Pixel Scroll 9/12 Vouching Tiger

(1) The Register is running a poll for the worst Doctor Who of all.

Was Colin Baker, dressed in his multi-coloured dreamcoat, simply taking a wrong turn on his way to a rehearsal for an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical – falling instead into some weird space-time continuum from which no audience member could escape?

Or maybe, just maybe, it was William Hartnell who ruined it for everyone with his curmudgeonly adventures on the TARDIS.

Although Peter Capaldi is not leading, he should be worried about his job security.

(2) I don’t think anyone is genuinely confused, however, Andrew Porter has worked out a scenario to show why people ought to be confused by the reappearance of a well-known pen name.

At Drop Dead Perfect we read,

“Idris Seabright is one demented dame. A 1950’s Florida gargoyle with a penchant for painting still lifes, no matter how her subjects must be stilled, she’s as handy with a hachet as a brush and as rich as she is ruthless. ‘Drop Dead Perfect,’ written by Erasmus Fenn and directed by Joe Brancato, finds Idris torn between her ingenuous ward who has artistic aspirations, a well-endowed Cuban ex-con who may be her nephew, and her pill-pushing lawyer. Idris and ‘Drop Dead Perfect’ are back after last year’s sold-out run for a strictly limited eight week engagement.”

Also, at Vanishing New York,

“Everett Quinton, former lead actor and artistic director of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, is famous for his cross-dressing performances, and he’s currently starring in one of the juiciest of his career with Drop Dead Perfect at the Theatre of St. Clements in Hell’s Kitchen. As Idris Seabright, a 1950s Key West housewife with artistic aspirations…”

“Drop Dead Perfect”  is playing now through October 11 at Theater at St. Clements, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.  Porter continues —

Except we know that “Iris Seabright” was a pseudonym used by science fiction author Margaret St. Clair, who died in 1995. Is it coincidence that St. Clair was from Maine, and this character is from the opposite place on the East Coast? I called the theater, and they were totally unaware of the previous use of the name.

For more about Margaret St. Clair see her Wikipedia entry.

(3) George R.R. Martin will make an appearance on Zombie Nation reports Entertainment Weekly.

zombie george COMP

Nothing is going to stop George R.R. Martin from finishing his Game of Thrones novels!

The bestselling author will have a cameo during the second season of Syfy’s post-apocalyptic thriller Z Nation playing himself as a zombie, EW has exclusively learned.

And as you can see from the photo above and the two others below, Martin is quite undead while signing his own books (and even tries to munch on one brainy copy). The title of Zombie Martin’s book is a fun tease — “A Promise of Spring,” which plays off A Dream of Spring — the expected title of his eventual seventh (and presumably conclusive) novel in his epic A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Currently Martin is working on Book 6, The Winds of Winter.

Declared Martin: “I just want to prove to my fans that even in the Zombie Apocalypse, the Song of Ice and Fire books will still come out!”

Martin will appear in the eighth epsiode of this year’s Z Nation, which returns to Syfy on Friday at 10 p.m. In the show, Martin has been imprisoned by a character called the Collector, who captures celebrity zombies and keeps George chained to a desk for his own nefarious purposes.

(4) DB in a comment on “One Alfie, Two Hugos” at Not A Blog

I have a theory, or maybe a hypothesis, as to why there was no Best Novel Hugo in 1957. The International Fantasy Award, which was a juried award that was also shaped like a rocketship, was being presented at a banquet elsewhere in London the day after the Worldcon. It was an invitational event, not officially part of the Worldcon, but many Worldcon members attended.

My theory is that the Worldcon committee, knowing this, didn’t feel that a Best Novel Hugo was necessary. That would be an odd decision today, but remember that at that time the Hugos were not firmly established, they had much less prestige than the IFA, and awards were few and the overlap and duplication we’re used to today were unknown.

The book that received the IFA that year? Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

(5) Pip R. Lagenta invites you to come see a snippet of LASFS history on his website while you still can. He says Comcast is getting rid of personal webpages (like his) in October.

De Profundis is the club newsletter of The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.   Around about May of 1988 the De Profundis newsletter contained its first, last and only Photo Supplement.   This four page supplement is now, here, being republished for the first time (in any form) since the May, 1988, newsletter distribution.

I’m in there a couple of times. Which is either an incentive or a warning.

(6) Cedar Sanderson in “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.

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.

Snowcrash in a comment on “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.

I think the issue may be somewhat overstated – the Amazon reviews broadly break down into 4 areas – people unhappy that an ebook is priced at so high (USD 17?); people sad to have lost the Expanded Universe; people taking umbrage at the existence of a gay protagonist; and people who take issue with the writing. Down-rating the book for the first 3 seems a bit immature to me, but hey, whatever they want in the cut-throat world of Amazon…

Personally, given it’s sales figures, it seems to be doing fine so far. Let’s see if it has legs though.

Amanda S. Green in a comment on “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.

Very broadly break down into that. I’ve taken the time to read the reviews not only on Amazon but on B&N as well. Let’s look at the B&N reviews to start. There are 17 reviews there for a 3.5 star cumulative review. 6 of those 17 reviews are 5 stars. However, and this is a big however, of those 6 reviews 4 are one line back and forth comments between reviewers that have nothing to do with the book. Another has no comment at all. So let’s toss them out. The final five star review is a true review by someone who liked the book. The rest of the reviews deal with the plot or writing style. One review, one of the more supportive ones, does say that the inclusion of a gay character felt forced. Over all, the complaint, even among those giving good reviews, was that the writing was not at the level it should be and that Wendig did not appear to love the universe he was writing in.

If you look closely at the Amazon reviews, you see much the same thing. Yes, there are those upset with the fact the EU was tossed out. But most of the reviews concern the writing style or the story structure. Sure, there are a few who object to having a gay lead character, there always will be someone who doesn’t approve of something. But the overall message is that the book is poorly written.

The key thing here is to look at the author’s behavior and how he is alienating a fan base. He has basically called all those who don’t like his work homophobes simply because they don’t like his work. That is not a way to win friends or influence people, at least not in a good way.

As for the sales figures, eh. We haven’t seen the returns yet and we probably never will. As for his Amazon rankings, those don’t always equate into huge sales. The best sellers lists such as the NYT one are based on pre-orders and then continued orders. As you said, we will have to see if it has legs and, judging from the reviews, I’m not sure it will.

(7) Teresa Nielsen Hayden now denies the episode happened. Brust says that’s not what he was asking about, but that’s irrelevant for purposes of this history.

(8) He said it, not me…

(9) Oops. Somebody poked a hibernating bear. Part of “Today’s Twitter Rant, 9/12/15” which goes on at length on Whatever.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Pip R. Lagenta, both Marks, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

338 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/12 Vouching Tiger

  1. IIRC the Qeng Ho ramscoops from Deepness in the Sky were also long and slender in shape, like organ pipes.

    Also the Lighthuggers from Al Reynolds Revelation Space series, were also similar in shape, though not ramscoops themselves. They explicitly use ice as ablative shielding. I suppose the pointed shape could serve a similar function to the sloped armour of tanks which increases the effective thickness required to penetrate without a consequent increase in weight. Besides they sound fricking cool…

  2. Re: the complaint about Wendig’s tenses, I would have interpreted ‘plasma scarring’ to have been a gerund instead.

  3. @IanP

    I can’t remember if Vinge went into much detail about his ramscoops, really liked the book, but it’s ages since I read it. Probably not, because he’d already set up a kind of magic galaxy where you can go FTL out on the rim, but are restricted to STL down here. And round the galactic core you can’t even think. Great aliens, though. But I think that whole unexplained premise makes it science fantasy, so I suspect he didn’t waste much effort explaining the ramscoops either.

    Yeah, I was thinking something like Al Reynolds’s Lighthuggers, actually. A kind of glacis armour makes sense, but I’m not sure it would look pretty. You’d have to ensure that it was somewhat machined to maintain the craft’s centre of mass, of course, though you could also slosh volatiles round to achieve this.

    Incidentally, his Lighthugger drive is where the science fantasy turns up in Revelation Space, but I don’t think it’s fully explained in the novels, it’s in one of the stories in Galactic North IIRC. OK, never mind that it seems to get you something for (almost) nothing – he needed that drive and I don’t begrudge him it…

  4. My first Kevin J. Anderson book was an X-Files tie-in novel. It was acceptable but I was pretty obsessed with X-Files at the time.

    The antagonist of Skylark DuQuesne was nicknamed Blackie. I took the use in the JCW book to be a nod to E. E. Smith.

  5. @James Davis Nicoll,

    Not only do I know that KJA wrote some Star Wars novels, his are pretty much my favorite of the EU. The Jedi Academy trilogy gave us Kyp Durron, and then he wrote Darksaber, which while panned by a lot of people, is my favorite of the EU lot.

  6. @Fin Fahey

    Just checked my copy Galactic North and the story you’re probably thinking of is Weather. On the whole it’s not the worst hand wave I’ve seen for intersteller drives and I like the elements of relativistic time dilation it adds to the stories.

    Reminds me, I’ll have to get around to reading the Poseidon’s Children series soon. Though I may take a look at the Doctor Who book he did first.

  7. If you don’t like stylistic fragments, fine, that’s a perfectly valid opinion. But they’re not “unreadable” as long as they’re still intelligible, and they’re not “egregious errors” if they’re exactly what the author intended.

    But the one thing they’re definitely not is mislectorism. Does Sanderson honestly think Wendig adopted an idiosyncratic sentence style because he hates his readers? Really?

    It’s obvious what Wendig is trying to do stylistically. Whether he’s successful at it, yeah, debate away. But to attribute to him some malevolence towards readers merely because you don’t like his style is a bit shitty.

    (Also, on another topic entirely, I was hoping Cat Valente’s idea for story-aspect-based award categories would make it into this roundup. I love the idea…)

    ETA: Doh! Just noticed it got its own post entirely. Off to check that out…

  8. Regarding Sanderson…I keep flashing back to those soccer referee/logical fallacy memes. “Proof by verbosity. Player illegally substituted vocabulary for logic.”

  9. @ianP

    No, it’s a great and memorable space drive, I agree it’s not the most hand-wavey by a long chalk. I’m now trying to think about what would be the worst, I’m sure there are many candidates. (I don’t count people like Doc Smith, who just wasn’t going to let relativity get in the way of a ripping yarn and ignored it completely.)

    My favourite (apart from the Infinite Improbability Drive, of course) might be the Bloater Drive from Harry Harrison’s Bill the Galactic Hero, though. (It just makes the whole spacecraft really really big, so the nose is in the destination system, where it sort of sticks. Then it just goes ‘spong’ like a length of elastic/deflating balloon and there you are, Bob’s your uncle. IIRC.

  10. With thanks to @Mike for the daily edification:

    1. The only Doctor I really know is the one with the scarf, from when I was a kid. Therefore, he is the best and all the others are the worst. (Is that thunder I hear?)

    2. This is great. Synchronicities and echoes.

    3. If people are going to put him in other zombie movies without asking him, he might as well have the fun!

    4. Great hypothesis. Sounds plausible to me.

    5. I’ll second the “nice ‘stache” comment.

    6. I’m going to dissent and say it’s one and a half colons, which is only half a colon more than the least colons you could have in a passage without having any colons at all.

    7. I wish somebody would say something about this incident that isn’t completely cryptic. People seem to be saying anything except what actually happened.

    8. Hats off to this Twitterer for putting into words a feeling I have often had but couldn’t fully express.

    9. Doctorow was looking for a second like a challenger for a certain title, so it’s good to see Scalzi mounting a defense.

  11. @Brian V.: It seems to me “mislectorism” in practice means authorial behavior Mad Geniuses don’t like. I say that as someone who abominates authors stalking reviewers and was much more on Amazon’s side than the Big Five’s during the Two Great Wars. But what their rants against $NEOLOGISM entail is:

    * A remarkable degree of servility on the part of authors toward readers
    * Pandering stylistically to a “common reader” whose stylistic preferences line up exactly with those of the Mad Genius in question.

    I suppose it’s an ethos.

  12. @Fin

    Most implausible space drive? I like this idea…

    I nominate the KK Drive from Alan Dean Foster’s Humanx books. Ships look like a sink plunger/plumbers helper and project a powerful point gravity source in front of the ship, which pulls the ship towards it.

    Thoroughly mad but I did love the books at the time.

  13. Re: Star Wars:
    Anna Feruglio Dal Dan said: I also liked elements of the third, maybe because I was still living in Italy at the time and the evil senator taking over power kinda resonated with me… but the second is pretty unsalvageable.
    Attack of the Clones was for some reason edited to under 2 hours (? I don’t recall exact run time) for Imax. This meant my husband, who only saw the Imax release, never saw some of its worst offences, where I, who went to both, saw the differences immediately.

    There were some salvageable ideas in the prequels, but the execution was … well, it was the other definition of execution.

  14. OK, I’m going to try posting the next bracket heat here, mostly because … this is when I have it ready to post. Since I know some people like them at the beginning of a post to make them easier to find, so most likely this will please no one at all, but hey, worth a try. Possibly it will help now that Mike is linking to them up top. (Thanks, Mike!)

    This will be the second heat of the 21st century fantasy bracket. The four heats are loosely grouped by publication date, and the winners will compete in the first Big Round.

    As usual, you can vote for one, abstain, vote for a tie, or vote for a different work by the same author (published in 2000 or later).

  15. HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    The Sun Sword, Michelle West
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    Moon Called, Patricia Briggs
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    The Anvil of the World, Kage Baker

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Devil You Know, Mike Carey
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
    The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Fudoki, Kij Johnson
    Lonely Werewolf Girl, Martin Millar

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot
    The Year of Our War, Steph Swainston

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint
    Graceling, Kristin Cashore

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    The Limits of Enchantment, Graham Joyce
    Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    Vellum, Hal Duncan
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    Priestess of the White, Trudi Canavan

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Flesh and Spirit, Carol Berg
    Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist
    Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    The Beasts of Clawstone Castle, Eva Ibbotson
    Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

  16. @gmarie: “revenge non-editing”

    Highly unlikely. From a financial standpoint, such a move would be counterproductive; companies like money, and deliberately sabotaging your own products is not a good way to get it. Also, and much more simply – printing books takes time. We may think of JCW’s self-destructive “I hate my publisher” rants as old news, but the book had been locked into its final form well before then. (No inside knowledge, just basic logistics.) There just wasn’t any time for an editing decision to happen between that first rant and the book going to print… which may have been a factor in his decision to rant. “My book’s already at print; what can they do to me?”

    @Jim Henley: (JTAS)

    Just as a public service announcement, the GURPS Traveller license expires at the end of the year. Any remaining physical stock can still be sold, but the PDFs will no longer be sold and e-JTAS will close.

    @Simon and Fin: (Martian peroxides)

    That was one of the small details that mildly irritated me about the Saving Mars books. An edge-of-survival Mars colony “smells like peroxide” yet mines polar ice for water? I was doing the whole “it’s all around you” thing myself.

  17. @ianp

    Like mounting a big electric fan to drive your sailing boat? Wonderful. I will be looking out for those books now. I remember liking the only ADF I read, but most of his stuff seems to have breezed past me.

  18. @ Ray Radlein:

    Almost EVERYONE on Twitter seemed to think it was a hoax or a satire of some kind, rather than an actual page of actual text from an actual novel from an actual publisher.

    My hand goes up. I used Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to read the first page of the book, because I wasn’t sure.

    @ JJ I

    didn’t get the impression that TNH was saying that Lamplighter never approached PNH, she’s saying that PNH never shouted at Lamplighter.

    That was my impression, too.

  19. And as a generic reminder, it is *really* not unusual not to have read a bunch of works in the heats. They’re drawn from a pretty broad spread at this point.

    (Oh, and speaking on the bracket links up top, the link to the 9/11 thread on that list seems to be going to the 7/30 thread instead, just FYI to our host.)

  20. HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    (I live in Mo’s flat)

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    The Anvil of the World, Kage Baker
    (Tie!)

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Lonely Werewolf Girl, Martin Millar

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    The Year of Our War, Steph Swainston

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    The Limits of Enchantment, Graham Joyce

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    Vellum, Hal Duncan

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

  21. Oh dear., haven’t read much in this one.

    1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

  22. I’m not sure that the Pratchett and the LeGuin (and any Zelazny or Beagle that may turn up) shouldn’t have been given a bye until the final round, based on past performance.

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
    I haven’t read the Briggs, but this wins on the grounds of AWESOME.

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    Graceling, Kristin Cashore
    a tough call

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

  23. HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    Moon Called, Patricia Briggs

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Devil You Know, Mike Carey

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    Incidentally, I don’t know anything about Priestess of the White, but the KILLING GODS thing has me intrigued.

    Also, Graceling has been on the TBR pile since its publication. I should probably get around to reading it someday.

  24. Brackets:

    2. Ooof. Stross, dammit.
    3. Briggs.
    12. Not voting, but I’m confident I can stalk guess the winner.
    14. Harrison.
    16. Rowling.

  25. HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    Abstain

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Anvil of the World, Kage Baker

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Abstain

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    Abstain

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    Abstain

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    Abstain

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS
    Abstain

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin (but it really really should be Voices in this category)

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Abstain

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    Abstain

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

  26. 1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    3. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    5. The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    11. In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    13. Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin

    15. Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

    16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

  27. Wait? What? MORE brackets? But I’m not ready! I’m not even dressed!

    HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    (Yay for fantasy Lupin the Third!)

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Lonely Werewolf Girl, Martin Millar

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    Graceling, Kristin Cashore

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

  28. @Rev. Bob

    I’m not familiar with Saving Mars but, to be fair, they’re not going to get a great volume of water/O2 per kg of rock. They’d still have to mine ice, I think.

    But, heck, peroxide is going to be valuable to them in any case, it’s been used as an oxidiser in rocket fuel here often enough. Any molecule with easily released energy is valuable – and this one, unlike some, leaves you with totally useful non-toxic (for certain values of non-toxic) end-products after it decomposes.

    In some ways, Martian peroxide/hyperoxide may be the equivalent of fossil fuels here – a non-renewable resource in that it might take hundreds of millions of years (I’m handwaving that figure) to replenish. And off course we might see the resulting climate change as beneficial on Mars…

    [Oh, I seem to be stuck in the middle of this bracket thing. Probably my own fault.]

  29. HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    The Sun Sword, Michelle West

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Pass

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Spirit Gate, Kate Elliott

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    Vellum, Hal Duncan

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Flesh and Spirit, Carol Berg

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    Pass

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY

    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

  30. > “I’m not sure that the Pratchett and the LeGuin (and any Zelazny or Beagle that may turn up) shouldn’t have been given a bye until the final round, based on past performance.”

    I considered it, but there’s a lot of new players on the field in this one and while I seriously doubt that, say, Night Watch is going to get eliminated early, I also don’t think it’s an absolutely foregone conclusion that it’s going to be in the final two the way it was for Lord of the Rings. I mean, it certainly might be in the final two, but more than one work has appeared already that I would wager has at least as good a shot at it, and we’re only halfway through the full initial list.

  31. I have very few horses in this race, but I will ride them while they’re running:

    5. The Devil You Know, Mike Carey.

    Calling this series “What Dresden Files should have been” is damning with faint praise, but among other things the Felix Castor novels are is a much better Dresden Files. Castor has a PI license. Castor suffers the classic financial distress. Castor has a big long coat he wears most everywhere. Castor has a magical gift – specifically, he’s a ghost-breaker; since childhood he’s had a talent for banishing ghosts using musical charms. And there are a lot of ghosts, because for some reason about 10 years ago, it was like wherever the afterlife was kicked everybody out.

    Virtues of this first book specifically:
    * the opening chapter, where Castor is trying to earn money as a stage magician so he can get out of the exorcism business, hooked me completely.
    * Carey is a solid stylist and writes concisely. He’s not a windbag. (Not to mention any names that may have already been mentioned.)
    * there are refreshing, consistent takes on aligned phenomena including zombies, demons and weres – it’s not a kitchen-sink cosmology.
    * the solution to the case Castor ends up taking is surprising, and satisfyingly so.
    * talkin’ bout my g-g-generation – Castor is a child of the new wave, as are his closest friends.
    * there’s a moral and ethical point to it all, and Castor changes his approach to his work as he absorbs new truths.

    The whole five-book series makes a satisfying saga, and it has a point to make about where demons come from that is arresting and shows the use of fantasy at its best. IIRC, the third book is the weakest of the bunch. The rest are good to great.

    12. To Ride a Rathorn, P.C. Hodgell.

    GOD STALK!

  32. 1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Pass

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Pass

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    Pass

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    Pass

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Pass

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Pass

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    Pass

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

  33. > “Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch”

    This is going to show up, honest! It’s a 2011 novel, this heat only goes through about 2007 or so.

  34. 2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    I nominate this unread as “Magic Bites” was a really boring run-of-the-mill fantasy with all the standard clichés. Wouldn’t want it to win anything.

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
    I liked this one. And thought “Moon Called” was another stupid urban fantasy of the most boring and clichéed kind. It was even made to order for the publisher as to fulfill all the standard stereotype.

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Yes! YES! Love the language. This is the one.

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    I really love good heist stories and this one is good. One of my favourites.

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Lonely Werewolf Girl, Martin Millar
    Didn’t read Fudoki, but Millar is always Millar. Yes for this one!

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    Graceling, Kristin Cashore
    Oooh, I loved this one. A classic Saga (swedish for fairy tale). So nice to read.

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison
    I love this series by Harrison, one of my favourites. “Let the right one in” I read in swedish and the language is the barren, journalistic language used for almost all swedish detective stories and I’m tired of it. Downvoted because of that.

  35. Once again I’m worried about how little I’ve read (and really, the TBR stack is now just getting stupid), but for those I can say I’ve read:

    1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
    2. The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    5. The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

  36. 1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    The Sun Sword, Michelle West
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    I didn’t actually care much for JS&MN. I don’t know why. I finished it more because I thought I should than from any actual interest in what happened next.

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews

    Abstain; haven’t read Andrews. (But rooting for Stross.)

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    Moon Called, Patricia Briggs
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    Um. I vaguely remember reading Briggs. But it didn’t make much impression on me. Novik by default.

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    The Anvil of the World, Kage Baker

    I hate your dice. Hate them hate them hate them. Kushner. Hate them.

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
    The Devil You Know, Mike Carey
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    Not read either author. Abstain.

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
    The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker

    Not read either author. Abstain.

    7. CATS AND DOGS
    Fudoki, Kij Johnson
    Lonely Werewolf Girl, Martin Millar

    Not read either author. Abstain. (this is starting to be embarrassing)

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot
    The Year of Our War, Steph Swainston

    Read the Elliot but nothing by Swainston. Abstain.

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM
    The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint
    Graceling, Kristin Cashore

    Love De Lint. Haven’t read this one. Never read Cashore. Abstain. Damnit.

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    The Limits of Enchantment, Graham Joyce
    Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold

    Love Linskold, haven’t read Joyce. Abstain. (This is killing me.)

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    Vellum, Hal Duncan
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    Love Valente, haven’t read Duncan. Same song, same verse. Abstain.

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    Priestess of the White, Trudi Canavan

    GOD STALK! (sorry). Never read Canavan. Abstain. (No, this isn’t a vote for God Stalk; it’s a reflex.)

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW
    Flesh and Spirit, Carol Berg
    Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin

    Love Le Guin, never read Berg. Abstain. (So many authors I’ve read *nothing* by…. <sob>

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist
    Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison

    Abstain. Again.

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    The Beasts of Clawstone Castle, Eva Ibbotson
    Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

    Love Jones. Never heard of Ibbotson. Abstain.

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    Don’t know Williams. Abstain.

    (I feel like a failure as a reader.)

  37. The bracket this time makes me wonder what I was doing those years instead of reading. Well at least I’m able to register enthusiastic votes for two: “Fudoki” and Cat Valente’s “Orphan’s Tales” (in the latter case I think it was a mistake to name only the first volume of the duology, because they don’t work nearly so well separate.)

  38. I realize Carey’s going to get creamed here; Lynch is a very popular writer. I just want you all to go out and read The Devil You Know after this round is over. 🙂

  39. Today’s bracket just in time. I’ll be heading of for Rosh Hashana shortly. Won’t be around doe 2 days. Guess I’ll miss a Brackett or two.

    HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews
    My favorite Urban Fantasy series. A must read in my opinion. Fun, good worldbuilding, no male gaze, interesting creatures, friendships, strong women and men. The married couple who write these do a great job.

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    Moon Called, Patricia Briggs
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
    Tie I love both of these

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot
    I think I’ve read this. I always have mixed feelings about Kate Elliot books. I really want to love them but I never end up more than liking them. Her non-fiction about women is great. I find her fiction just doesn’t follow through on the promise.

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison
    Kim Harrison is not one of my favs in Urban Fantasy. I find her books too male gaze like and her Strong Female Protagonist are more interested in sex & relationships (frequently abusive/borderline abusive) than dealing with the villian.

    Hey look I’ve read a few works. Have a good few days. Thanks Kyra for putting these together.

  40. Brian V on September 13, 2015 at 1:25 pm said:
    If you don’t like stylistic fragments, fine, that’s a perfectly valid opinion. But they’re not “unreadable” as long as they’re still intelligible, and they’re not “egregious errors” if they’re exactly what the author intended.

    If you ignore the dog and puppy show Scott mislectorism and just focus on the literary criticism it comes down to 1) fragments are postmodern, which is bad 2).the reader is always right, and authors should bow to the will of the reader.

    The first is neither here nor there nor postmodern in any meaningful sense.
    The second is problematic because it’s early days to judge what teh reader wants. And the only way to avoid all criticism is to make pap and take no risks whatsoever. And presumably that’s not what they hired Wendig for.

  41. @Cassy B., You feel like a failure as a reader?!!!
    In the first heat, there were no pairings where I have read both candidates. In this one, there is only one. I’m mostly cheering from the sidelines at the moment…

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

  42. @Fin Fahey: (Saving Mars with hydrogen peroxide)

    The colony was set up as a terraforming effort, so warming the planet is a definite plus. I wasn’t trying to convey a sense that the peroxide is a cure for their water needs, but rather that a colony that desperate is going to suck the water out of any available source – which is why the notion of living spaces smelling like peroxide grated on me. I mean, wouldn’t they have some extraction process between Get Dirt and Build With Dirt?

    The series makes a few other science blunders, but for what it is – half a dozen YA books where a hotshot pilot girl and her fragile genius brother save the day – I can forgive those. I just found this right up there with the pilot not knowing the ship’s hold is full until she looks at the fuel levels a while after takeoff. “Wait, what? But inertia, handling…”

  43. A lot more that I didn’t know this time.

    HEAT TWO – MASTERS OF THE MIDDLE-AUGHTS

    1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
    (Up there with Ash as my favourite AH novel.)

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY
    The Year of Our War, Steph Swainston

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS
    Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES
    Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling
    (I’m one of those who thinks that this is probably the best of the series and pshaw to all those Azkaban fans.)

  44. 1. YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    Sorry, Michelle. I really like your books, but Clarke’s is better.

    2. THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    Hard choice, actually.

    3. THIS IS NOT WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    Harder choice!

    4. THIS IS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I TRAINED FOR
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    The Anvil of the World, Kage Baker

    Yeah. Hmm. Tie!

    5. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY

    Abstain.

    6. MASTERING THE GREATEST MAGIC

    Never read either, don’t really intend to, either. Abstain.

    7. CATS AND DOGS

    Abstain. I need to track down Fudoki.

    8. GOT WINGS, GOING TO FLY

    I prefer the Cold $NOUN trilogy by far. I’d vote for that. Otherwise, abstain.

    9. SWORN TO PROTECT A WORLD THAT FEARS AND HATES THEM

    Abstain.

    10. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
    Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold

    I adore this book.

    11. STORIES WITHIN STORIES WITHIN STORIES
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    Definitely!

    12. WOMEN WHO KILL GODS

    Abstain. I wasn’t impressed so much with the Hodgell to read that far. Nor was I impressed with Canavan when I tried her. Sorry.

    13. THE WORLD IS BIGGER THAN I KNEW

    I haven’t read that LeGuin yet. Abstain.

    14. THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS

    Bah. Vampires. Who needs ’em? Abstain.

    15. STATELY BRITISH MANSES

    Abstain.

    16. DARK DOINGS DOWN AT THE MINISTRY
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    Oh. Oh. Arrgh. Snake Agent. Because it is a first book not a middle book.

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