Pixel Scroll 9/13 Pixellary Justice

(1) Why is Stieg Larsson’s fourth Millennium novel a news item for the scroll? Well, it is a book a lot of us will read, but that’s not the reason. Sweden’s Ahrvid Engholm supplies the connection in his coverage “From the Biggest Book Release of 2015: ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’” on Europa SF.

There were big news and no news at the Stockholm press conference (August 26th) for the fourth Millennium novel, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” by David Lagercrantz. Big news because of all the speculations and hysteria around this book, in the international bestseller (80+ million copies world-wide) series created and written by Stieg Larsson….

Stieg Larsson was one of Sweden’s top science-fiction fans throughout the 1970’s, as fanzine publisher (titles like Fijagh, SFären, Långfredagsnatt) board member and later chairman of the Scandinavian SF Association (where Yours Truly met him every week for several years), for which he and Eva Gabrielsson also edited the memberzine. He then turned to nonfannish journalism, covering neonazi and racist movements, and became quite well-known, writing books and appearing on TV talking about that field. When he died in a heart attack 2004, the first volumne in the Millennium saga was just about to be published. He never lived to see his huge success.

(2) The SFEditors (Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, Paula Guran, Rich Horton, and Jonathan Strahan) are practically machine-gunning out short fiction recommendations.

(3) io9 lists “11 Science Fiction Books That Are Regularly Taught in College Classes”.

“But where is Fahrenheit 451?” demands John King Tarpinian.

(4) Lock your doors!

(5) Lee Hutchinson’s review of The Martian on Ars Technica focuses on whether it got the science right.

Fortunately, The Martian, is a good blind date. Screenwriter Drew Goddard has translated Andy Weir’s novel into a script that keeps almost all of the science and humor intact, and director Ridley Scott allows the vast emptiness of Mars to speak for itself, while keeping the gimmicks to a minimum.

And, of course, Matt Damon does wonders for the role of Mark Watney—the best botanist on the planet. The planet of Mars.

(6) Tom Knighton reviews Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves and concludes:

Absolutely amazing book.  I now find myself eagerly awaiting the next book.  I only wish Stephenson had a tip jar on his website.  I’d easily kick him whatever his percentage should be, because he easily deserves it.

(7) The oft-interviewed Samuel R. Delany answers questions, this time in The Nation:

CD: What other writers were doing this kind of work in ways that resonated with you?

SD: The first white writer who wrote a black character I personally found believable—and I read lots and lots, both inside and outside science fiction—was Thomas M. Disch, in his 1968 New Wave novel Camp Concentration, first serialized in the British science-fiction magazine New Worlds, whose first installment appeared in its first tabloid-style issue. The presentation of Mordecai is one reason I think it’s such an important book in science fiction’s history. Yes, that book passed my own Turing test in a way that, for me, Faulkner’s black characters did not—as, indeed, many of his white characters failed to do for me as well, though I always found his language exacting, when it wasn’t exhausting. Tom told me later that he’d modeled Mordecai on a black classmate of his in the Midwest. But, boy, did I recognize him from my memories of myself and my black friends on the Harlem streets.

(8) Forry Ackerman wrote a fan letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1931 — and got an answer. Read both on Letters of Note.

(9) Just found out somebody was selling these in 2009. (“See The World Through The Eyes of MST3K”.)

MT3K glasses

And somebody else 3-D printed a version that glows in the dark.

(10) Here’s a random connection. Batman creator Bob Kane is buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Cartoonist. Born in New York City, he was a comic book artist and writer, credited as the creator of the DC Comic’s superhero “Batman” character. He was a trainee animator when he entered the comic book field in 1936. Merging with DC Comics action series in 1938, editors were in a scramble for more heroes such as Superman. It was then when Kane who had influences from film actor action characters, conceived “Batman” as a superhero. Writer Bill Finger joined artist Kane and the “Batman” character debuted in DC’s Detective Comics series in May 1939, and was a breakout hit… (bio by: John “J-Cat” Griffith)

Who is Kane’s nearest neighbor? Stan Laurel.

Burial: Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County

California,

USA Plot: Court of Liberty, Lot #1310 (behind Stan Laurel).

(11) Jonathan Kay reports how he was sheared at Fan Expo Canada.

On Sunday, I took two of my daughters to the 2015 instalment of Fan Expo Canada, billed as “the largest Comics, Sci-fi, Horror, Anime, and Gaming event in Canada.” More than 100,000 fans show up annually for the four-day exhibition, which now sprawls over both buildings of the massive Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Under one roof, I was able to meet a life-size My Little Pony, compete in a Catan tournament, playtest emerging console video games, commission custom panels from famous cartoonists, pose with life-size Futurama characters, buy a fully functional 3D-chess set, and generally revel in all the various subcultures that the rest of society stigmatizes as dorky and juvenile. My girls and I have been to Fan Expo Canada three years in a row, and we always have a good time….

In fact, the best way to describe Fan Expo’s celebrity protocol is as a sort of Chicago Mercantile Exchange for human beings. Instead of live cattle, lean hogs, skimmed milk powder, cash-settled butter, and softwood pulp, this big board (displayed above) lists prices for Billy Dee Williams, Gillian Anderson, Danny Trejo, Neve Campbell, Norman Reedus, Skeet Ulrich, Zach Galligan, and fifty other stars and quasi-stars. The precision of the numbers suggests a fine-tuned demand-driven adjustment process that any commodities trader would recognize. Williams (Lando Calrissian from Star Wars, but you knew that) was listed at $57. Anderson (X-Files): $91. Danny Trejo (Machete): $74. Neve Campbell (Scream): $97. Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead): $130. Skeet Ulrich (Jericho): $68. Zach Galligan (Gremlins): $63. Just my luck: Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley, Harry Potter’s red-haired sidekick) was listed at $142—highest on the board. I wanted to bail out. But having made the mistake of getting dragged this far, turning back wasn’t going to be a good-dad move.

And it got worse. Fan Expo also sells “Team Ups”: Photo-ops that allow big spenders to pose with multiple cast members from the same show or movie. In the case of Potter fans, $260 gets you the “Weasley family”—featuring not only Grint, but the two actors who play his fictional twin brothers Fred (James Phelps) and George (Oliver Phelps). The twins alone could be had for a mere $102, but my daughters convinced me that the family plan offered “the best value.” A second print: another $10. Digital copy: That was extra, too. With frames and tax, I was in for well over $300….

“Fleeced,” “Rip-off,” “Sucker”—I’ve used some strong language here. But in fact, Fan Expo and the Weasleys were scrupulously honest. They promised me a photo for a printed price. And that’s exactly what they delivered. And it’s a great shot: Everyone’s beaming. We look like fast friends. Perfect for generating social media likes and green-envy emoticons.

(12) You probably haven’t read enough tortured reasoning about the Hugos and Sasquan lately and will be thrilled that a lawyer has been studying the possibilities of suing about the asterisks.

More here.

Asterisking the Hugo Nominations is therefore perfectly legal, UNLESS the presentation was unofficial… which WorldCon can deny at the drop of a formal filing. All three lawyers were convinced that the second WorldCon obtained legal representation, they’d be advised to throw their Hugo Committee Chair (and all of his emails to me) under the biggest bus they could find. While this would essentially invalidate the 2015 Hugos entirely, it was pointed out that the organization’s alternatives would be far more disastrous.

Why?

Because WorldCon had complete control of the venue and process, but did nothing to prevent (or even denounce) any illegal use of its trademarks therein. Failure to defend a trademark against known infringement endangers the trademark.

That’s entirely aside from the issue of fraud, which comes in under the heading of deliberate misrepresentation. WorldCon’s Hugo Chair isn’t saying that they are invalidating the Asterisks after the fact… instead, he’s saying the Asterisks were never legitimate to begin with. Yet at the actual event, they were publicly represented as THE official Nominee awards. Rather than treated as jokes, they were lionized by those on stage as representative of SF/F fandom as a whole.

The denial itself is an act of fraud, affecting all 2015 Hugo Voters, but in terms of public record the World Science Fiction Society has given every appearance of endorsing the Asterisk Awards as official. Were I to file action, they’d only need to respond with verification of their existing public position. That would invalidate any claim of damages I could make. Only if they formally back up their Hugo Chair do they risk anything.

As none of the lawyers I spoke to believe they’ll be that stupid, none want to accept the case at this point.

‘Tis clear as is the summer sun.

(13) Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best was published July 7. An anonymous contributor sent me this report on how the 2015 Hugo nominees fared.

But yesterday, I did compare the ballots to Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Table of Contents and Honorable mention list and came across something I find interesting…

Of all the nominees, both on the final ballot and those who dropped off the ballot, none of the stories made the table of contents and only two authors made the Honorable Mention list.

Given the positive comments about Annie Bellet and Kary English, it would be natural to think they might have made Gardner’s Honorable Mention list, but they didn’t.

The only Hugo nominated story to make Gardner’s honorable mention list was Michael Flynn’s “The Journeyman: In the Stone House,” which many of non-puppies complained was not a complete story since it is a part of a larger work.

The only other Hugo nominated author to make the list, amazingly enough for a non-Hugo related story, was John C. Wright, for “Idle Thoughts.”

(14) John Scalzi would do it this way – “My Almost Certainly Ill-Advised Proposed Award Voting Process”.

  1. How the vote works: There are three voting rounds: Nomination, long list, and finalist.

Nomination: Everyone votes for one and only one work (or person, if it’s that sort of category) in the category. The top ten or twelve vote-getters are sent to the long list stage (ties, etc are fine but the goal would be to get number of long list nominees as close to the ideal long list number as possible).

Long List: Everyone votes for up to three works on the long list, none of which can be the single work they originally nominated. That’s right! You have to choose something else in this stage, and hope enough other people like the work you originally nominated to include it among their own selections!

But what if people choose not to make selections in the stage in the hope that their lack of selection of other work will bump up the chances of their preferred work? Well, I would consider making a rule that says failure to participate in this round counts as a point against your original choice’s score in this round — which is to say if you don’t vote in this round, a point is deducted for your original choice’s score in this round (presuming it made the long list at all). You’re better off voting if you want your original selection to make it to the final round.

In this round, the top five or six vote-getters graduate to the final round. Hope your original choice made it!

Finalist: This vote is done “Australian Rules” style, where each voter ranks the works from first to last choice. “No Award” is an option in this round, so if you hated everything in the long list round, this is where you may register your disapproval. The winner is the one which collects the majority of votes, in either the first or subsequent balloting rounds.

(15) The Sci-Fi Air Show is an incredible bit of imaginative work.

What if instead of using sets, models and special effects, the producers of science fiction films and television shows constructed full sized flying spaceships? That is the premise of the Sci-Fi Air Show.

In a similar story arc to the Batmobile and the Aries 1B miniature from 2001: A Space Odyssey, these ships would have likely been sold off, traded, hidden away in basements and eventually rescued, restored and put on public display.

The images you see here on the site are photographs of practical miniature spaceships digitally blended with actual air show backgrounds. It is a fantasy air show that only exists on line, but appeals to many of us who, at one time, believed that these ships of fantasy really could fly.

(16) If somebody wanted to run real museum like that, they could begin by gathering up this abandoned wooden space shuttle.

Wooden shuttle COMP

While exploring an abandoned corner of the Zhukovsky airfield (Ramenskoye Airport) in Moscow two years ago, aviation photographer Aleksander Markin stumbled onto a forgotten relic of Russia’s Buran Space Program. This decaying wooden spacecraft was used as a wind tunnel model in the 1980s for the VKK Space Orbiter, the largest and most expensive Soviet space exploration program conceived as a response to the United States’ Space Shuttle. Despite its scientific purposes the wooden ship has the appearance of a fantastic children’s playground feature.

According to Urban Ghosts, this 1:3 scale replica was just one of 85 wind tunnel models used to test various aerodynamic properties of the orbiter. The testing would eventually reveal that NASA’s prototype for the Enterprise was ideal for spaceflight and the VKK Space Orbiter would take a similar design as a result.

(17) Huffington Post helped an astronaut take down a tabloid story in “The UFOs Didn’t Come In Peace! Astronaut Sets Record Straight on ET Nuclear War”.

Few people are surprised by the eye-popping headlines in The Mirror. But when the infamous British tabloid quoted astronaut Edgar Mitchell as saying that “UFOs came in peace” to “save America from nuclear war,” it shocked everybody — including Mitchell.

“I don’t know where The Mirror got the story,” Mitchell, 84, said in an email to The Huffington Post, accusing the paper of fabricating his quotes and denying that an interview for this story ever took place.

The sixth man to walk on the moon has been outspoken over the years in his belief that extraterrestrials have visited the Earth and the moon — and that the government is withholding vital information about UFOs. Still, Mitchell insists the Aug. 11 Mirror story has no basis in the truth and disavows the information in it.

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

408 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/13 Pixellary Justice

  1. 3. Pournelle may well be agnostic as to who publishes him. In a broad view, most major publishers are owned by multi-nationals who are at best self-interested corporations who will sell stuff by any arsehole who will shift copies. If you look at it like that, Castilia is not much worse than the next publisher.

    You’re kidding yourself. Pournelle is, at this point, right there at the wall with VD. Hell, you kid see signs of it back in the 80s.

    Plus, I’ll never forgive him for what he did with Lucifer’s Hammer. ‘negro cannibals’, forsooth.

    He signed this deal awhile ago, I believe. I’m pretty sure his career was dead in the water, although you would think Baen could make room for him.

  2. Favorite D&D moment: We were running in a somewhat-less-than-serious running of the “City State of The Invincible Overlord” map (with some modifications/adaptations). Our party had heard of a gold-mine under the city itself, and managed to get down into it. We found a half-dozen large crates filled with elvish inscribed gold coins, and a tunnel with a mine-car/railroad track down the middle of it.
    We were dragging our treasure down the tunnel when we were hit from behind by a subway train.
    Turns out the inscription on the “gold coins” was (in elvish) “CSotIOUCTA” which stood for “City State of the Invincible Overlord Urban Community Transit Authority“.

    Never trust a DM…

    And in other news, I finished The Martian over the weekend. The first few chapters were a bit of a slog for me, still interesting but I was on the verge of bouncing off it. But somewhere in there, the story grabbed me, and next thing I knew it was 2:00 in the morning, my Kindle was almost out of power and so was I.
    I hope the movie is good. Looks like they’ve given him a wife and child to come home for — that worries me a little.

  3. 16) Wooden Space Shuttle Replica. I remember going on a joy ride north of Toronto back in the 1970s, and we discovered someone had build a life-size replica of the Lunar Landing Module in their backyard. To make it even stranger, they had bought an old church to live in.

  4. @rochrist: you would think Baen could make room for [Pournelle].

    Pretty sure Jim Baen would have, based on some things David Drake has said.

  5. The Niven-Pournelle collaborations are some of the finest works of their kind.
    The Mote in God’s Eye in particular, this is the very model, the epitome, of the men-in-spaceship-meet aliens story. Its as classic as classic gets.
    It has to be on the must read list. And I believe it has aged very well.
    It would be a natural for a movie, with modern special effects.
    Though maybe there aren’t enough videogame linkage opportunities.

  6. Lucifer’s Hammer was Pournelle Niven. As was the awful Fallen Angels. That one was just an embbarassing level of smug. The Mote in God’s Eye and Footfall are the only ones of the lot that I have much regard for.

  7. Footfall was marred by their urge to cram right-wing message-fic into the frame of their story. (Journalists bad! Engineers good! Murderous vigilantes best!) The Mote in God’s Eye was just terrific, though. An all-time classic.

    If they ever wrote anything duller than Oath of Fealty, I missed it. By Grabthar’s Hammer that was one snooze of a novel.

  8. Problematic elements aside–because at fourteen, honestly, I glossed over them–I preferred Lucifer’s Hammer to Footfall. Footfall’s main female character was so dreadful and weird that I assumed she was (badly) written to be read as terribly mentally ill and suffering PTSD from her imprisonment, which made the sex very iffy for me, and if I was thinking that as a fourteen-year-old, it had to be bad. (Mind you, I would also later assume that about the female lead of Farewell to Arms.)

    It’s depressing when the lack of significant female characters in Hammer was a improvement, but there you are. And it scratched a serious survivalist itch I had at that age–sort of the next in the sequence after Swiss Family Robinson and My Side of the Mountain. Far inferior to Wolf and Iron on that front, but I liked wolves as a teenager.

    Mote in God’s Eye was genuinely good, head and shoulders about all the rest.

  9. Heat 3 of the 21st century fantasy bracket coming up. It is rife with detectives for some reason.

    As usual, you can vote for a work, abstain, vote for a tie, or vote for another work by one of the authors (published 2000 or later).

  10. I do love me some Mote in God’s Eye…at 12 it was mind-blowing.

    I actually need a new copy – but don’t know if I can buy something by a Castalia House author………

  11. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan
    The Painted Man (AKA The Warded Man), Peter V. Brett

    2. WILL MAGIC GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman
    The Brides of Rollrock Island (AKA Sea Hearts), Margo Lanagan

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
    Liar, Justine Larbalestier
    Finch, Jeff VanderMeer

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding

    5. WAR IS COMING
    The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
    Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    Haven, Joel Shepherd

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes
    Plain Kate, Erin Bow

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
    Caine Black Knife, Matthew Woodring Stover

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin
    Sandman Slim, Richard Kadry

    10. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRADING ECONOMICS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    A Shadow in Summer, Daniel Abraham

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch
    Child of Fire, Harry Connolly

    12. GET STEAMPUNK
    The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia
    Blood of Ambrose, James Enge

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff
    Shadowbridge, Gregory Frost

    14. ENOUGH ABOUT MEDIEVAL EUROPE ALREADY
    Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay
    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

    15. ANGELS AND DEMONS
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
    Miserere, Teresa Frohock

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    Mechanique, Genevieve Valentine
    The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

  12. “but don’t know if I can buy something by a Castalia House author………”

    Just one time, its not like you’ll develop a habit or anything. Ok, maybe twice…

  13. If they ever wrote anything duller than Oath of Fealty, I missed it.

    Inferno was pretty bad – pretty much nothing but raw message without any real appreciable story. I wasn’t real impressed with Legacy of Heorot either.

  14. I actually need a new copy – but don’t know if I can buy something by a Castalia House author………

    Used book stores and library book sales are your friends. They usually have a copy of The Mote in God’s Eye.

  15. As was the awful Fallen Angels.

    A lot more fun to read when you knew who the characters were. (Still light-weight, though.)

  16. @Jack Lint

    You wonder why we haven’t had a celebrity axe murderer yet.

    Does Lizzie Borden count?

  17. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan
    The Painted Man (AKA The Warded Man), Peter V. Brett

    Lets go with the somewhat less dark Peter V. Brett

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding

    Love, love Toby Daye. But I’ll give a slight edge to Wooding.

    5. WAR IS COMING
    The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
    Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky

    And there’s that Kyra Bracket cruelty. Urgh. Tchaikovsky.

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch
    Child of Fire, Harry Connolly

    And more cruelty. 20 Palaces and Connolly.

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff
    Shadowbridge, Gregory Frost

    Despite not having read Frost, I’m still voting for him, because I really, really, REALLY hated the central family in Huff’s book. A LOT.

  18. @Rick K

    His fiction I can take or leave but I absolutely loved Pournelle’s Chaos Manor column in Byte during its heyday mumbley-mumble years ago.

    To me, it did not exactly look like an upstanding example of ethics in computer journalism, but it spawned a rather funny parody

  19. I am embarassed by how few of these I’ve read.

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire

    I should probably abstain because she’s a personal friend, but I won’t because there’s no money on the line.

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

    I did not like this book, but it has stuck with me for years. It was a terrible mirror of the daemons in Golden Compass.

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    Again, a friend, again, not abstaining, because it’s a really good book.

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff

    I like Summon the Keeper better, but I’ll give Huff props here.

    15. ANGELS AND DEMONS
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
    Miserere, Teresa Frohock

    *twitch*

    Thing is, I really REALLY wanted to like Daughter. I read the first half of the book breathless. The teeth! The…other teeth! It was so gripping! And then it was just…doomed angel crap. He was so generic, and while I felt bad for her, I never actually liked her, and it’s not the same. A++++ for world building, C for characters, so abstain.

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

    Another A++++ for worldbuilding and C for main characters. I disliked them both after a point. But the minor characters held together well and there were a lot more of them. I loved the world, I loved many of the people, I just would have been perfectly happy if the two leads had sunk into the center of the earth and the minor characters had run the circus.

  20. Incidentally, I would not be at all surprised if people have read fewer books in Heats 3 and 4 than the first two; some of the books in Heat 1 have been available for 15 years. Some of the books in this heat have been available for a third of that time.

  21. I have read about half of the bracket but only one set of opposing pairs. This is not a bad thing as my TBR pile will grow 😉

    HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan
    The Painted Man (AKA The Warded Man), Peter V. Brett

  22. I remember reading all of the Niven/Pournelle collaborations, back in the day.

    Mote, IMO, was and is still the best for me.

  23. @Aaron: I hate to admit this, but I actually liked Inferno when I read it at age 13. From what little I remember of it (particularly the ending), I’m terrified to reread it.

    I’ve only read four of HEAT THREE but I’ve got just as many of these sitting around waiting to be read.

  24. 1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan
    The Painted Man (AKA The Warded Man), Peter V. Brett

    2. WILL MAGIC GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman
    The Brides of Rollrock Island (AKA Sea Hearts), Margo Lanagan
    You know, a friend didn’t think I would like this series, but I really enjoyed it. Even though I didn’t like the main character, I recognized the kind of person who opens wardrobe doors hoping to get to Narnia. Because I did that.

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
    Liar, Justine Larbalestier
    Finch, Jeff VanderMeer
    abstain

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding
    Another series I really enjoy, and the latest in the series is sitting on Mount TBR.

    5. WAR IS COMING
    The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
    Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky
    abstain

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    Haven, Joel Shepherd
    My book group read this, and it was a really wonderful meeting! I miss them!

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes
    Plain Kate, Erin Bow
    abstain

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
    Caine Black Knife, Matthew Woodring Stover
    sigh. abstain.

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin
    Sandman Slim, Richard Kadry
    another abstain–looks like I have reading to do!

    10. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRADING ECONOMICS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    A Shadow in Summer, Daniel Abraham
    abstain

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch
    Child of Fire, Harry Connolly
    Another great series–any idea of when/if the next is coming out?

    12. GET STEAMPUNK
    The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia
    Blood of Ambrose, James Enge

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff
    Shadowbridge, Gregory Frost

    14. ENOUGH ABOUT MEDIEVAL EUROPE ALREADY
    Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay
    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord
    abstain

    15. ANGELS AND DEMONS
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
    Miserere, Teresa Frohock
    abstain

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    Mechanique, Genevieve Valentine
    The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
    Another book group book that I really enjoyed–though, Ursula, I do see your point on the main characters.

  25. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Painted Man (AKA The Warded Man), Peter V. Brett

    2. WILL MAGIC GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
    Liar, Justine Larbalestier

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire

    5. WAR IS COMING
    The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
    Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky

    Abstain

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    No contest, since I love Mary Robinette Kowal’s series and bounced hard off Stover’s first Caine book years ago.

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin
    Sandman Slim, Richard Kadry

    Two urban fantasy novels and I’ve read neither. Abstain.

    10. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRADING ECONOMICS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    A Shadow in Summer, Daniel Abraham

    Abstain

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    12. GET STEAMPUNK
    The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia
    Blood of Ambrose, James Enge

    Abstain.

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff

    14. ENOUGH ABOUT MEDIEVAL EUROPE ALREADY
    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

    15. ANGELS AND DEMONS
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

  26. Hm, if it ends up being a low-voting round, I may throw in an actual ballot myself, rather than just a few votes for doomed favorites.

  27. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    2. WILL MAGIC GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    5. WAR IS COMING
    The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

  28. Culling my votes to a select few!

    1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan

    I quite liked this science-fiction novel! I’ve been told the sequels fall way off in quality so I haven’t tried them yet, but this is perhaps the finest science-fantasy treatment of PTSD that I know.

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Child of Fire, Harry Connolly

    My favorite authors only go up against the Big Ones, Kyra? Are you jealous because P.C. Hodgell loves me better?!

    Anyway, I hope to help Harry to a respectable finish.

    12. GET STEAMPUNK
    Damn, and now I realize I didn’t suggest Felix Gilman’s The Half-Made World or The Rise of Ransom City when it was germane. What a dope I am, especially as we are not doing write-ins so far.

  29. Best D&D story: a very low-level dungeon, someone acquires The Wand of Infinite Poultry (roll the dice, get 1 to 100 live chickens POOF). This comes in handy when running low on supplies; yes, the party gets tired of only eating fireball-roasted chicken, but it beats starving.

    They come upon the obligatory dragon, which the party combined does not have enough XP/HP to take. In desperation, the wand wielder shoves the wand up the dragon’s backside… and miraculously rolls a 99.

    The DM has no choice but to allow as how this does, in fact, kill the dragon, and loot, XP, HP, and leveling up abounds.

    —————————————————————–
    Brackets!

    1. Brett
    2. Langan
    3. abstain
    4. McGuire
    5. abstain
    6. abstain
    7. abstain
    8. Kowal!!!
    9. abstain
    10. abstain
    11. Aaronovich!!!
    12. abstain
    13. Huff (tho not her best)
    14. Lord!
    15. abstain
    16. Valentine

  30. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
    Liar, Justine Larbalestier

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    10. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRADING ECONOMICS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    14. ENOUGH ABOUT MEDIEVAL EUROPE ALREADY
    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

  31. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Painted Man (AKA The Warded Man), Peter V. Brett

    2. WILL MAGIC GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
    Pass

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
    Finch, Jeff VanderMeer

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding

    5. WAR IS COMING
    Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Pass

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    Pass

    10. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRADING ECONOMICS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Child of Fire, Harry Connolly

    12. GET STEAMPUNK
    Blood of Ambrose, James Enge

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    Shadowbridge, Gregory Frost

    14. ENOUGH ABOUT MEDIEVAL EUROPE ALREADY
    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

    15. ANGELS AND DEMONS
    Miserere, Teresa Frohock

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    Pass

  32. I definitely have read less from this bracket than from the first two. There are only seven matchups here where I’ve read both books.

    HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    2. The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    4. Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    5. Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky
    6. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

    8. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    11. Child of Fire, Harry Connolly

    13. The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff

  33. @RedWombat:

    It’s depressing when the lack of significant female characters in Hammer was a improvement, but there you are. And it scratched a serious survivalist itch I had at that age–

    So it talked a lot about seeds, right!

    I read Mote and liked it quite a lot. And the socialization of Kevin Renner was actually useful to me re growing up. I have actually said “That turns out not to be the case” many, many times.

    I started to read Oath of Fealty when it came out. Christ, what a snooze. The others just never appealed to me enough to even crack them open after that.

  34. @Silly “Starting with “The only reason I’m making a record about this is to tell you I’ve considered the case. I’ve considered it very closely…””

    Love the unspoken, “And don’t let me catch you coming around here again, Playmate!” at the end.

  35. @RedWombat, We’ve butted heads a few times. Hard. I believe firmly that if you keep interacting with someone and one of you is an asshole, it behooves you to check up with others and make sure it’s not you. I suspect, having checked in with multiple people 40+ years in fandom, that it probably wasn’t me. (Of course, I’d want to think that, wouldn’t I?)

    At the 1982 Worldcon, I worked Green Room. I was very young; not even drinking age. Pournelle backed me into a corner, literally, and yelled at me for what seemed like ages (it was probably actually about ten minutes) about how he was a big name pro and nobody was respecting him or treating him right. They had the effrontery to MAKE HIM CHECK HIS BAG IN THE ART SHOW LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. (Later, I heard that the only department at that Worldcon that he didn’t complain about was the Green Room; possibly because he had teenaged me so terrified I didn’t dare talk back….)

    I’d previously really liked his work with Niven; I was prepared to go all fangirl on him. I never again, after that experience, bought a Pournelle book new; just used. (I did keep buying his books. I just didn’t want him to get royalties.) So there’s another data point for you.

  36. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE
    Erm, well, it has been a busy few years since the end of the decade…..

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
    Liar, Justine Larbalestier

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff

  37. @Rick K:

    His fiction I can take or leave but I absolutely loved Pournelle’s Chaos Manor column in Byte during its heyday mumbley-mumble years ago. It was a good look at how an intelligent non-geek dealt with the tech of the time. I don’t know if he coined or popularized “Real Soon Now” but either way it was a significant contribution to the corpus of human expression.

    I found his Chaos Manor columns largely execrable and smug, composed of name-dropping the powerful IT industry heavyweights who magically appeared to help him out with his every computer problem, alternating with authoritatively-voiced yet clueless pronouncements about technology issues of the day. He may have been a voice of the Everyman early on, but his life-experiences rapidly diverged from those of his readers; and at some point he seemed to decide that, since he had a column in Byte, why then he must, obviously, be an expert computer pundit!

    On the other hand, his columns were eminently mockable templates for easy parody, so there was value there, at least.

  38. I’ve read about half of HEAT THREE, but unfortunately not many pairs. Mostly abstentions this time around.

    10. A Shadow in Summer, Daniel Abraham

    11. Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch

    (I haven’t read their opponents, but I think both Rosemary and Rue and Shades of Milk and Honey suffer from being both first novels and first in their series. I’d rather see them both replaced by later volumes, but I’m not sure which.)

  39. 1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan
    The Painted Man (AKA The Warded Man), Peter V. Brett

    Abstain; read neither

    2. WILL MAGIC GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman
    The Brides of Rollrock Island (AKA Sea Hearts), Margo Lanagan

    Abstain; read neither

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
    Liar, Justine Larbalestier
    Finch, Jeff VanderMeer

    Abstain; read neither

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding

    Love the McGuire; never read Wooding <sigh> Abstain.

    5. WAR IS COMING
    The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
    Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky

    Never read Tchaikovsky. Never heard of Tchaikovsky, other than as a composer. I’m guessing it’s not the same person <grin> Abstain.

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    Haven, Joel Shepherd

    Loved the Jemison; never read Shepherd. Abstain.

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes
    Plain Kate, Erin Bow

    Abstain; read neither. C’mon, I must’ve read SOMETHING this decade…

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
    Caine Black Knife, Matthew Woodring Stover

    Loved the Kowal; don’t know Stover. Abstain. Again.

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin
    Sandman Slim, Richard Kadry

    Abstain; read neither

    10. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRADING ECONOMICS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    A Shadow in Summer, Daniel Abraham

    Love Wells, don’t know Abraham. Abstain, damnit.

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch
    Child of Fire, Harry Connolly

    Abstain; read neither

    12. GET STEAMPUNK
    The Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia
    Blood of Ambrose, James Enge

    Abstain; read neither

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff
    Shadowbridge, Gregory Frost

    Loved Huff; never read Frost. Abstain.

    14. ENOUGH ABOUT MEDIEVAL EUROPE ALREADY
    Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay
    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

    HAH! A category I can VOTE in! <throwing confetti>

    15. ANGELS AND DEMONS
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
    Miserere, Teresa Frohock

    And, <sigh> we’re back to abstain; read neither

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    Mechanique, Genevieve Valentine
    The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

    Abstain; read neither.

    One category where I’ve read both works. ONE. Hell, one category where I’ve read *something* by both authors. Ok, folks, which of these do I have to read right now?

  40. 1. Pass

    2. The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    3. Pass

    4. Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire

    5. The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

    6. Pass

    7. Pass

    8. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    9. The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin

    10. The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    11. Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    The next Peter Grant novel will be The Hanging Tree, expected June 2016. However, I believe there is an interim graphic novel series, Body Work.

    12. Pass

    13. Pass

    14. Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay

    15. Pass

    16. Pass

  41. As an attorney with 9 years experience litigating copyright, trademark, and patent disputes, that article was borderline incoherent. In short, it is a GODAWFUL application of the law to the facts.

  42. @Laertes – I’ve *never* played Traveller, but I have made characters and designed ships for it. There was an old Star Trek RPG that was similar, you went through all four years of Sarfleet Academy, picking your major & electives and rolling for skills. I can’t remember whether it was possible to die before the end of char creation as in Traveller. Good stuff!

    1. The stuffy “good guys” were called House Davion or similar, and had some sunburst-type logo.

    -Yep
    2. The “bad guys” had some kind of black-and-red snake logo.

    -Probably house Kurita. This was back when people thought that the Japanese were going to buy the entire U.S. economy.

    3. There was some guy named Kerensky? Or was it a woman? I forget.

    -Guy. Arthur Pendragon-like figure who was the last loyal general of the old Star League, who took his troops and left instead of joining the civil war(s)

    4. There was some outfit called the Eridani Light Horse.

    – There was also a mercenary unit based on the heroes of Buckaroo Banzai! They were a lot of fun in the novels.

  43. HEAT THREE – THE DANCERS AT THE END OF THE DECADE

    1. WE ARE AT THEIR MERCY
    Pass

    2. WILL MAGIC GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT?
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    3. NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS

    Pass

    4. SUCCEED OR DIE
    Retribution Falls, Chris Wooding

    5. WAR IS COMING
    Empire in Black and Gold, Adrian Tchaikovsky

    6. ACHIEVING YOUR POTENTIAL
    Pass

    7. IT’S A ROUGH LIFE
    Pass

    8. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    9. I’M BAAAAACK
    Sandman Slim, Richard Kadry

    10. LET’S TALK ABOUT TRADING ECONOMICS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    This. This times a thousand.

    11. MURDER MOST MAGICAL
    Child of Fire, Harry Connolly

    12. GET STEAMPUNK
    Pass

    13. INHERITING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
    Pass

    14. ENOUGH ABOUT MEDIEVAL EUROPE ALREADY
    Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord

    15. ANGELS AND DEMONS
    Pass

    16. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN
    Mechanique, Genevieve Valentine

  44. AAARGH! There is literally no bracket in this heat where I’ve read both. None. The books I liked shall have to win without me.

  45. Way too much stuff I haven’t read this round, plus one where the choice is between two books I liked, one by a friend, the other by a colleague. Sorry, Harry…

    2. The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    8. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    11. Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    13. Shadowbridge, Gregory Frost

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