Pixel Scroll 11/13 Life During Scrolltime

(1) James H. Burns shares his personal vision of a recent TV debut:

There is much that is wonderful, and also much that is silly, about the new Supergirl TV series.But Melissa Benoist, and so many of the cast, are simply so winning, it just more often than not, is utterly charming, For someone raised with the whole Superman mythos, particularly the Kryptonian elements introduced by DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger, there was actually something quite moving about many of the moments in the first Supergirl episode. (We all, after all, ultimately have our lost Kryptons…) But one surprise, and a small spoiler for those who have not yet seen the CBS series’ debut episode. Towards the finale, Kata receives a present from her cousin, Superman…  In my mind’s eye, remarkably, I did not see any of the recent Kal-Els, but George Reeves, preparing the small package. Reeves, of course, was television’s Superman of the 1950s, and forever, really… And it’s fascinating to think how these two characters have finally been reunited, across the decades.

(2) Lenika Cruz’ article in The Atlantic about the World Fantasy Award, “’Political Correctness’ Won’t Ruin H.P. Lovecraft’s Legacy”, argues that the changing the award trophy signals that the genre is able to be inclusive to writers of color.

Starting next year, the World Fantasy Award trophy will no longer be modeled after the massively influential horror-fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft.

The convention organizers didn’t offer a reason for the change, nor did they name a replacement, but the decision is notable nonetheless. Lovecraft’s rise to fame happened largely after his death, but as he received more attention, so too did his racist and xenophobic beliefs. His disassociation from the WFC after 40 years feels in line with a growing inclusiveness in the science-fiction and fantasy community of women and people of color. The author Daniel José Older, who started a petition last year to replace Lovecraft with Octavia Butler, praised the decision. “Writers of color have always had to struggle with the question of how to love a genre that seems so intent on proving it doesn’t love us back,” he said. “We raised our voices collectively, en masse, and the World Fantasy folks heard us.”

Not everyone agreed with this sentiment. In a letter to the co-chair of the WFC board, the Lovecraft biographer and author S.T. Joshi called the decision “a craven yielding to the worst sort of political correctness.”

(3) At Black Gate, Jackson Kuhl puts Lovecraft in his idea of the proper context, in “S. T. Joshi Is Mad As Hell”.

Debate over Lovecraft’s racism — and let’s face it, he was a racist, and even if it blunted in his later years, he was never going to join the ACLU — generally falls into two camps: that he and his views were products of his times; or that his beliefs were particularly venomous even for the era. As usual with truth, I think it’s somewhere in the middle. Lovecraft was a naive shut-in, his head a Gordian knot of neuroses. No one will argue that Lovecraft was a well-adjusted individual; from sex to seafood, a psychiatrist would have worn out an IKEA’s worth of sofas itemizing a complete list of the man’s phobias. I contend those same anxieties are precisely what make Lovecraft’s writing so much fun. If his racism was more vile than that of his neighbors and contemporaries, then it originated in that same pool of existential paranoia from which only madmen sip. It was part and parcel with his oversensitivity to smells, his finicky eating habits, and all the rest. H.P. Lovecraft may have been a genius. He was also crazy.

Having said that, I often worry that scolding Lovecraft too harshly is to rub Vaseline on the lens through which we view early 20th-century America. For this country, those first three decades were a period of peak racism in a Himalayan history. The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, by which SCOTUS granted the South carte blanche to do their worst, was the tamping of the soil upon Reconstruction’s grave; and 1915 saw the rebirth of the Klan, though this time with a more anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant bent, attracting millions of members in the 1920s. The nativism of the 19th century — which shows no signs of abating in 2015 — came to full bloom, with passage of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act (which was intended in large part to circumscribe Irish, Italian, and other immigrants) being its greatest successes. Somebody at this year’s NecronomiCon described Lovecraft as the last of the Victorian gentleman scientists, a man who had the leisure time to read journals and magazines about science and new discoveries and contemplate their repercussions. Alas, this was also a high time of pseudoscience, of theories about genetic memory and phrenology and racial traits; they are recurring topics in letters between Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, both of whom read widely on the subjects and included them in their stories. To say Lovecraft lived in racist times and channeled them through his writing is not to apologize for him so much as it is to confront our not-very-distant past.

(4) Lee Martindale, SFWA Director-at-Large, should have been credited for assembling the SFWA Accessibility Guidelines in yesterday’s post here at File 770. Today the SFWA Blog ran Martindale’s history of the guidelines, “Back Story: The Accessibility Guidelines Checklist”.

When I was elected to SFWA’s Board of Directors in 2010, I brought with me the desire to see the organization move toward greater accessibility at SFWA-sponsored events, particularly the Nebula Awards weekend. That desire stemmed from my own experiences at SF conventions, particularly the Nebula Weekends I’d attended. But it was largely prompted by how ashamed I was of SFWA that, at the Nebula Weekend at which she was named Grand Master, the only way Anne McCaffrey could get to spaces in which she was being celebrated involved going through a very busy kitchen and up a service elevator.

I’m proud to have been involved in the work that resulted in SFWA’s Accessibility Guidelines Checklist and a member of the Board of Directors that approved it, in January 2014, for use at SFWA-sponsored events. And I’m delighted that SFWA is sharing it at http://www.sfwa.org/accessibility-checklist-for-sfwa-spaces/

(5) British Fantasy Award winner Juliet McKenna has a guest post on Sean Williams’ blog.

I see variations on the writing process as a spectrum, with Outline Writers at one end and Discovery Writers* at the other. I’m definitely way over there at the Outline end. I’ll know the beginning, the middle and the end of a story before I begin to write it, and a whole lot more besides. I’ll have notebooks full of background on people and places and all sorts of aspects of the world that I’m writing about. (I’ve learned a wonderful acronym for these vital scene-setting elements from a panel at Fantasycon 2015, thanks to Karina Coldrick. PESTLE: Political. Economic. Social. Technological. Legal. Environmental. Isn’t that great?)

(6) Today’s Birthday Boy and Girl

  • Born November 13, 1850Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Born November 13, 1955 – Whoopi Goldberg. From the Wikipedia: “According to an anecdote told by Nichelle Nichols in the documentary film Trekkies (1997), a young Goldberg was watching Star Trek, and upon seeing Nichols’ character Uhura, exclaimed, ‘Momma! There’s a black lady on TV and she ain’t no maid!’ This spawned lifelong fandom of Star Trek for Goldberg, who would eventually ask for and receive a recurring guest-starring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation (as Ten Forward’s Guinan.)”

(7) Brandon Kempner originally stated that Chaos Horizon’s mission is “predicting the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel by using statistical and data mining techniques.” How does he square that with his unsupported comment about Ann Leckie’s work in “Final 2015 SFF Awards Meta-List”?

So how did 2015 turn out? There wasn’t a single dominant book, as was the case with Ancillary Justice in 2014 (7 nominations, 4 wins, with 2 additional nominations and wins in “First Novel” categories). This year, Cixin Liu did the best with 5 nominations, but he managed only 1 win. I suspect that if The Three-Body Problem came out earlier in the year (it was published in November), it would have done a little better. Leckie won twice for Ancillary Sword, and she was the only author to win two awards. Those wins, depending on how cynical you are, could be chalked up to last year’s success of Ancillary Justice.

(8) Morgan Holmes, in “Primary Research” at Castalia House blog, starts with a good anecdote about L. Sprague De Camp, but the best part is about researching Donald Wandrei.

Second story: I was going through the listing of the Donald Wandrei items in possession of the Minnesota Historical Society. Donald Wandrei was a member of the Lovecraft circle and pulp magazine writer. One could describe a good portion of his fiction as a logical continuation of H. G. Wells’ short stories though with a Lovecraftian cosmic inclination to them. Wandrei also wrote a number of detective stories that read like Lovecraft writing for Black Mask magazine.

Going through a list of letters, one popped up that grabbed my attention. A letter from Robert E. Howard to Donald Wandrei. No one knew of this before I found it. Another case of primary research.

This past week, I remembered looking into a Wandrei story in Robert H. Barlow’s small press zine Leaves. I remember reading that Wandrei has fiction in the first issue. I found a table of contents of Leaves, Summer 1937 and “A Legend of Yesterday” did not register with me.

I contacted Dwayne Olson who is the Donald Wandrei expert on this to see if this story had been reprinted under a different name. Dwayne got back to me and this story had gotten past him for the Fedogan & Bremer collections. He did not know the story existed. So, we have another case of depending on work done before.

Take home point: Thoroughly research your subject. Go back to primary sources. Don’t depend that someone before has done the ground work.

(9) At Amazing Stories, MD Jackson discusses the “Science Fiction and Fantasy Spoken Word Recordings” from Caedmon Records.

This was back in the days of the vinyl record, of course and it was always a special, almost magical thing to have and to listen to one of these recordings. To hear the author of a famous work reading selected passages aloud was thrilling. Most particularly if it was J.R.R. Tolkien.

J.R.R. Tolkien Reads and Sings his The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring was a record released by Caedmon in 1975. It was taken from a reel to reel recording made in Tolkien’s study in 1952. One side was a recording of Tolkien reading the chapter Riddles in the Dark from The Hobbit. The other side featured poems and songs from The Fellowship of the Ring.

I had the recording as a teen and it was absolutely marvelous to hear the words from The Hobbit read by the author himself. His “Gollum” voice was hysterical and the songs –yes, songs – Tolkien actually sings some of his poetry to old tunes. He even reads some Elvish poetry!

The recordings can be found today fairly easily on Youtube if one is so inclined to look.

[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus, Dana Sterling, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

175 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/13 Life During Scrolltime

  1. Chaos Horizon has previously noted that the Hugo nomination process behaves as if a book’s chances of being nominated get a significant boost if previous books by that author have also been nominated. It’s as if being nominated once gets an author noticed and people are more likely to remember to nominate them in later years. I expect that the speculation about Ancillary Sword’s awards is simply following that line of thought.

  2. @Greg: You’re right that “When We Were Giants” is more of a literary story with a magic-realist element than a fantasy story, and I thought that it was a good one of that sort. The narrator does change during the story, learning while watching the rivalry between the two dominant girls in their group, Abbey and Samantha. They’re both doing the same balancing act, trying to do their own thing while being acceptable to the teachers, but Samantha fits poorly in the role, she’s always too much — when she gets noticed by teachers for good behavior, she’s too good and the other girls resent her; when she’s a giant, she changes sooner than the others, steps on another girl and breaks her leg. Abbey is much more successful as a leader to the other girls. Samantha leads out of bounds (the first one to go into the woods, even though only because Abbey was chasing her; the one to propose everyone exploring independently) and Abbey leads back into bounds, mostly. “Which one of us do you resent for making you do what you don’t want to?” At the end of the story the narrator has a sense of loss when she realizes that it may not be possible to be a giant and socially acceptable. Samantha is too much, too giant, and too lonely. It’s not that original, but wonderfully done. So yeah, I like it, but if you don’t, I’d understand.

  3. Cat: In this case Chaos Horizon, like very many Hugo handicappers, predicts that if there was an egg there last year, there will be another egg this year, never addressing whether there is a chicken involved in the process — the chicken being the voter constituencies that like the storytelling they’re voting for.

  4. @Vasha: I liked “Wearing the Hat” — nice sense of tension. But “Giants” left me meh as well. Something puberty metaphor in-group/out-group something.

    @Greg: Also mention of dwarves and gnomes, and flying cars.

  5. Re “Wearing the Hat”, there’s also gnomes, and apparently it’s part of a series of fantasy stories and novels. I liked the narrator’s understated badassery that let her win a gunfight in spite of having trouble shooting straight, and her pragmatic attitude toward the local situation; she’s not going to let Reed push her around just because he’s on “her side”, in fact she’s going to avoid choosing sides if she can and just get by.

  6. @Vasha and everyone else who links shorter works, I really appreciate this particular variety of sharing. I’m so inundated with short fiction that much of it goes unread unless someone else recommends a particular story, but I think I’ve read everything linked here in the last whatever months and liked almost all of it.

  7. You know, you’d almost think that writing a book which gets nominated for one or more major awards might be a sign of an author who is capable of writing books which can get nominated for one or more major awards. But of course, that’s obvious nonsense! It must all just have to do with the gullibility of the nominators, or something. 😀

    eta: Ooh, I remember Days of Atonement! That’s the book that convinced me that WJW must be a really good author, because it was totally not the kind of book I usually like, but I really liked it anyway.

  8. Soon Lee

    Thank you for the tip; it’s 99p on Amazon UK, and I’ve grabbed it!

    Not sure it will manage the time travel but then who does?

  9. Just back from a gig in Glasgow tonight where the band, Dutch symphonic metallers Epica, had an impromptu minutes silence. Which I found quite poignant given the targeting of the Eagles of Death Metal gig in Paris.

  10. I want to echo the thanks for everybody who recommends works they like, especially short works. My TBR queue is overwhelming; my podcast queue likewise (and recently, for life-related reasons, I’ve been pretty much mainlining dharma talks and not listening to fiction). Aside from my list of read-anything-they-write authors, individual recommendations are basically what it takes these days to get me to see something. (And even with the read-everything-they-write folks, I greatly appreciate notice that they’ve got something new available.)

  11. Chaos Horizon: Why does File 770, which presents far more controversial news round-up material than mine without comment, feel it necessary to attack Chaos Horizon?

    I think you’re a bit hypersensitive to call legitimate criticism an “attack”. I actually appreciate that you collect the statistics on books. I’m subscribed to your blog and make a point of reading the posts.

    But you often make wild-ass leaps to conclusions without labelling them as such — you present them as being logical extrapolations from the data, which they’re not. If you choose not to make the distinction between the first and the second in your editorializing, you probably shouldn’t be surprised if you receive criticism for it.

  12. Or if it had to be non-abstract, a sword in a stone: one that only the rightful winner of the award could pull out and use as a letter opener (we should have the technology for this in the not so distant future).

    Like the Thor’s Hammer prank?

  13. The discussion of Ancillary Justice has been left behind in some other thread. But I’m reading Ancillary Mercy today and it’s really helping me get through a dark and depressing day. Breq’s compassion, her commitment to individual and collective dignity and self-determination— for humans and AIs, Radchai and non-Radchai—is what I needed today. There’s something very powerful about finding a genuinely heroic fictitious heroine when the real world is grim.

  14. I don’t know about anyone else, but assertions of reasons unrelated to quality for people nominating Ancillary books have got a bit annoying over the last few months, so that might be a reason for That Comment In Particular getting remarked upon. There’s an awful lot of straw on that camel’s back.

    Especially since plenty of other series don’t get repeat nominations. Temeraire, for example. It isn’t a free ride once you get the first one.

  15. Meredith: Especially since plenty of other series don’t get repeat nominations. Temeraire, for example. It isn’t a free ride once you get the first one.

    … Corey’s Expanse series, Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, Sawyer’s www: series, Priest’s Clockwork Century Universe, Doctorow’s Little Brother series, Wilson’s Spin series. And those examples are just from the last 10 years.

  16. Write something on the Internet and people might link and comment on it. It’s a part of life. Criticism is not the same thing as being attacked.

    If you don’t support your thesis or if your thesis appears weak people are going to comment on it. Some will comment on your blog, others will write a full response on their own blog, others may link to part of it, and others may comment on someone else’s response.

    The only way to avoid this is to not write stuff online or to be so obscure no one knows you. Most of us don’t like obscurity. We obsess over how many hits our website gets/how many followers/friends we have.

  17. Weighing in on the World Fantasy/Lovecraft thing:

    I’m Jewish (ethnically, if not religiously) and a very amateur songwriter. If I were ever to win some sort of “Wagner Award” for my music…

    Well, I can see the point of changing the trophy.

    Also, I’m not really a huge fan of Lovecraft; I like his stories, but his prose can be pretentious and repetitive, to the point where after a few stories, I was going “Okay, I get it. The Big Evil Thing is indescribable. It cannot be described. You can stop beating me over the head with it now.”

  18. @JJ

    Thanks! I was hoping someone would have a better memory for it than me. (The last few days have been a bit challenging for fatigue, and my memory is kinda shot right now.)

    To be honest, had I been nominating in the relevant years I wouldn’t have nominated Justice or Sword (I liked them, they’re very good, and I wouldn’t put either of them under No Award, but neither of them quite pulled the whole thing off for me), but I’ll be pretty surprised if Mercy isn’t one of my five when it comes to it. The little niggles I had for the first two have evaporated and the result is a very lovely and clever thing.

    My own subjective opinions don’t mean people were nominating Sword out of habit, though. It just means it hit the spot for them better than it did for me.

  19. Meredith: To be honest, had I been nominating in the relevant years I wouldn’t have nominated Justice or Sword (I liked them, they’re very good, and I wouldn’t put either of them under No Award, but neither of them quite pulled the whole thing off for me), but I’ll be pretty surprised if Mercy isn’t one of my five when it comes to it. The little niggles I had for the first two have evaporated and the result is a very lovely and clever thing.

    I found Justice to be one of few new novels that really made me feel that enthused — it happens, but only with maybe 1 to 3 titles a year. I thought that Sword, far from suffering from Middle-Book Syndrome, actually went new and different places, and was perhaps even a little better (and I’ve seen several other people make similar comments). I’m just starting Mercy, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    But then, having a good mystery in my science fiction is one of my “sweet spots”. And I think that Leckie does the mystery part of it as well as the science fiction part. Countdown City and Lock-In got a few points knocked off for me because the solution to their mystery was so mundane.

  20. It doesn’t have to be that people nominated “Ancillary Sword” “out of habit.” It’s enough that people who enjoyed “Ancillary Justice” eagerly bought “Ancillary Sword,” and that inflated the number of people voting for it.

    Any author who enjoyed a big success in one year is likely to have an expanded fan base in following years. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

  21. The Lovecraft issue makes my brain go in two directions at once. On the one hand, he was a highly influential writer. The reprints of his works in the seventies caught me in my morbid, teenage years, so I loved them. Also, he led me to Dunsany and Howard, for which I am grateful.
    On the other hand, he detested people for their race. Nope, sorry, only one hand. New statue, please.
    I’ll still read him, since blameless writers are so hard to find, but he shouldn’t represent the genre. How about a mossy, stone wall with a gate in it, and that gate slightly open? Anybody walking past such an invitation would imagine fantastic things on the other side.

  22. For the record (although I think I’ve said this before), when I read Ancillary Justice I kept looking up and remarking to nobody but the cats “omigod, this is so good!” Yes, part of that was the way the pronoun use kept making me reexamine my assumptions about various characters. Way more was about everything else (did anyone else imagine the glass bridge as being like something out of Dale Chihuly’s dreams?).

  23. @Greg Hullender,

    Yes, a sequel following a great book has an advantage because it has a ready-made receptive audience. But it only works if the sequel is good enough to be nomination-worthy.

  24. @Cora: Thanks for the link! But (quite apart from the fact that I’m kind of allergic to first-person-present-tense) I’m not seeing much in that story. It’s good that the role of the monster remains ambiguous, in spite of the protagonist’s attempts to understand and tame it; any straightforward symbolism would be trite. But the story doesn’t entirely escape triteness even so, the bit about a person being inextricably entwined with their monster is an old one. And it lacks the precision of writing that such a delicate little story needs.

    What in particular did you like about it? By the way, sharing stories is appropriate at any time I think!

  25. did anyone else imagine the glass bridge as being like something out of Dale Chihuly’s dreams?

    I don’t know if Chihuly was where my mind was going, although it’s certainly an influence on what my mental image is of those – I want to see them! (It’s 5847, we should have those.)

  26. @Lexica: “did anyone else imagine the glass bridge as being like something out of Dale Chihuly’s dreams?”

    Well, now I do! 😀 Thanks – I love his work, but hadn’t thought of that.

  27. I’ve been listening to old Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap episodes, and they’re quite informative. Did you know that wombats make square, nay, cubical, poo? I sure didn’t, until I listened to KUEC #22! Thank you, RW, for this useful piece of information!

  28. @Vasha: That’s what I thought, too. Trite, ho-hum, meh. The first person didn’t help, but I mentally rewrote it into third person and it didn’t matter. Meh.

  29. I’m kind of allergic to first-person-present-tense

    I am not sure what you will think of Jemisin’s latest The Fifth Season then. One of the characters is told in second person, present tense. I am just so glad the whole thing isn’t that!

  30. @Mike Glyer:

    In this case Chaos Horizon, like very many Hugo handicappers, predicts that if there was an egg there last year, there will be another egg this year, never addressing whether there is a chicken involved in the process — the chicken being the voter constituencies that like the storytelling they’re voting for.

    Chaos Horizon does indeed model the nomination process mostly as an impenetrable black box, working principally from the output, and makes no bones about it.
    We’ll see whether there is attention paid to the chicken when the Puppies participation is significantly reduced, I think. At that point Brandon is going to have to decide whether his model will treat Puppy noms just like honest noms in terms of predicting their effect on future nominations. I’m guessing he will, at the very least, split them out so as to be *able* to treat them separately if subsequent nomination results indicate that would improve the model. (This guess is because I, in my biased frailty, assume that a Puppy nom will actually be an impediment in most categories, and thus a model that distinguishes between Puppy and nonPuppy nominations will give more accurate results.)

  31. @Meredith: I could totally see why someone would not nominate Ancillary Justice or Ancillary Sword. Each of them ends weakly. I forgave both books for that because, weirdly, I’m pretty forgiving about endings in adventure fiction because creators seem to routinely screw them up. Had I been the sort of person who nominates books for the Hugos and read Justice contemporaneously, I’d have nominated it myself because it made me excited about science fiction for the first time in a couple decades. (There’s an obvious paradox there, however.) But those books are not without flaws and everyone’s going to have a different line.

  32. Pingback: Amazing Stories | AMAZING NEWS From Fandom: 11/15/15 - Amazing Stories

  33. I haven’t read The Fifth Season yet, but most uses I’ve seen of the second person (present tense or not) have seemed awkward to me, with the notable exception of Charlie Stross’s Halting State and Rule 34.

    Second-person tends to sound like one of those old adventure games. “You are at a crossroads, with paths leading north, south, east, and west. There is a shovel here.” I think Stross wanted to evoke this, since the first novel is about a huge theft in an massively-multiplayer on-line game, but he also wanted to do it without sounding too stilted. Which was hard, but I think he pulled it off. He starts with the text of a recruiting letter, addressed to “you”, to ease you in. Then, once the story starts, there’s two paragraphs describing the general situation and the actions of other people before he gets to “Which jangled Inspector McGregor’s bell and completely ruined your slow Thursday afternoon.”

    I think Stross made it work (your mileage may vary, of course) by not calling attention to it, so it didn’t feel quite so much like a writer’s gimmick, but rather like a mild affectation. It was odd, but it didn’t jump up in your face and say, “look, I’m so odd, isn’t that cool?” And, of course, the second book actually gives a pretty good justification for the whole thing, which helps as well.

  34. @Jim Henley: I felt the first two Radch books ended strongly. I was worried that Mercy would follow Sword’s “the action’s all at the end,” which is fine but can make a finale seem rushed (especially in Sword IMHO, which was, while not slow, not exactly fast-paced). I needn’t have worried, though!



  35. Aaaaand I did not check the freaking box!

    ObActualComment: I like First Person fine, but I really, really dislike present tense intensely. It’s usually a turn-off for me, though I’ve read a book or two (and attended a reading) where I liked it. At the reading, the author and I (when I mentioned I normally didn’t like present tense) both realized that maybe I liked it in the context of a reading where I might not like it on page, but I told her I was pretty sure I’d like her book in print! 😉

  36. I just want to make it clear I am not suggesting either of them should not have been nominated, or that anyone should have nominated something else! If they excited you that’s the thing that matters, and generally I agree with or understand the reasons people have given for being excited; they just didn’t quite do that for me. But Mercy did excite me and I’m very happy about it. 🙂

  37. Present tense works for me better in a certain kind of first person viewpoint* than in any third or more distant one. It’s the natural state of the one that acts as if the narrator has a device recording their thoughts as they happen. Or for some reason writing or narrating them into a recorder.

    It’s a rare and harder one to justify using, and can fall into the category of stunt writing. Stunt writing as a whole tends to lend itself better to short fiction; it’s a brave person who does it in novel length. (Not nearly so much as future tense, which Elizabeth Bear uses beautifully in the title story of The Chains that You Refuse — with bonus second person! — and which, er, I’ve used, though not in second person.)

    *I’ve asserted elsewhere and at length that there are several first person PoV styles, not one as most people assume.

  38. Very nice selkie story, Lenora Rose. Prophecy is a very difficult thing to work into a story; if the way that people react to hearing the future makes no difference, even to them, it can come off as just a cheap device for announcing divine approval or disapproval. I like the self-fulfilling prophecy in Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas” — the Elector of Saxony is told there’s word about his future written on a certain bit of paper that Kohlhaas has (we readers never find out what it actually says), so he’s desperate to read it, and his efforts to obtain it prove his downfall. At the end of the story Michael Kohlhaas is about to be executed, when…

    taking a cursory glance at the circle of people, he perceived at a short distance from himself, between two knights, who nearly concealed him, the well-known man with the blue and white plumes. Kohlhaas, bringing himself close to him by a sudden step, which astonished the surrounding guard, took the case from his breast. Taking the paper out, he opened it, read it, and fixing his eye on the man with the plume, who began to entertain hopes, put it into his mouth and swallowed it. At this sight, the man with the blue and white feathers fell down in convulsions. Kohlhaas, while the man’s astonished attendants stooped down and raised him from the ground, turned to the scaffold, where his head fell beneath the axe of the executioner.

    Could you provide a link to your discussion of POV?

  39. @Lenora Rose:

    That big novel I’ve been editing does some weird things with narrative voice and tense. It’s shifting first-person, mainly past tense, but there are a few present-tense passages. It’s not accidental, though; the present-tense sections are dream sequences. I found the shift to be subtle enough to add a feeling that something’s not quite right without jumping out at me the way italics would have, so I left it alone. When I asked the author, J.B. said dreams always felt “more immediate” – and I can’t really argue.


    Excalibur (1981)
    Beauty and the Beast (1946)

    Yellow Submarine (1968)
    The Dark Crystal (1982)

    The Princess Bride (1987)
    Groundhog Day (1993)

    The Last Unicorn (1982)
    Stardust (2007)

    My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
    Kikis Delivery Service (1989)

    Ladyhawke (1985)
    All of Me (1984)

    The Purple Rose of Kairo (1985)
    Being John Malkovich (1999)

    (arrange in order of support)
    The Crow (1994)
    Time Bandits (1981)
    Frozen (2013)


    Which one would make the better fantasyfilm?
    Special rules: Vote even if haven’t read both contestants. Winner with fewer votes than two will be removed from bracket.

    War for the Oaks, Emma Bull
    Nightrunner, Lynn Flewelling

    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny

    The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
    Dealing with Dragons, Patricia Wrede

    The Thirteenth Child, Patricia Wrede
    The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley


    Beauty and the Beast (1946)

    The Dark Crystal (1982)

    The Princess Bride (1987)

    Stardust (2007)


    Ladyhawke (1985)

    how did All of Me make the original list when Frozen had to be added in for IRV?


    (arrange in order of support)

    1 Frozen
    2 The Crow

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