod (2005)
    Old Man’s War, John Scalzi (2005)
    Glasshouse, Charles Stross (2006)
    Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (2006)
    Eifelheim, Michael F. Flynn (2006)
    Blindsight, Peter Watts (2006)
    Little Brother, Cory Doctorow (2008)
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson (2008)
    God’s War, Kameron Hurley (2010)
    James S. A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes (2011)
    Embassytown, China Miéville (2011)
    The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (2012)
    A Calculated Life, Anne Charnock (2013)
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (2013)
    The Disestablishment of Paradise, Phillip Mann (2013)
    Nexus, Ramez Naam (2013)
    The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Claire North (2014)

  8. Revenge of the Fifth!

    Part of me wants to suggest just hiring some of the more prominent Puppies as Tor’s publicity co-ordinator(s). They’ve probably done more to boost Tor US’s signal than anyone else has.

    Also I got my revenge on all authors who either aren’t included in Fish Eats Lion (a very pretty collection of Singaporean speculative fiction) or aren’t Rachel Hartman (author of Seraphina) by buying those books today. Incidentally apparently I’m also a member of that bookshop’s rewards programme now for spending over a certain amount of money, which is nice! Although right now I’m not seeing the revenge angle of this.

    I don’t think Johnston is bringing anything particularly new to the whole kerpupple, and am confused as to why, as someone who admits to not reading SFF and never hearing of the Hugos, she’s decided to embroil herself in this mess in the first place.

  9. (2)

    Dear Lagunaria #1040012

    The said you weren’t sweet-smelling enough, that you needed replacing.

    If only you were Eucalyptus citriodora, my love.

  10. argh I ran out of time on my edit!

    Anyway I realise that Seraphina is the sort of book I’d have bought on the spot if a man had written it. However, since it was a woman’s name on the cover? I dithered and waited ~20 hours before buying it. So this is me just trying to correct the unconscious bias in my brain. This, despite the fact that what I would consider my all-time favourite novel, Mrs Dalloway, was written by a woman. And that Clarke absolutely blew me away with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. And many other examples I could list, too.

  11. Oneiros: I don’t think Johnston is bringing anything particularly new to the whole kerpupple, and am confused as to why, as someone who admits to not reading SFF and never hearing of the Hugos, she’s decided to embroil herself in this mess in the first place.

    Johnston is a buddy of Lamplighter’s from St. John’s, and also an advocate of Homeskoolin’ Teh Kidz to Keep Them Away From Teh Evilz.

  12. For a Ruth Johnson sneak preview, she has an analysis of Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Rebecca on her site.

    I thought I’d try and find some reviews to find out if she’s well-known in the field. 1 Amazon review, and *crickets* in the wider world of google searches. Her previous works were on Beowolf and Medieval history. Now, it’s possible that she’s gone off and studied psychology since then, and is now giving us the benefit of her expertise…

    No, wait, from the Amazon preview we get the Introduction:

    This book began as many years of conversation among family and friends. I’m neither a psychologist, a neuroscientist, nor an expert on Carl Jung.

    So, I’m not sure I’m going to be giving parts 2 and 3 much credence.

  13. Cat Valente’s comment recalls to my mind a discussion I had, some years back, with a right-wing US fan who was perfectly pleasant and reasonable (it is entirely possible for someone to own guns and vote Republican and still not believe in vast SJW conspiracies), about messages and themes in fiction.

    The rough consensus that we reached was that stories necessarily have a theme, this being (in our astute literary analysis) the one-liner description of “what this story is about”. (Something as straightforward as “the eternal battle of good versus evil” is a perfectly good theme; add a princess and a farmboy with a glowing sword, and you can go a long way with a theme like that). The story starts to get weighed down with message when the assumptions about (for example) what constitutes “good” and “evil” start to become obtrusive. If the movement of the plot is put on hold while the characters deliver six-page lectures about the evils of cheese (to take a non-contentious example), then what you have is not a story with a “cheese is bad” theme, but a piece of anti-cheese message fiction.

    The problem is that there is no definite cut-off point where the “message” starts to become obtrusive – in fact, that obtrusiveness depends as much on the reader’s perceptions as the writer’s intentions.

    One sort of obvious example, here, is A Wizard of Earthsea, where it’s made plain almost from the start that the hero isn’t white… as a pasty kid in the second form, when I first read the book, this actually bothered me, and I had to stop and think why it bothered me – and came to the conclusion that there was no valid reason why I should be bothered, which may well have been part of Ursula Le Guin’s plan all along. It didn’t stop me enjoying the story, and I don’t think “brown people are just as good as white ones” is the actual theme of the book (my one-liner description of what it’s about would be “growth and self-discovery”, I guess). But I could see how that detail could seem more obtrusive, more “message fiction”, to someone else, someone approaching the book from a different angle, with a different set of cultural assumptions and expectations. To them, it might well seem like dire SJW message fiction. Pick the right angle to come in at, and anything can seem like message fiction.

  14. Mark: So, I’m not sure I’m going to be giving parts 2 and 3 much credence.

    It’s all about promoting Puppy cronies, doncha know.

    ETA: Oh, here ya go, her books have been published through her own vanity imprint.

    So, one of the St. John’s and MGC’s self-published gang.

  15. @Mark: Likely analysis of Ms. Johnston’s book: total kook territory. In the intro she states: “I am neither a psychologist, a neuroscientist, nor an expert on Carl Jung.” So we’re off to a flying start already. Myers-Briggs, as far as I’m aware, is old, out-dated and generally regarded as unreliable, so I wouldn’t trust anyone basing large parts of their theory on what is generally known to be quite a faulty way of looking at personality. Apparently the amount of people whose personality categories can change even within a five-week test-retest is staggeringly high.

  16. @JJ: well, that certainly explains it. I still don’t really get why she’s being brought into this. She would’ve had much more credibility with me coming into it with her (probable?) credentials as someone who’s studied literature (since her other books all seem to be about literature of one sort or another). Instead of, y’know, her pop-psyc theory based on another pop-psyc theory.

  17. Rick Moen on September 12, 2015 at 3:07 am said:

    Riding inside a dragon sounds problematic.

    Because it’s too dark to read?

    — Rick (reducing it to a previous G. Marx) Moen

    Well shit, so we do have some Marxists in our midst. Shame it’s the wrong Marx.

    Possible scroll title? Marxists in the Mist

  18. If nothing else, it’ll be good to be told what my intentions were in writing Dinosaur from a new source.

    I still think “don’t beat people up” should be so banal as to fail to register as a notable theme, but ymmv.

  19. (13) I like this look at the Retro-Hugo editors, and I hope Steve writes some more. If you click through the isfdb links you can end up with lists of stories in each issue, so I think I’ll be using some sort of “who published the most interesting stories” criteria in the absence of anything better.
    e.g. the fiction from Astounding Sept 1940

    Slan (Part 1 of 4) • [Slan • 1] • serial by A. E. van Vogt
    Blowups Happen • [Future History] • novelette by Robert A. Heinlein
    Quietus • shortstory by Ross Rocklynne
    The Kilkenny Cats • [Kilkenny Cats] • novelette by L. Ron Hubbard [as by Kurt von Rachen ]
    Homo Sol • [Homo Sol • 1] • shortstory by Isaac Asimov
    Emergency • shortstory by Vic Phillips

    (10) Cat Valente nails it. There’s actually some really good discussion in that comment thread as well, on message fiction v storytelling.


    I think that’s Johnston’s total lack of credibility fairly well established.

  20. I am (honestly!) trying to cut down on my “Mad Geniuses say stupid things” comments, but Cedar Sanderson has a post attempting to rip Chuck Wendig a new one and it’s genuinely hilarious.

    When you confront your reader with, in the first paragraphs, sentences that don’t make sense, you are doing the worst thing to readers an author can do. Mislectorism. Betrayal. You’re showing your readers you hate them, and they will respond to it. “This particular ship has seen action: plasma scarring across the wings and tail fins; a crumpled dent in the front end as if it was kicked by an Imperial walker.” Look at that sentence. Consider that it is not alone. I don’t think I have ever seen as many colons in one passage in all the thirty-some years I have been reading. Nor have I seen this many sentence fragments in once place. I shudder to think of how many dashes and hyphens met their ends here. If I had to name this style I’d call it post-Modern chop suey, because everything is minced and mixed together until it resembles a dog’s breakfast.

    Her complaint about the quoted sentence? Too many colons. Number of colons in that sentence? One.

  21. Cedar Sanderson: When you confront your reader with, in the first paragraphs, sentences that don’t make sense, you are doing the worst thing to readers an author can do.

    Ah, irony, sweet irony. Clearly Sanderson has not bothered to read her own posts, or those from any of the other members of Mad Genius Club. That site is one big collection of inarticulacy and illogic.

  22. I just saw the Sanderson post. Not sure what the shelf-life of a comment is on MGC when it doesn’t toe the line. (I’ve posted there before, but never went back to see the response.) So here’s what I said, because I didn’t feel like fisking from orbit on mobile.

    Jonathan Olfert
    September 12, 2015 at 7:11 am
    Heaven forbid a Star Wars author write dialogue that sounds like something people actually say. I love Zahn, but virtually all EU dialogue is either stilted and formal or massaged into pure middle-class American vanilla. That’s the familiar SW novel experience. Any time an author deviates from that to take a risk, some people clutch their pearls and others enjoy the breath of fresh air. ‘Your mileage may vary’ is probably closer to the truth than ‘this is objectively bad writing.’

  23. TBH I don’t like Wendig’s style either. However Sanderson has just gone overboard when she says it doesn’t make sense.

    I would also note that she uses mislectorism. A word which most people don’t know. I didn’t although I could deduce the meaning. My dictionaries (although I don’t have access to the full OED) did not list it. In fact a google search only finds 2 other uses on the internet besides Sanderson. Hmm what does it say about an author that they use a really obscure neologism to make themselves look smarter than their readers?

  24. Sweet Jesus, how has she survived as a reader and a writer this long? Does she not understand that’s how colons and semi-colons actually work in actual writing?

    She’d be absolutely apoplectic if she ever read Woolf who, to my mind, is one of the finest authors to ever grace the English language.

    Also getting 542 reviews is no mean feat. Looks to me like he’s crushing it, in the way the Puppies appreciate most. Loadsasales!

  25. OK, the 21st century fantasy bracket will start with four initial heats, grouped by publication date, to determine who will go on to the Big Round.

    The bracketeer’s intent was for people to vote on individual books, rather than authors or series, but, hey, your vote is your choice.

    You can, as always, vote for a work, abstain, or vote for a tie. You may also vote for a different work by the same author. I might suggest waiting until the initial heats are done to vote for entirely off-the-ballot options; there are around 128 authors coming up across four categories, so if you don’t see an author you like now they might very well appear later.

    Since there are 128 books on the initial list (I decided to curate suggestions only very lightly), it’s very, very likely that in the heats there will be books you haven’t read. Like, probably a lot. So, don’t take that to heart.

  26. Myers-Briggs, as far as I’m aware, is old, out-dated and generally regarded as unreliable,

    Actual psychology and counselling student: so is Carl Jung, bless his little socks.


    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
    Something from the Nightside, Simon R. Green

    The Bone Doll’s Twin, Lynn Flewelling
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    Lost Burgundy, Mary Gentle
    Bold As Love, Gwyneth Jones

    The Salt Roads, Nalo Hopkinson
    Ship of Destiny, Robin Hobb

    Deadhouse Gates, Steven Erikson
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, Jeffrey Ford
    Declare, Tim Powers

    Point of Dreams, Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett
    Galveston, Sean Stewart

    Day Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
    The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Coraline, Neil Gaiman
    House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

    Summer Knight, Jim Butcher
    Tithe, Holly Black

    Fire Logic, Laurie J. Marks
    White Apples, Jonathan Carroll

    Abhorsen, Garth Nix
    The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

    Sunshine, Robin McKinley
    Bitten, Kelley Armstrong

    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
    Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey

    The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

  28. @andyl: Yup. Some people can look at something they don’t enjoy, shrug, and say ‘this doesn’t click for me, but to each their own.’ Others apparently can’t, hence the whole ‘bad storytelling’ versus ‘cracking good yarns’ issue. Cat Valente hit the nail on the head.

  29. Oneiros: Also getting 542 reviews is no mean feat. Looks to me like [Wendig is] crushing it, in the way the Puppies appreciate most. Loadsasales!

    Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath hit #4 on both The New York Times’ and USA Today’s Bestseller Lists.

    I’m guessing that, with regard to all the fanatical fanhate he’s receiving from people pissed off that Disney has abandoned the Star Wars Expanded Universe, he is following Terry Pratchett’s advice about “we’ll just have to cry ourselves to sleep on top of our mattresses stuffed with £20 notes”.

    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    Massive novel showing off the sheer breadth of what Mieville is capable of. Maybe not the one I’d have picked, but still an exceptional novel, and maybe Bas-Lag is more identifiably Fantasy than his others, actually. Other than King Rat, which definitely isn’t as good (but still a good first novel)

    Ship of Destiny, Robin Hobb
    Yayyyy Robin Hobb! I would’ve picked a Fitz book but these are cool too.

    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    (inevitable victory)

    Coraline, Neil Gaiman
    Basically has to be Coraline. If child-me had read this, it’d be competing with Alice for headspace. As it is, adult-me read it, loved it, read it again, then saw the movie three times in the cinema and bought the blu-ray and DVD dual pack on release. I really, really like Coraline, is what I’m trying to say here. Even the movie, with its flaws.

    Summer Knight, Jim Butcher
    Yeah I’m a Butcher fan, and this is one of the stronger Dresden books. And also I just don’t really like Holly Black’s writing all that much.

    Abhorsen, Garth Nix
    The Lovely Bones? Really? Against one of the few things I read that I liked nearly as much as Earthsea in my younger days? No contest!

    Sunshine, Robin McKinley
    Bitten, Kelley Armstrong
    I’m not a massive fan of Armstrong (although I’ve read a surprising amount of her books, considering) and I’ve never actually read Sunshine, so… tie? On the grounds that Sunshine is probably the better book but I have no way of actually knowing?

    Oh wow. I have read so few of these it’s embarrassing. Anyway, them’s my votes for now. (And praise be to the benevolent dice who in their infinite wisdom saw fit not to throw Coraline, Night Watch or Perdido Street Station at each other at this early stage)

  31. Well, I’ve read a whopping 3 of 32 in that Fantasy bracket, so I’ll refrain from voting.

    < taps foot, waiting for Science Fiction bracket >

  32. @JJ: Oh yeah I’d actually kinda forgotten that Disney disregarded the EU. Oh well, the hate certainly seems to have spurred sales. Sometimes I wonder if the people so vehemently spouting venom realise that they’re actually helping fuel sales and it’s all a complicated con game to sell a shitload of books. Obviously it also helps that Star Wars is a ridiculously massive property.

    @Anna: I suspected as much, given what little I know of Jung, but I don’t like to discredit gargantuan figures in fields not my own without at least a little research. Myers-Briggs on the other hand, is practically the classic example of faulty pop-psychology right?

  33. Brackett the First Fifth:

    1. Green
    6. Powers
    8. Pratchett
    9. Fforde
    10. MZD
    11. Butcher
    14. Armstrong

  34. 1. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    4.Ship of Destiny, Robin Hobb

    5. Gods above Kyra. The *first round* and you do this to me? The Chain of Dogs from Deadhouse Gates remains one of the more moving sequences I read…but I have to give it to A Storm of Swords. Just again with Martin kicking everyone in the gut and taking no prisoners.

    8. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    No contest. Not even remotely.

    10. Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    11. Summer Knight, Jim Butcher

    15. No vote. Adds Kushiel’s Dart to the TBR Mountain (nickname: It’s all File770’s fault)

    16. Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey

  36. Bracket! Yippee!

    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    Lost Burgundy, Mary Gentle

    Ship of Destiny, Robin Hobb

    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    Point of Dreams, Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett

    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

    Summer Knight, Jim Butcher

    Abhorsen, Garth Nix

    Bitten, Kelley Armstrong

    Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey

    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    Some great books in there. Shout-out to House of Leaves (that is a beast of a book, in a good way) and Abhorsen (whole series rocks the YA worldbuilding and strong female characters).

  37. Myers-Briggs has the obvious problem that many people aren’t on the ends of a scale, which is why the retests don’t generate the same results. If you take someone that scores 51% X, for whatever X, and label them X, that result is not statistically relevant. Given the number of questions on each of the four axes on a typical MB test, this is generally true for at least one of the axes for many testees, assuming that MB’s axes aren’t usefully bimodal with a nice clean cut between them.

    Hint: they aren’t.


    (Sorry for rant, I’ve sat through more than my fair share of getting MBed in schools and universities. Along with True Colours in engineering school (hint, everyone’s in the same bin that’s not the one that the wider population is in) and ’12 intelligences’. BAH, I say, BAH!)

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