Pixel Scroll 9/20/16 Grow Scrolled Along With Me, The Pixel Is Yet To Be

(1) SUMMER IN ORCUS HAS LAUNCHED.  A certain T. Kingfisher has released the first chapter of a new serial, Summer in Orcus. Also known as Ursula Vernon, and RedWombat, Kingfisher filled readers in on the schedule…:

I will be posting links here as they go live, never fear! It will be up Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we’re going to try bonus content on Sundays–little snippets about the world of Orcus and so forth–once we’ve had a few weeks to settle in, and I’ll do my best to get an RSS feed working as well for people who don’t check back here frequently. Long-time readers will recognize the start of the story–“Hey! It’s the one with Baba Yaga!”–as having been posted here. Yup, that’s the one, and I finally finished it… I’m all nervous and stuff. This is such a weird little book and I’m still not sure if anyone will like it or if they will throw tomatoes, but by god, I wrote it anyway, and thanks to the awesome people on Patreon, I can offer it free to the world.

And the number of chapters

(Incidentally, I think there will be 34 chapters.)

Each chapter is supposed to run around 2500 words, but there’s a fair amount of fluctuation, just because I didn’t want to break some things off in mid-sentence. So there’s a few short ones and a few reeeeeally long ones. But I suppose we’ll make do.

The story begins this way:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Summer, whose mother loved her very very very much.

Her mother loved her so much that she was not allowed to play outside where someone might grab her, nor go away on sleepovers where there might be an accident or suspicious food. She was not allowed to go away to camp, where she might be squashed by a horse or bitten by diseased mosquitoes, and she most certainly was not allowed to go on the Ferris Wheel at the carnival because (her mother said) the people who maintain the machinery are lazy and not very educated and might get drunk and forget to put a bolt back on and the entire thing could come loose at any moment and fall down and kill everyone inside, and they should probably leave the carnival immediately before it happened….

(2) KICKSTARTER MEETS GOAL. The Kickstarter appeal for Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go! passed its $20,000 target. The Seuss/Star Trek parody mashup will be written by David Gerrold, with art by Ty Templeton. File 770 is celebrating by posting this image from the project, courtesy of editor Glenn Hauman.

oh-the-places-tribbles

(3) BUCK ROGERS IN THE 21-AND-A-HALF CENTURY. Two families who once owned the rights to Buck Rogers are involved in a lawsuit over a pitch one made to Syfy, despite it being generally believed the rights are now in the public domain, says The Hollywood Reporter.

Some believe that the fictional space explorer Buck Rogers, created in the 1920s by author Philip Francis Nowlan, is in the public domain. Notwithstanding this fact, Nowlan’s heirs are now on the defensive in a lawsuit that accuses them of breaching contact and diluting trademarks by pitching a “Buck Rogers” pilot to the Syfy Network.

Buck Rogers first appeared in Nowlan’s 1929 novella Armageddon 2419 A.D and became a popular character in comic strips, radio programs and a motion picture series. Nowlan was under contract with John F. Dille’s National Newspaper Service, and when the author died in 1940, his wife fought Dille over intellectual property ownership. In 1942, the lawsuit was settled with Nowlan releasing claims and rights to Dille in exchange for $1,750.

Last year, producer Don Murphy (TransformersNatural Born Killers, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) wanted to make a film based on Armageddon 2419 A.D, and after receiving an objection from the licensing representative of the Dille Family Trust, he went to court to establish that “Buck Rogers” was in the public domain thanks to a failure to renew the copyright registration. But a Pennsylvania judge decided in March not to entertain the case due to a lack of “actual controversy.”

Meanwhile, the Dille Family Trust is suing the Nowlan Family Trust.

According to the lawsuit, an agent of the Nowlan family met with Syfy representatives this past December. As part of a pitch for a “Buck Rogers” series, the Nowlans provided a “series bible” setting forth characters and descriptions for potential use.

The Dille Family Trust claims that the pitch breached the 1942 agreement, and on Friday, a judge rejected a motion to dismiss the claim on the argument that the release of rights applied only to Nowlan’s late wife.

(4) YOUR BUSINESS. Amanda S. Green’s “It’s A Business” at Mad Genius Club is a good admonition for new writers who still have stars in their eyes about the money they imagine will be rolling in.

But, Amanda, you get those huge advances and you don’t have to work any longer.

Wrong.

And this is where you have to remember that this is a business. Most advances, especially for “new” authors fall in the four-digit range. Yes, some new authors get more but they are the except and not the rule. You don’t get the advance all at one time and you aren’t going to see any more money from the publisher until you have earned out the advance and, believe me, that doesn’t happen very often. How can it when publishers use Bookscan to determine how many books are sold instead of a simple inventory tracker program?

That means you have to make sure you have a way to pay your bills between advances. This is why the vast majority of writers aren’t full-time writers. They have families to feed and are like me. They like having a roof over their heads and food in the fridge. Even if your first book is a success, you don’t know that the second book will be. More importantly, if you are publishing traditionally, you have no guarantee that the readers will remember you two years or more after your first book by the time the second book comes out. Remember, when you publish traditionally, you have no control over when your book is released and you are just one of many the publisher is having to slot into a finite number of slots per month.

(5) VOTE BOTH. Ryk E. Spoor, who has both self-pubbed and been published by Baen, warns about “The False Dichotomies of Publishing”.

Thus, while there are indeed two divisions of publishing, it’s not really a simple matter of choice in deciding which one you want. The only people for whom it is such a choice are those who are so successful that they know that anything they write can be sold to a traditional publisher – people like Stephen King, for example. Such people know that they can even write “niche” books and get them published by a big publishing house because their other, more popular books will pay for these occasional low-profit ventures. Most of us, however, are not and will never be in that category.

Another common false dichotomy is “have no control over your manuscript, or have complete freedom with self-publishing”. While there have been, and probably still are, some publishers with really, really bad editors that will take apart manuscripts for their own entertainment, for the most part publishers aren’t there to dictate how you should write your stuff; after all, if they dictate it all to you, why not just write it themselves? As I have discussed before, the purpose of having editors is to make your work better but still in essence yours.

This points to the falsity on the flip side as well. Sure, you can have complete control of your work, write it and throw it right up on Amazon without anyone saying a word against it. But that’s almost certainly doing your work a terrible disservice. There may, possibly, be a few people who are so very good at separating themselves from their own work that they can honestly and dispassionately examine and edit that work. But I have never met someone like that. You need exterior views, and preferably a viewpoint that doesn’t have a vested interest in agreeing with you that your work is perfect.

(6) MORE WRITING CAREER ADVICE. Here are some tips for getting your novel published during a Skeleton Apocalypse.

(7) ROCKET TO THE MORGUE MOON. So that’s what happened to all the pizza boxes we stuffed in the time machine. Click here.

(8) THE HERMIONE GRANGER BOOKS. Sarah Gailey writes a fascinating analysis of “Hermione Granger: More Than a Sidekick” at Tor.com.

This is something that the Harry Potter fan community has been discussing for years: Hermione drives the story because she has her own story. No one in their right mind would trust 13-year-old Harry Potter with a Time Turner, but Hermione gets one and she deserves it. She dates a celebrity, and she outsmarts Rita Skeeter, and she does those things in the background of Harry’s story. She convinces Harry to be a figurehead in the fight against Voldemort, and she creates Dumbledore’s Army. She schedules the DA meetings, she creates the consequences for DA defectors, she creates the galleons that allow the DA to communicate in code. She researches horcruxes and how to destroy them. She rereads all of Hogwarts: A History. She shows up with the tools and the knowledge and prevents Harry and Ron from standing around looking perplexed while the world ends around them. She saves everyone’s bacon all the time by being smarter and better-prepared than anyone else. Those two boys would be dead a thousand times over without her intervention.

She gets her own story, if you know how to look for it. She has her own narrative that’s completely separate from Harry’s. But does that make her a hero?

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born September 20, 1948 – George R.R. Martin

(10) PUPPIES SUBTRACTED. Aaron doesn’t have his own alternate trophies to give out, nevertheless he offers his ”Random Thought – 2016 ‘What Could Have Been’ Hugo Finalists” at Dreaming of Other Worlds.

Location: An alternate, better reality.

Comments: At the outset I want to make clear that this post is not an evaluation of what the 2016 list of Hugo finalists would have been had the E Pluribus Hugo system been in effect for the nomination process. I’ll be posting about that at a later date. What this post is is an attempt to figure out what the 2016 list of Hugo finalists would have looked like had the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns never existed. It is, quite simply, an attempt to expunge those votes attributable to the Sad and Rabid Puppy nominators to see who would have been Hugo finalists in their absence. This post is also an attempt to assess the impact Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns once that information is at hand.

(11) NOWHERESVILLE. The article “Solitude, Space Junk and Sea Monsters: the Eeriness of Point Nemo” begins with an attention-getting question:

Q: What do sci fi pioneer Jules Verne, horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and the Russian space programme have in common?

A: Their overlapping interest in an inhospitable corner of the South Pacific, only recently identified as the remotest part of the world’s oceans – Point Nemo.

Nowhere in the world can you find a place further from dry land than Point Nemo. This oceanic pole of inaccessibility (1) is located at 48°52.6’S 123°23.6’W…..

Decades before Point Nemo was named, and before satellites started raining down, H.P. Lovecraft used these lonely waters as the setting for R’lyeh, a “nightmare corpse city (…) built in measureless eons beyond history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars”.

In The Call of Cthulhu (1928), R’lyeh is described as “a coast-line of mingled mud, ooze, and weedy Cyclopean masonry which can be nothing less than the tangible substance of earth’s supreme terror … loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours”.

The sunken city is the prison of the giant monster Cthulhu, part octopus, part human, part dragon: “There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults”. His followers pray for his regeneration, repeating the phrase: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn (“In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”).

(12) LET’S KEEP IT REAL. There’s yet one more thing against the law in California. “Gov. Brown signs law that cracks down on fake celebrity autographs”.  In a way, you might have expected Gov. Schwarzenegger to have applied his autograph to such a law first….

An autographed collectible sold in California will need to come with a certificate that verifies it’s not a forgery under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown signed the bill Friday to crack down on selling items with fake celebrity signatures.

The proposal won the support of actor Mark Hamill earlier this year.

Best known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars” films, Hamill often uses his Twitter account to sort out whether something has his genuine signature on it or has been forged.

(13) ORIGIN OF BOOKS. Inspired by the current competition between digital and paper books, the BBC looks back to the mysterious origin of the book.

The evidence is sparse but telling: archaeologists have discovered a few key scraps of papyrus whose text unexpectedly continues from the front to the back, and whose neat margins one might expect to find in a paged book. And that is exactly what these fragments are: they are leaves from the first paged books the world had ever seen. We know that the Romans called this new kind of book the codex (from caudex or tree trunk, because of its similarity to their wooden writing tablets), but how the codex came to be in the first place is shrouded in mystery. The first written mention of the codex appears in the words of a Roman poet named Martial, who encouraged his readers to buy his books in this new, paged format:

“You who long for my little books to be with you everywhere and want to have companions for a long journey, buy these ones which parchment confines within small pages: give your scroll-cases to the great authors – one hand can hold me.”

Written between 84 and 86 CE, Martial’s sales pitch tells us not only that paged books were known of in the First Century CE but also that some of them, at least, were made from a new material called parchment.

(14) ABSTRACT DISNEY. This video by user “2veinte” called Disney Classics 1 is a recreation of classic Disney scenes just done with geometric shapes. It was done for the Disney Channel.

[Thanks to Camestros Felapton, Mark-kitteh, JJ, Johan P, John King Tarpinian, iphinome, Hampus Eckerman, Steven H Silver, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lis Carey.]

111 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/20/16 Grow Scrolled Along With Me, The Pixel Is Yet To Be

  1. @John: For the most part, the analysis of removing the SPs without removing the RPs would have resulted in “the ballot stays the same”, and the analysis of removing the RPs without removing the SPs would have been “the ballot changes in almost exactly the same way as it did when I evaluated them both together”.

  2. @Lurkertype, Ray, Eli

    Good points all – though Holden’s breed of doofus is a kind of trope that often gets called “hero”, and would be here if the works weren’t so self aware. I think the point that if Brader hasn’t heard of it, it can’t be real Sci fi is important though – the whole series could have been unnoticed as something those damn were watching.

    And some of the characters seem to think a good vigorous war or foreign entanglement isn’t the most glorious and manly thing imaginable! Clearly socialism, as all good Americans are just panting for such wars and entanglements!*

    *Yes, that’s a sarcastic, if veiled reference, to an important figure in US history.

  3. @TYP:

    I can’t help but notice that while Nemesis Games wasn’t on the SP list, Seveneves, Uprooted, and Ancillary Mercy were. How do you explain that?

    Myself, I’m willing to go with Snowcrash’s theory. I myself did not recommend it because at the time I was still working through the series (I’m a latecomer to it) and had not yet read Nemesis Games.

  4. Joe Sherry

    My opinion is that they were incredibly diffuse and given the extremely low participant total in the forming of the SP4 longlists (which was bolstered by Non Puppy participation), attempting to come up with a number is somewhat of a fool’s errand and also self-defeating if we can acknowledge they participated as fans.

    I’ll post my own analysis in a couple of days, but I get almost the same results Aaron does, in terms of what a slate-free finalists list would have looked like. However, I estimate only 17 people voted the Sad Puppies list as a slate–zero in most categories. Other numbers suggest about 90 to 100 people used the SP list as a source of recommendations for reading, but those folks didn’t blindly vote the slate.

    The SP organizers said they didn’t want a slate, and it seems clear they didn’t create one. They deserve some credit for that.

  5. @Jake

    A lot of the decent stuff on the SP list got there because we all put it there. Literally. I think they posted how many recommendations each of their things received, and for some of the better short-fiction, and I think Ancillary and Uprooted, all of the votes were from Filers ‘testing’ the system, to see whether Paulk and Hoyt would vet the recommendations for thought criminals.

    The surprise was that turnout for SP was so minimal that a small handful of recommendations turned out to be enough to allow them to go the distance. There was some discussion at the time as to whether this would lead to human shields and some legitimacy given to the SPs by this action.

  6. @Joe Sherry. By at least two measures, the Sad Puppies produced a Slate with SP4, not a recommendation list.
    1. they curated the individual recommendations to come up with a “top ten”. That takes it out of the realm of a straight recommendation list. The point of curating was to discover which works had the best chance of acting in a slate-like/bloc-voting manner. Yes, there were ten items in many of the categories, but look at the top five in each. Puppy voters may be impaired, but they aren’t stupid, and I learned a long time ago that when one has “minions”, it is not necessary for the “leaders” to provide explicit instructions.
    2. they continue to couch their rhetoric is political terms. The list is not a list of items that should be voted on based on merit, it is a list that, IF voted on, produces a desired political outcome.

    Not directly related but: if a group found themselves on the outs because of miscalculating, or accidentally stepping wrong, etc., AND they expressed a desire to make themselves more palatable, to correct the incorrect perceptions of their actions, one would expect that they would tread very lightly and err on the side of conducting themselves in ways that could not possibly be misconstrued – at least for enough time to go by that produces little to no controversy or questioning of their motives.

    It is clear – if only from Kate Paulk’s business meeting “speech” or her SciFi4Me interview – that the motives, purpose and desired outcome are all political, and all based on the bullshit we STILL hear about cabals, fixed voting, needing the Hugos to be a “popular vote, campaigns, & etc.

    SP4 is STILL a slate. Any “recommendation” list that has explicit politicizing directly associated with it will always be a slate.

  7. @TYP Assuming then, that those three were on the list specifically because Filers suggested them, then why wasn’t Nemesis Games on the list too?

    Since it was an open system, why do the Filers get all the credit for the “good” nominations and the Puppies get the blame for stuff that gets left off? Logically, it should be everyone’s fault. If fault it to be placed at all.

  8. @Bill – yes, and if you look at the issues, you’ll see that the Dille and Nowlan family trusts have each been issued a trademark for Buck Rogers for the class covering motion pictures…..

    That’s one screwed up IP situation over that name; I know the Dille family trust has tried to make a case that their trademark for “Buck Rogers” extends to artwork depicting the ships, characters, etc…..

  9. @Jake

    1) SP4 had a transparency that SP1-3 sorely lacked; the nominations were comments in an open thread and the number of recommendations each got was listed. Through the mathematical process of subtracting a vote for each recommendation made in a comment with the handler of someone here on the file, and seeing a number of “zero” when that was completed, several people came to that conclusion.

    2) As to why Nemesis Games wasn’t on the SP list, I’ll direct you to my first post on the matter.

    3) We’re talking about the TV series here, not the novels.

  10. Re 8)

    I wonder if it would be possible to rewrite “Harry Potter”with Hermoine as the bad guy.

    I don’t mean in some sort of a misogynistic sense, but in the sense of an enormously talented and ambitious and marginally sociopathic witch looking around and deciding that the best way to get ahead in the long term was to grow a base of support in her peer group by overcompensating for her sociopathy while at school to establish herself as Little Miss Helpful.

    And then, when she realizes the threat of Voldemort and the eventual need to confront him, to set up some convenient fall guy as The Hero for V. to focus on while she worked against him…

  11. Yet another tor.com novella: The Warren by Brian Evenson

    I think this novella gives you fair warning when it begins with a dedication to Gene Wolfe.

    Someone called X has awoken in a place they know is called the warren. They seem to think they have been created, and that they have the memories of their predecessors, who were also created. They know the hostile conditions will kill them soon, and they’d like to create themselves a successor, but they can’t, and the computer they can talk to is failing and unhelpful. Events occur which start to explain what might be going on, and then I turned the page to see “About the Author” staring at me, and I didn’t really know what it had all been about.

    If someone else reads this and says it was a wonderful multi-layered narrative then I’ll totally believe them, but I was tired and I just went huh?

  12. @TYP Okay, I hadn’t realized it was the tv show you were talking about. Although personally I don’t think it holds a candle to the books.

    Still, the point stands. Where were the non-Puppy votes for the show? Particularly when things like Agents of SHIELD’s “Melinda” or the Person of Interest Episode “If-Than-Else” which certainly don’t fit into your stereotypical view of the Sad Puppies (both episodes show non-white and in PoI’s case non-straight women performing acts of heroism)

    Fury Road, The Force Awakens, iZombie, Inside Out. All these made the Sad Puppy’s list. Purely because of Filer input, yet The Expanse didn’t purely because of Puppies?

  13. Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic who may or may not turn into a giant lizard when she’s drunk.

    Who knew she was from Scotland.

  14. @Jake: Only four episodes of The Expanse were released in 2015. All in December. Depending on when Filers (or anyone else) were adding stuff to SP4, they may not have seen those episodes yet. Most of the activity in that thread was done prior to December / January – though there were a couple of recommendations for one or two of the eligible episodes and a couple of non-helpful recommendations for the series as a whole (just saying “The Expanse”).

  15. On Sp4 and slates and voters etc:
    1. That is a great analysis from Aaron
    2. What took a long time to become clear in a definitive sense, is that the Sad Puppies are not, and never really have been, that interested in short fiction as a group.*
    3. When it comes to novels, the process of the past campaigns has now helped identify a set of writers who are markers for group support (see https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/sp4-book-families/ or see the Dragon Awards). The aesthetics/style/genre isn’t irrelevant but just because a book/writer might tick a lot of Puppy boxes aesthetically doesn’t mean it is an ‘in’ book.**

    *[there are obvious exceptions as individuals (e.g. Dave Truesdale, Jason Rennie) but short fiction has never engendered much excitement among the Sad Puppies except negatively. ]
    **[saying it makes it sound like that is an odd way for a group to behave but it isn’t. This is a question of loyalty towards worthy/trustworthy people and there are natural limits on how many people that can include.]

  16. Okay, I hadn’t realized it was the tv show you were talking about. Although personally I don’t think it holds a candle to the books.

    1. The show only has one season thus far. The book series is on volume 4.
    2. The show and the book are eligible in different categories. The Best Novel category is a much more difficult venue to get onto the list of finalists than the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form is.

    Still, the point stands. Where were the non-Puppy votes for the show? Particularly when things like Agents of SHIELD’s “Melinda” or the Person of Interest Episode “If-Than-Else” which certainly don’t fit into your stereotypical view of the Sad Puppies (both episodes show non-white and in PoI’s case non-straight women performing acts of heroism)

    The non-Puppy voters were mostly worried about voting in the actual Hugo nomination process, evidenced by the fact that the Expanse episodes CQB and Dulcinea were ninth and tenth in the balloting there.

    Fury Road, The Force Awakens, iZombie, Inside Out. All these made the Sad Puppy’s list. Purely because of Filer input, yet The Expanse didn’t purely because of Puppies?

    The Filer choices that were put on the Sad Puppy list were chosen specifically because they were not things one would expect the Puppies to support. They were chosen as a test, to see if the Pups would handle their list honestly, without putting a finger on the scales. I expect that most people thought that The Expanse series was something that at least some of the Pups would like, since it is nuts and bolts type science fiction.

  17. Seconding @Joe Sherry’s point about when The Expanse episodes aired. I’d lean towards nominating the entire season, but it also might not be right to do that since the first season covers about 2/3 of Leviathan Wakes. There’s lots more to happen after the revelations in the season finale. From reports, it looks like some more elements of the second book will come into play before everything in the first book gets adapted.

    As for Nemesis Games, I think that is mainly a case of it being the latest book in an ongoing series (and it was very much a “split up the team for the book and bring them back together at the end and deal with the fallout in the next book”: type of story). It definitely followed on from a lot of the backstory given through the series (and especially the novellas), so I didn’t really consider it something that would fly on the Hugo Ballot. Plus, the authors have not been anything that could be considered pro-Puppy on their social media accounts.

    In somewhat related Expanse news, there is an Expanse reference in the new Kevin Hearne novella just out from Subterranean Press.

  18. Thanks to Aaron for his analysis.

    I don’t understand how The Expanse CQB episode wasn’t nominated – lots of pewpewpew for the RPs ( I thought it was excellent, too)

    Short story would be a much stronger category minus the puppies – Alyssa Wong and our own Wombat were both much stronger than the Cat Pictures please, in my opinion.

    Also, in one of the novellas, Waters of Versaille would have been my winner.

    Aaron is correct, I think, in that the RP picks crash the quality level of the categories that they dominate

    Maybe the Ann Hathaway movie above is a sequel to “If you were a dinosaur”?

  19. @Jake

    I think you need to look up the definition of “stereotype.” It’s not a stereotype to say that the SP’s want what they call “nuggety nuggets” – they’ve said so ad nauseum. Similarly, the views of the authors who make up that movement on the LGBT community are well known, and range from using the implication of non-hetero sexuality as a slur, to declaiming the desire of all real men to beat them with tire irons, to various equations of various kinds of queerness with mental disorders.

    Similarly, in the realm of their words, are their imputations that almost any book that has been praised for its diverse characters and yet still won awards was an affirmative action pick by some secret cabal. Similarly, their words have all been about how science fiction is and only is good old space stories and adventures.

    And so we have the Expanse, as series that is such an adventure, that is a very solid tale… and silence! No space stories, we’d rather have My Little Pony! But we can look at certain differences between The Expanse, and the fiction the Puppies says is the next great thing, and draw an inference as to what could make the people who carry water for Teddy Beale feel… uncomfortable.

  20. Anne Hathaway was from Warwickshire, wasn’t she? Oh, the other one.

    Is there a list of movies where people turn into lizards? I can only think of Nice Dreams, Alligator People and maybe some Hammer film whose name I can’t recall.

    ETA: The Reptile? Looks about right.

  21. @RDF – Read a lovely proposed fic once about a non-magical person who sneaks into Hogwarts, forging her own acceptance letter, and is thus sorted into Slytherin for being ambitious.

  22. @Matthew Johnson

    Nice one.

    @TYP etc

    I was watching the Expanse at the same time as reading Leviathan Wakes, As an adaptation I think they’ve done a great job. I can only hope the forthcoming Altered Carbon adaptation gets it as right. Pups will probably hate that too, no heroes there.

  23. Short story would be a much stronger category minus the puppies – Alyssa Wong and our own Wombat were both much stronger than the Cat Pictures please, in my opinion.

    Also, in one of the novellas, Waters of Versaille would have been my winner.

    Well, chacun a son gout and all that. I loved both Cat Pictures Please, Wooden Feathers and Pocosin, and didn’t care for either Hungry Daughters or Waters of Versailles. I get why other people might like Hungry Daughters, really I do, even though I thought it ended abruptly and didn’t really pull me in. Kind of a simple idea, expressed pretty simply. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I finished it and kind of went, huh, well that’s done, not moved to read it again or stick with those characters, not frightened, just… Well, that’s done. But I admit I don’t read a whole lot of horror so I feel this one falls into the “I’m not the right reader for that” category.

    As for Waters of Versailles… I would really appreciate it if somebody who loved this story could tell me why so I can better figure out my own lack of enthusiasm. I realize that’s nobody’s responsibility but mine and I should be able to sort it out without hearing why it was beloved by others, but I’ve been having trouble with it. If I’m honest, it seemed like a short, breezy fantasy romance (not that there’s anything wrong with that) with an unappealing hero and a childish heroine. Maybe I just really missed the boat on its appeal, but for me, there was no there there. Just a lot of unpleasant people, a soupcon of decadence and ennui, and n genccrq zreznvq jub npgf yvxr gur yrcerpunhaf be jbbq fcevgrf va n Qvfarl irefvba bs n snvelgnyr, va gur frafr bs univat zntvpny cbjref naq orvat irel onolvfu naq zrephevny naq fvyyl. Fur jnf n zntvp cvkvr qernz tvey jvgu erny zntvp. I admit I didn’t read it all that deeply and maybe I am missing some post-colonial examination of France under Louis XIV or gender relationships between oppressor and oppressed or… Something. Or the main guy and his znq qnfu gb fnir gur tvey, evtug bhg bs — jung jnf gung zbivr? — na Bssvpre naq n Tragyrzna? — which I didn’t like wasn’t really that romance cliche at all. I’m willing to admit if I’m a doofus and missed something smart and clever and charming which everybody else got. Really!

  24. Similar to reading a closed book, reading a burned, rolled scroll.

    After last year’s Rey drought, Disney are promising to do better with merchandise for female characters in Rogue One. Not that I think I could be any more in love with a character than I am with Rey, so. Meh for now, Disney.

    Meanwhile, on another Disney front, there’s this:

    Which seems like a tricky situation. On the one hand, it does smack slightly of “blackfacism.” On the other hand, Disney always makes costumes for the main characters in it’s animated movies–and the primary recognizable “clothing” characteristic of Maui is full body tattoos over mostly bare skin. So how else is Disney supposed to handle it? A package of temporary tattoos for children, to worn mostly nude with a grass skirt would seem a bit more questionable. If the same suit had been made with a pink background, that would be “whitewashing.” If no costume had been made at all, that would be “erasure.” Once again proving that you just can’t win.

    (I love the other primary recognizable “clothing” characteristic of Maui–a necklace containing a large fresh C. megalodon tooth. It implies that Maui is a bit older than he looks, given that megs have been extinct for more than a million years. (For years I wore a medium sized meg tooth that I wire-wrapped myself. I’d love to have a pristine white one or even a decent reproduction (some found diving off the cost of New Caledonia are almost white–see the middle tooth in the top photo here.)))

  25. @BigelowT – I loved/nominated Wooden Feathers and Pocosin, too.

    Strange what is one persons cup of tea is not the same as someone else – I guess you get that a lot 😉

    I’m not a big horror fan but Hungry Daughters worked well for me.

    I did like the kitties, too, but it did feel a little slight – though on second reading I saw more depth, so there you go.

  26. I hope before publication someone gets through to say that it’s Klingons WHO poisoned the grain, not THAT. Klingons are people, no? (Also “who” flows better, IMO.)

  27. The 20 Craziest, Coolest, and Most Unique Films We Can’t Wait to See at Fantastic Fest 2016

    Some of the descriptions sound….intriguing (“Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic who may or may not turn into a giant lizard when she’s drunk.”; “A polish mermaid musical”)

    Just the title of number 12, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, reminds me of The World Sinks Except Japan

  28. (1) SUMMER IN ORCUS HAS LAUNCHED.
    Yay!

    (5) VOTE BOTH.
    Warning: linked article contains a lot of sense.

    (7) ROCKET TO THE MORGUE MOON.
    I L’ed. OL.

    (11) NOWHERESVILLE.
    Waves to it from New Zealand.

    ::ticky:: in hope

  29. snowcrash said:

    Oooh, an interesting preview of some of the SF movies coming up:

    Call me a joyless nerd, but 24 X 36 is the one that has me going, “Oh, I gotta see THAT somehow.”

  30. Cora on September 21, 2016 at 5:45 am said:
    Public Service Announcement:
    For those who haven’t read it yet, Tor.com is offering the e-book of Kai Ashante Wilson’s “Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” for free today, if you sign up for their newsletter. http://giveaway.tor.com/

    Thank you! And thanks Tor.com for not restricting this one to “legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec)”.

    @NickPheas,
    “Has anyone tried signing up to Tor’s book of the month club via Tunnel Bear out of interest?”
    I chose not to bypass giveaway restrictions.

  31. There was certainly a case a few years back when some very early Mickey Mouse comics turned out to have fallen out of copyright and were published by (I think) Fantagraphics, much to the annoyance of Disney.

    That would be The Uncensored Mouse, and it was published by Eternity Comics, consisting of some of the earliest Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strips they could pull from archives.

    Eternity was fairly careful on that: the strips were out of copyright, and by explicitly not mentioning or showing Mickey Mouse on the cover, but also mentioning the proper owner of the trademark on the inside, they were also avoiding trademark problems. (Actually having any mention of Mickey Mouse on the cover could have led to accusations that they were trying to create confusion that what they were selling was approved by Disney.)

    The end result is that while Disney didn’t actually have a legal leg to stand on, they launched a lawsuit anyway and pretty much said that they would delay things to drive Eternity into bankruptcy if they didn’t stop. As a result, only two issues ever actually got published.

    Given that these strips were from the 1930s… well, Disney’s wish to bury some of its more blatantly racist early work was probably a good part of why they fought so hard on this.

  32. I chose not to bypass giveaway restrictions.

    Fair enough. I haven’t tried either, though the temptation is there.

    What I never quite get though, is why do the poor buggers in Quebec get the short straw? Can see that the French language rights would not automatically travel with the English, but surely there are many anglophone readers in the province. Can they only buy from Amazon.fr?

  33. “Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic who may or may not turn into a giant lizard when she’s drunk.”

    Ya gotta be careful which bars you drink in

    (Googling for an appropriate image, I also came across the logo for a “Limp Lizard Lounge”. I imagine the owner of said lounge scratching their head and wondering why they get so few male customers….)

  34. @NickPheas: Has anyone tried signing up to Tor’s book of the month club via Tunnel Bear out of interest?

    I did and it worked fine.

  35. nickpheas: Quebec has different laws regarding contests and lotteries. While Canada has greater federalization of government, there are variances between provinces as between USA’s states. (Quebec also pulls its “distinct society” schtick to create greater variance, and it’s not just on language laws.)

  36. @ Darren: Yeah, that’s a sticky wicket for Disney no matter how you slice it. I will be interested in hearing what the activists on my FB friendslist have to say about it, especially if they have specific suggestions about what could have been done instead.

    Re sources for megalodon teeth, you might try contacting Zion Rock & Gem — I’ve been in there several times and they have a good selection of fossil teeth; the prices are a little touristy but not up to souvenir-shop “gouge” levels.

  37. Well, crud. I seem to be having a weird problem. I’m receiving nothing in my email from File770. No comments or new posts since early this morningish. I went to my subscription page and, nope, I didn’t accidently unsubscribe from the site, I’m receiving junk mail, mail from friends, a weekly newsletter, etc. The blackout seems specific to the File!?!

    I’m tickying now and will see if I get a subscribe notification.

  38. The ticky functioning seems to have rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.

    Or it left in the pizza box spaceship/time machine, possibly running off with Shoggoth.

  39. Snowcrash:

    “The 20 Craziest, Coolest, and Most Unique Films We Can’t Wait to See at Fantastic Fest 2016”

    Ooooooh, new movie by Nacho Vigalondo!!

  40. lurkertype on September 21, 2016 at 10:30 pm said:
    The ticky functioning seems to have rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.

    Or it left in the pizza box spaceship/time machine, possibly running off with Shoggoth.

    I am so sorry.
    Someone said to put all the boxes in the time machine, so I tossed in the ticky box too.

    I thought is was just as an extra layer of containment for the Definitely-A-Cat-Really from the closet.

  41. Shoggoths. It had to be Shoggoths.

    In other news, anyone read or heard much about The Lazarus Gate by Mark Latham (published by Titan)? The book covers are tasty and this part of the description intrigued me: “a secret war between parallel universes, between reality and the supernatural”

    Another pair of tasty covers (I haven’t even read the book descriptions) are the “From the Peculiar Adventures of John Lovehart, Esq.” books by Ishbelle Bee (published by Angry Robot). Hmm, like Latham’s books, one cover has a lot of red and another has a lot of blue; this is probably a thing that is done a lot, that I’m just thinking about because I looked at two series in a row with covers like this. (The covers are otherwise quite different.) Hmm, Cogman’s books also do this; definitely it’s a thing.

    /rambling into the night

  42. I’m waffling between unfair frustration at @lauwolf for tossing the ticky box into the time machine (any of us could have done that – nobody was prepared for the multi-dimensional party in which we were embroiled) and relief at knowing the underlying problem.

    But now… how to get the ticky box back to 2016?

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