91 thoughts on “Your Scratch Pad 9/8

  1. @IanP — I haven’t reread Heavy Time in a while, but I’ve reread a fair amount of Cherryh in the past few years and have yet to be disappointed.

    (Except in the relatively small amount of her back catalog that’s made it to Kindle.)

  2. Christian Brunschen on September 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm said:

    @Daniel Dern, I’m glad there’s someone who can decipher this somewhat cryptic humour ?

    I don’t consider it, ahem, cryptic… to much of the crowd I hang with.

    That said, this joke falls into the category of what I call domain-specific jokes (where “domain” seems to have acquired the additional meaning of “area of expertise or knowledge” )

    E.g., this one (best told sometime between Passover and Shavuot):

    A rabbi asks their spouse, “What’s for dinner?”
    Spouse: “Last night we had fish.”

    For the right audience, they’ll crack up. For most people, a blank stare.

    As opposed to, say, the Prisoners Telling Numbered Jokes jokes/routine, which doesn’t, I think, require any specialized knowledge.

  3. Camestros Felapton on September 8, 2016 at 2:10 pm said:

    Mark: @Kathodus/Camestros Ninefox Gambit (9fG?) is definitely a tricky book to dive into – I had to get my brain calibrated correctly and that took several chapters – but as you say very rewarding in the end.

    I believe my formation instinct was possibly damaged by calendrical rot initially and hence confused by heretical exotics then I got into the book.

    LOL Camestros. Brain calibration required early on and after reading but well worth it. Probably going to reread around Hugo nominating time to figure out if it’s still one of the best 2016.

    @Lee Whiteside For another good alternate history/steampunk/fantasy take set in the African Congo at the turn of last century, check out Nisi Shawl’s Everfair, out this week.

    I’m enjoying this. I was concerned about triggers but Shawl’s handling difficult subjects with sensitivity. This is currently looking to be added as one of best 2016 books.

    This year I’m feeling spoiled for choices competing for the top 5 best novels 2016. I need to get back to reading my magazines and anthologies. I think this year is going to be harder to decide on nominations. So much good stuff.

  4. @CamestrosFelapton

    I believe my formation instinct was possibly damaged by calendrical rot initially and hence confused by heretical exotics then I got into the book.

    That’s encouraging.

    I’m digging what feels like a Black Company vibe at least in the beginning.

  5. (grumbling) Fine. Fine! I will add a bunch of new books to Mt. TBR. But that’s it. No more until I at least catch up with all the short fiction. You people and your incessant enthusiasm for books (wonderful, wonderful books).

    Also, although I’m quite sure this link will have an error in it no matter how many times I proof it, Read for Pixels 2016 is raising funds to stop violence against women and if you act fast, there are some interesting book rewards: Yes, that looks fine to me, but I know how this story turns out. Indiegogo, Read for Pixels.

    ETA: Well, at least this time it’s different in that the link didn’t show up at all. Even though I did everything the way it’s supposed to be done. Fine, I’m going back into my cavern to read all my new books.

  6. @Daniel Dern, I’m glad there’s someone who can decipher this somewhat cryptic humour ?

    I don’t consider it, ahem, cryptic… to much of the crowd I hang with.

    He’s being domain-specific there. In a humorous fashion.

    ps: I just have to see something here.

    Find out how far down I can go.

    Into the rabbit hole.

    Okay, this is just weird. I’m done.

    Am I out?

  7. Daniel Dern said
    “As opposed to, say, the Prisoners Telling Numbered Jokes jokes/routine, which doesn’t, I think, require any specialized knowledge.”

    Number six

    Damn, I love this place, welcome home Mike

  8. (Some of my favourite jokes can only be understood by a very limited audience – and among those the ones who appreciate them is … well, let’s just say, it is a very proper subset!)

    Can you hear my groan from here?

  9. I am late to the Walrus party, but I have finished There Will Be Walrus: First Volume V and found it delightfully whelming.

  10. I’m not the world’s biggest Alastair Reynolds fan, but Revenger sounds interesting.

    As for Breath of Earth by Beth Cato, I just ordered it two days ago.

  11. Whoo, just over halfway through Obelisk Gate and had to put that sucker down for a little bit today.

    I just got hit with the one-two punch of Anffha nppvqragnyyl gheavat Rvgm gb fgbar, naq Rffha gelvat gb fgbc gur cvrpr bs veba gung jnf oheebjvat guebhtu Gbaxrr naq nppvqragnyyl phggvat ure nez bss.

    V npghnyyl nyzbfg pevrq jura Rvgm tbg fgbarq. Ubj jryy qbar vf gung? Fhpu n crevcureny punenpgre ohg V sryg n sevffba bs rzcngul sbe obgu uvz naq Anffha va gung zbzrag. Jung n terng jnl bs ervasbepvat gung guvf zntvp vf vaperqvoyl qnatrebhf.

    Gura pnzr gur fprar jvgu Gbaxrr, naq gur ivfpreny ubeebe bs gung cvrpr bs zrgny geniryvat ure negrevrf. Naq gur whkgncbfvgvba bs znzn npgvat ol vafgvapg yvxr ure qnhtugre qvq va gur cerivbhf puncgre naq phggvat bss n yvzo jvgubhg ernyvmvat vg.

    *shudder*

    So good, you guys. But not an easy read.

  12. Gura pnzr gur fprar jvgu Gbaxrr, naq gur ivfpreny ubeebe bs gung cvrpr bs zrgny geniryvat ure negrevrf. Naq gur whkgncbfvgvba bs znzn npgvat ol vafgvapg yvxr ure qnhtugre qvq va gur cerivbhf puncgre naq phggvat bss n yvzo jvgubhg ernyvmvat vg.

    I had the impression that it was necessary. But I’d have to read the book again to be sure.

  13. Yet another Meredith moment, rather late (sorry) – Robin McKinley’s collection, A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories, is available from bn.com for $1.99.

  14. I had no trouble with Ninefox Gambit, despite the brutality; I think it’s brilliantly written. But I warmed up first by reading “The Battle of Candle Arc”.

    With Too Like the Lightning, there was at least one place where I had to stop and decide if I wanted to continue. I did find the one parallel with the heptarchate interesting, though.

    On a different tack, I had no problems with Arabella of Mars.

    PS Mike, I’m glad you’re home.

  15. @Dawn Incognito

    naq Rffha gelvat gb fgbc gur cvrpr bs veba gung jnf oheebjvat guebhtu Gbaxrr naq nppvqragnyyl phggvat ure nez bss.

    Evil earth, that scene made my skin crawl.

  16. @ Darren: There’s an app for that.

    @ JDN: I recently re-read “With Folded Hands” as part of an old anthology I reviewed. My opinion:
    This is actually not bad, allowing for evolution in literary style over the past half-century or so. It’s a specimen of the “be careful what you ask for” cautionary tale, about a scientist who invents the perfect robot servants: “To Serve And Obey, And Guard Men From Harm”. And, of course, they turn into unstoppable helicopter parents to all of humanity. The story arc revolves around the inventor’s last-ditch attempt to reverse his error, and while the first part of the story is a little slow and repetitive, the last half is quite engaging even though it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to fail. The ending, alas, is a real downer.

  17. I’ve DNFed Too Like Lightning. Too many trigger issues without sensitivity.

    I have Obelisk Gate on Kindle but not sure when I’ll be emotionally up to reading it. I have books lined up for reading when I’m done to help with self-care up afterwards. I really want to get to this Jemisin but I need to be realistic about where I’m at and how much her writing affects me.

    @Dawn glad your finding it good. Thanks for the warning.

  18. Tasha, rot-13 content warning as vague as I can make it while still being useful:

    Fbzr rneyl puncgref srngher n puvyq yrneavat gb znavchyngr n cnerag va beqre gb nibvq nohfr. Vg pnhfrq fbzr nakvrgl va zr.

  19. Obelisk Gate is a wowser. I’ll probably read it again in a month or two. Decompressing meanwhile with Diana Wynne Jones. every few years I forget how much I love her and then I get to re-read and remember.
    Waif the dog in House of Many Ways is a frighteningly accurate portrait of my own precious sad puppy, the slumberhound. My dog has only small magics, though: she can conjure plates out of my dad’s hands, and make herself so absolutely flat under the covers that poking doesn’t find her–I have to peel the quilt right back.

  20. One of my LJ friends has made the following post:
    A writers’ sci-fi and fantasy convention is being held in Ottawa. Unfortunately, I can’t go, but I checked out the schedule anyway. This is one of the panels:

    40. Creative Choices that Drive Away Audiences: From fridging to heroic wish-fulfillment fantasy and dis-empowered secondary characters to whitewashed casts that look nothing like the North America and Europe of today, this panel will try to design novels and stories only rabid puppy readers would enjoy. Laugh. Cringe. Do the opposite. (Bolding mine.)

    So, a panel about what not to do, with rabid puppies given a direct mention. Bwahaha!

    Recently read: Seanan McGuire’s new Toby Daye novella, Full of Briars. This is good — it’s written from Quentin’s POV, and fills in a couple of minor plot cracks. If you like the series, you’ll want this.

  21. Hail Filers! I’m delurking to ask for for recs – books, anime, movies – for my son. He does a lot of online wargaming and asked if I knew of anything involving military time-travel. MilSF is SO not my thing but I came up with The Philadelphia Experiment, Flint’s 1632-verse, and Island In the Sea of Time.

    The example he gave me was “How do Bronze-age spearmen fight a tank?” His interest is more towards strategy and military action than intricate plotting or characterization… hmmm, maybe I should be asking this at Baen’s Bar?

    Anyway, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated – TIA!

  22. @PhilRM – Thanks for the Book Depository tip, I’d forgotten about them. But I’m sticking to ebook for Revenger; the reviews are good but not exciting enough to make me do a hardcover impulse buy.

    (I did see a “it’s what Embassytown should have been” 5 star review on Goodreads which caught my attention. But that particular reviewer had given only 2 stars to Embassytown, which suggested our tastes might not match.)

  23. Lee: Recently read: Seanan McGuire’s new Toby Daye novella, Full of Briars. This is good — it’s written from Quentin’s POV, and fills in a couple of minor plot cracks. If you like the series, you’ll want this.

    Oh hey, thanks for that! (It’s a novelette, $1.99 on Kindle.)

  24. @PhilRM thank you! Philipkdickian is high praise in my ears! I was a bit afraid it might be too gimmicky, but will check it out now!

    Wait… I thought I was the guy in the third row.

    Maybe you were in the Fifth Column?

  25. @Bonnie McDaniel, thank you so much for the assist. My phone routinely adds extra characters, but it sounds like it also had help this time. 😉

  26. I’m nearing the end of the audiobook of The Obelisk Gate! A few little flaws here and there. Also, I’m still trying to decide whether I maybe shouldn’t hate a character I thought I did – and trying to figure out why I’m not supposed to hate another one. But anyway, overall, great book! Uh, when’s the next one coming out, rust it?!

  27. @Darren Dern, I was trying to say that the humor was “cryptic” in its choice of topic more than anything else!

    @Feline, that was not in itself actually the joke; I shall just have to tell it.

    Berlin, in Germany, is host to the International Green Week (“Grüne Woche”) – a large and popular exhibition about agricultural products, equipment, etc, both for trade and for the public.

    On this particular occasion, a group of farmers from Poland decide to attend – it’s not far, it could be useful, etc. So they hop on a flight (just a short hop but still, makes things a bit quicker).

    Halfway through the flight, the purser comes back and utters those mythical words from many a story: “Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?” It turns out both captain and co-pilot have become somehow incapacitated, and while the copilot is keeping the plane steady in the air, that’s not a situation that can continue indefinitely. Alas, nobody on board has any piloting experience; but the heroes of our story say “We may not be very educated but we work with many types of heavy and sometimes delicate machinery – we’ll give it a go!”.

    The purser leads the farmers to the cockpit, which is quite cramped. The try to dislodge the captain from his seat, but he is firmly wedged into place; but they manage to extricate the co-pilot, one of the farmers slips into his seat and all gather around him. Only then do they actually take a look at all the myriad displays, controls, switches, buttons, in awe of the difficulty of the task ahead … but then they identify the autopilot and focus back on the main yoke.

    The farmer in the co-pilot’s seat looks nervously to the one nearest, who disengages the autopilot just as the former grabs the yoke – and with no warning, the aircraft begins to buck and roll and gyrate, until the farmer eventually manages to wrestle it back to straight and level flight.

    Still shaking, another one of the farmers picks up the microphone and gets on the intercom to the passengers:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, my apologies that things got a bit unstable – but we are, after all, just simple poles in the right half of a complex plane!”

    (… and in case anyone is interested, this offers a brief explanation of sorts.)

  28. @Dawn Incognito

    Thanks for the additional warning. I hope life calms down so I’m in a place I’m emotionally able to read soon. It sounds fascinating.

  29. @Peer: Maybe you were in the Fifth Column?

    (Insert incredibly obscure array index-ordering joke here.)
    There had to be a five in there somewhere!

  30. You know, I could remember the Baen book’s cover vividly but not the title or author – maybe that says something about why they do covers like that!
    Anyway, it was A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z Williamson, US soldiers thrown back to the Paleolithic. I’ve not read it and I doubt it contains any wisdom, but it’s on topic.

  31. Thanks Mark!

    Swords vs Tanks – that does sound apposite. I’ll pass that, and the Williamson, on to the kid.

  32. @Nicole: this is why I affix my stickers with double sticky tape on the back. Some of ’em you can’t replace and some of ’em would cost a lot. This served me well when my cat destroyed a machine earlier this year.

    @lauowolf: You’re taking extensive notes and maybe pictures, right?

    @Lee: heh. Good for Ottawa, eh?

    I read “Penric and the Shaman” when it came out in June and quite liked it. I like the earlier part of that world (Hallowed Hunt, Penric) more than the later part. I like the Five Gods.

    If you’re a stickler for chronological order, definitely read “Full of Briars” before the next Toby Daye novel. You probably will be okay without reading this tale from Quentin’s POV of introducing his parents to Toby, but it will add. And note that the new novel has an appended free extra novelette that picks up where the book left off, from Arden’s POV about the stuff what just went down.

    @Naomi: Take a look at David Drake as well. And Turtledove’s Videssos series.

  33. @Naomi: Another millitary-time-travel book series (though not with Paleolithic humans) is Taylor Anderson’s “Destroyermen” series. Not tanks, but two WW II ships stumble back in time. “The books chronicle the adventures of the crews of the destroyer USS Walker (DD-163) and the Japanese battlecruiser Amagi, in the early stages of the War in the Pacific during World War II, being transported to an alternate Earth. This Earth is relatively the same geographically as the one they left, but evolution took a different turn eons ago.”

    Disclaimer: I have book 1 but haven’t read it (yet).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *