Pixel Scroll 2/14/17 Whoops! Forgot To Pull The Handle!

(1) CLARKE AWARD-ELIGIBLE BOOKS. The director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award has released the complete submissions list of eligible books received.

…I need to be clear, this is not a long list. Rather this is a list of every eligible title officially submitted to us by its publisher or creator for consideration for this year’s award.

…Ten or so years ago, when I first started doing this, it had become apparent that some of the ‘why the heck has that been shortlisted?’ reaction we tended to enjoy on releasing a new shortlist stemmed from the fact that many of the books put forward to our judges might not have been part of the general SF books conversation.

As such, their sudden arrival on a science fiction award list might have taken even some of the keenest award watchers somewhat by surprise, and we all know how much critics love having someone else discover something first…

Solution: put the full submissions list out there in advance of any official shortlist announcement so its there for everyone to see and discuss and even attempt some amateur prognostication on what the actual, official, top six list would look like….

This year we received 86 books from 39 publishing imprints and independent creators.

This is down somewhat from last year’s total of books, where we received 113 titles, and is the first drop below the 100 mark for several years….

(2) SHADOW CLARKE. Members of the Clarke Shadow Jury have begun posting at the official site.

Until relatively recently, the only SFF awards I knew were those mentioned on book covers: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Clarke. The first Clarke winner I ever read was probably either The Handmaid’s Tale or Take Back Plenty, but those were older editions that didn’t mention it on the covers, so at that time I didn’t know. So the first time I realized there was such a thing as a Clarke Award was when I saw it on the cover of Paul McAuley’s Fairyland, the 1996 mass market paperback with the big blue face on the cover, with “Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award” on its forehead.

It’s almost funny that I hadn’t heard of the award by that time, given that Clarke was a local celebrity. If there were ever any local announcements of the original 1987 grant or of any of the subsequent winners, I missed it. I don’t think there were any, though. Things were a lot more disconnected in those days, and the award was firmly rooted somewhere else. And anyway, Clarke lived in a different version of Colombo than I did. A few years before I was born (and not long after Elizabeth II finally stopped being our head of state, nearly a quarter-century after independence from the Empire) the Sri Lankan government brought into law an entire new immigration status, the non-citizen Resident Guest, to accommodate Clarke personally. Apparently even as late as 1982 this was still being called “the Arthur Clarke Law,” which we might call that a fourth law on top of the better-known three already named for him (and the only one which is actual law.)

I have written about the Clarke Award in Foundation and I was also part of the panel which discussed ’30 Years of the Arthur C. Clarke Award’ at the 2016 Eastercon (an edited transcript of which is due to appear in Vector this year). I see participation in this shadow jury as offering the possibility of connecting such kinds of critical activity with my typical informal  approach to the Clarke of inaccurately predicting the shortlist, reading it, arguing about it, guessing the winner and attending the ceremony to find out how wrong I was. All in all, this is an unmissable opportunity to expose simultaneously the idiosyncrasies of my personal taste and the foundations of my critical thought.

And Maureen Kincaid Speller comments on her own blog in “Shagreen, or chagrin: the shadows begin to gather”.

…I’ve been a Clarke judge myself and it is no picnic. I’m sure a lot of people imagine it’s all ‘wow, free books’, but a look at the submissions list will tell you that the jewels are accompanied by a lot of dross – and yes, let’s be blunt about this, dross. This is not unique to the Clarke Award, by any means. I’ve been a Tiptree judge, and witnessed a Campbell Award judge at work; it goes with the territory. But while it’s worth being mindful of the fact that one woman’s dross is another man’s treasure, some dross is just dross …

If there is a problem, with the Clarke and other juried awards, it’s that … actually, there are two problems. One is that the jury’s deliberation is private, and indeed it should be, but as a result we have no access to the debate and can never know what prompted them to make certain decisions. There is probably horse-trading some years, and publishers are not always willing to have their titles submitted if they’re trying to market a book a certain way that is emphatically not science fiction. We don’t know, we can only guess, and it makes things difficult when a book doesn’t appear on a shortlist, and we ask ‘why didn’t they put that on?’ not knowing that the publisher couldn’t or wouldn’t submit. Judges can ask for books but that doesn’t mean they’ll arrive.

But the other problem is that when the shortlists roll out, ‘what were they thinking?’ is a quick and easy response, because it’s really hard to come up with anything else, in the absence of prior debate. And too often this becomes a veiled attack on the competence of the judges, which is not fair on them. They were asked to judge and they did their best in the circumstances. The one thing I will say is that it has seemed to me in recent years that the organisations who nominate judges have tended not to nominate practising critics, which means that one particular approach to sf has been neglected. And that may look like special pleading, but critics have their place in the ecosystem too, alongside the readers….

(3) APEX APOLOGY. Apex Magazine editor Jason Sizemore has revised his “Intersectional SFF – Response” piece from the version excerpted in yesterday’s Scroll.  The main part now reads –

Editor’s note: In my rush to take down the “Intersectional SFF Round Table” and to immediately assure our readers that they were being heard, I shared a hastily-written non-apology that was defensive when I didn’t meant it to be, and shut down the very conversation I wanted to have. I am sorry for that. My revised explanation of the decision to remove the round table is below. – Jason Sizemore

Dear Readers,

On Friday, we posted an “Intersectional SFF Round Table” in support of the Problem Daughters campaign and anthology. Though the post was put together by the Problem Daughters staff without input from us, we made the editorial decision to share the post exactly as it was delivered, without considering the implications of who was (and who wasn’t) included in that discussion. Almost immediately, we were made aware of multiple issues with that post, and removed it.

It was our hope that the original post would help bring awareness to the Problem Daughters project, and spark a discussion about intersectional SFF with our readers. Frankly, by virtue of their lived experiences, the authors and editors working on that anthology have a greater wisdom on what is and is not intersectionality than I will ever possess, and I appreciated their contribution.

However, that doesn’t absolve our editorial team of the responsibility of vetting the content that appears on Apex Magazine, and no conversation like this should be presented as a complete picture of intersectionality or even SFF in general. Going forward, we will make a greater effort to listen to the voices of our community, to learn, and include….

(4) YOUTUBE STAR EMBARASSES THE FRANCHISE. Disney’s Maker Studios and YouTube have axed some of their projects with superstar PewDiePie after he posted an anti-Semitic video reports CBS News.

The content creator, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted a now-deleted video on Jan. 11 that showed him laughing while two men held up a sign that said “death to all Jews.” Kjellberg hired the two men on Fiverr, a site where users can hire people to complete tasks for $5.

It’s not the first time the YouTube star posted a video with anti-Semitic remarks. Since August 2016, he had posted nine videos with anti-Semitic jokes or iconography, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Kjellberg has a record-breaking 53 million subscribers on YouTube, and makes millions off of his videos. Last year, he was YouTube’s highest paid star, raking in $15 million in 2016, reports Forbes.

Though Kjellberg’s signature style has been to shock fans with silly and sometimes crude humor, Disney’s Maker Studios, the division who partnered with the creator, says his latest stunts are unacceptable.

Wired specifies the affected projects:

YouTube’s response was tepid at first: It reportedly pulled ads from only one of the videos in question. But this morning the company said it was cancelling the second season of PewDiePie’s show and dropping ads from all of the offending videos, as well as pulling PewDiePie’s channel from a premium advertising program called Google Preferred.

(5) DISCOVERY ADDS BRASS. Star Trek: Discovery has cast three new Starfleet membersSciFiNow.uk has the story.

Joining Michelle Yeoh’s Captain Georgious aboard the starship Shenzhou are Terry Serpico, Maulik Pancholy and Sam Vartholomeos. In an update on the official CBS page, the network also revealed details about the characters the three actors will be playing.

Serpico, who is best known for his role in Army Wives, is set to play Admiral Anderson, a high-ranking official of Star Fleet. Pancholy, who recurred as Jonathan in 30 Rock and Sanjay in Weeds, is Dr Nambue, the Shenzhou’s Chief Medical Officer. Vartholomeos will play Ensign Connor, a Junior Officer in Starfleet Academy who was assigned to serve on the Shenzhou.

Joining Michelle Yeoh and the new additions on the Star Trek: Discovery are Sonequa Martin-Green as Lieutenant Commander Rainsford, James Frain as Sarek, Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru, Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Stamets, Chris Obi as T’Kuvma, Shazad Latif as Kol and Mary Chieffo as L’Rell.

Star Trek: Discovery will be a semi-prequel to The Original Series, set ten years before the start of James T Kirk’s five-year mission.

(6) SPEAKING OF TRUNK MANUSCRIPTS. Heritage Auctions is offering a Stagecoach Trunk once owned by Samuel L. Clemens. To own it will cost you at least $25,000 plus a hefty buyer’s fee, but you can read about it for free.

[Mark Twain]. Stagecoach Trunk once owned by Samuel L. Clemens. St. Louis, Missouri: J. Barwick Trunk Manufacturer, circa 1865. Dome-top, single compartment stagecoach trunk, likely purchased by Clemens in 1867 while he was in St. Louis, with “Property of / Samuel L. Clemens” painted in black on the outside of the lid. Approximately 9500 cubic inches, measuring roughly 18 x 18 x 30 inches. Original leather covering, geometric patterns tooled in black, with six wooden slats and two center-bands and matching binding, four edge clamps, lock, hinges, handle caps; interior lined with patterned paper, original tray fitting, later woven strap affixed to right side of interior to prevent further over-opening. General wear, as expected, lacking original handles, latches and interior tray; large portion of paper lining removed from interior of lid, dampstain to the bottom interior. An astounding artifact from arguably the most important author in American literature.

This trunk served Twain during the sweet spot of his career, those prolific years from when he published his first major work, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches in the same year that this trunk was acquired, and right through Tom Sawyer in 1876 and Huckleberry Finn in 1885. One can’t help but think that such important manuscripts were likely housed in this trunk during his travels.

Though remembered today primarily for his literary efforts and association with the Mississippi River, some of the best-loved books of Twain’s career were his travel writings, including his first two book-length works, The Innocents Abroad, about his journey on the steamship Quaker City to Europe and the Holy Land, published in 1869, and his 1872 follow up, Roughing It, about his adventures in the American West. Alan Gribben inspected a similar trunk owned by Twain, also with the paper scraped away from the interior of the lid, and argued that he opened it to its fullest position and used it as a provisional writing desk, writing notes on the wood (“Mark Twain’s Travel Trunk: An Impromptu Notebook” with Gretchen Sharlow, published in Mark Twain Journal). Conceivably, this trunk similarly functioned as a desk, potentially during the composition of his early travel works. It appears the interior paper lining was deliberately removed at an early date with roughly ninety-degree angles and is approximately the size of notebook paper (before further wear extended the right edge).

(7) FOREIGN EXCHANGE. Deadbeat roommate Thor is back. In fact, you get a whole suite of scenes with — “Rogers & Barnes. Stark & Rhodes. Thor & Darryl.” – when you plunk down real money (not Asgardian buttons) for Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange on Digital HD. A bargain at twice the Asgardian price!

(8) HOLMES OBIT. Midlands (UK) artist and bookseller Dave Holmes died February 13. Many knew him from his days working at Andromeda, Birmingham’s main SF bookstore, or at The Magic Labyrinth in Leicester.

He is one of the people David Gemmell’s Last Sword of Power (1988) is dedicated to, and at least two writers, Mark Morris and Ian Edginton, credit Holmes’ influence on their careers.

He was a character, which had its good and bad sides. As Edginton says:

He lived life on his own terms and never apologised for it. He hurt people in his life but I can’t sit in judgement. I have done questionable things in my time, things I regret and would do over again differently if I could. None of us are angels. I’m not perfect and I don’t expect my friends to be either.

Incidentally, Holmes was the fellow Iain Banks asked to hold his glass before Banks set out – as legend tells it — to climb the exterior of the Metropole Hotel during the 1987 Worldcon. (As legend tells it is not necessarily what happened, although Banks was pleased to repeat the tale as the introduction to an autobiographical account of his real urban climbing exploits.)

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 14, 278 — Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. Allegedly.
  • February 14, 1940 — Clayton “Bud” Collyer first portrayed the Man of Steel in this second episode of the Adventures of Superman radio series, broadcast on February 14, 1940. The episode (“Clark Kent, Reporter”) was the first of a serial involving a villain known as “The Wolf.”

(10) DAYS OF THE DAY. Being sf/f fans, you can easily kill these two birds with one stone —

  • International Book Giving Day

Devoted to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children and providing access to books for children in need, Book Giving Day calls on volunteers to share their favorite book with a young reader. Although the holiday originated in the UK, book lovers around the world now join in the celebrations every year.

  • Extraterrestrial Culture Day

An officially acknowledged day in New Mexico (Roswell), Extraterrestrial Culture Day celebrates extraterrestrial cultures, and our past, present and future relationships with extraterrestrial visitors.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born February 14, 1859 — George W. G. Ferris, Jr. (inventor of the ferris wheel).
  • Born February 14, 1919 – Dave Kyle
  • Born February 14, 1970 Simon Pegg

(12) TEA. Ann Leckie recommends a technological solution to a writerly dilemma in “On Tea”.

So! The first, most common pitfall in making tea: You heat the water, throw the bag (or the infuser full of leaves) into the cup, pour the water, set it on the desk beside you and…promptly forget about it as you dive into your work. Hours later you remember that tea, now cold– and bitter enough to strip paint.

Friends, there is a simple solution to this, provided you remember to implement it: a timer. This could be a voice assistant on your computer or your phone, an app made purposely for timing the steeping of tea, or a dollar store kitchen timer shaped like a strawberry. Really, it doesn’t matter, but this is a tea-hack that can cost very little and vastly improve your tea-drinking experiences.

(13) SOUND AND FURY. NPR Music interviews Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi about writing music for the screen.

So you have these early conversations, you come up with a general feel for the score, and then you start fine-tuning as you see the images and get to know the characters. Is that what you’re saying?

Correct. In the case of Game Of Thrones, before I started writing I sat down with [David Beinoff and D.B. Weiss]. We talked about the tone of the show, and I just listened to what their vision was. … They’ll say, “We really like this instrument, do you think you can make this work? We like the violin, we don’t like this.” All that information helps me, and then I go in and actually turn that into music and go from there.

What’s an example of something they might have said as you were collaborating?

One thing we always laughed about was that they said, “We don’t want any flutes.”

(14) ON THE AIR. A substitute for jetpacks? Passenger drones in Dubai.

A drone that can carry people will begin “regular operations” in Dubai from July, the head of the city’s Roads and Transportation Agency has announced at the World Government Summit.

The Chinese model eHang 184 has already had test flights, said Matt al-Tayer.

The drone can carry one passenger weighing up to 100 kg (220 pounds) and has a 30 minute flight time.

The passenger uses a touch screen to select a destination. There are no other controls inside the craft.

It is “auto-piloted” by a command centre, according to a video released by the government agency.

(15) IN THE BEGINNING. Andrew Porter draws our attention to his favorite scene in Gentlemen Broncos, the only part he likes —

Just saw the opening credits for this forgettable 2009 film on HBO. The opening credits are done as covers of SF paperbacks, using actual artwork from numerous SF magazine and paperback covers, including a lot of works by Kelly Freas.

Click through to watch a video of the credits, and read the interview with director Jared Hess.

Tell us about your initial ideas for this sequence.

JH: We had the idea when we wrote the screenplay that we wanted the opening credits sequence to be a bunch of science fiction book covers where the credits were embedded in place of the book titles. While we were shooting the film, my production designer, Richard Wright, and people on the production side were going through existing artwork to see what was available. The idea was to scan and tweak them and then print up new book covers and shoot them at the end of production.

We were first looking for stuff that looked right and helped set the tone but we quickly learned that it was going to be difficult to clear the rights since a lot were part of family estates. Luckily the artwork that I liked the most was from a guy named Kelly Freas and they were able to contact his wife — he had passed away — so most of the artwork in the title sequence is stuff he had drawn for different science fiction journals as well as books. What was weird was that a couple of the characters he’d drawn looked liked the people in our film, like Jemaine’s book. The one we have for Sam Rockwell (a piece by David Lee Anderson) also bears a striking resemblance. It was kind of uncanny.

(16) FREDDY’S FEELING BETTER. The Hollywood Reporter says Robert Englund is returning as his iconic horror movie character Freddy Krueger one final time for a documentary “focused on the special effects makeup that crafted his dream-invading youth murderer in the Nightmare on Elm Street series.”

Nightmares in the Makeup Chair will highlight the importance of practical makeup — with the help of special makeup effects artist Robert Kurtzman — in addition to Englund paying tribute to late director Wes Craven and sharing some stories from his time working on the slasher films.

(17) THE UNREDISCOVERED COUNTRY. Breaking news – London After Midnight is still lost! (You can always count on File 770 for these dramatic updates…)

Earlier today Dread Central reported rumors that a print of the long-lost 1927 movie had been discovered.  People got excited for a couple of hours. Why? John Squires explains in his post at Bloody Disgusting:

A few years before directing Dracula and Freaks, Tod Browning made a silent horror film titled London After Midnight. Starring Lon Chaney as “The Hypnotist,” the 65-minute film was distributed by MGM in December of 1927; though audiences saw it upon release, it’s likely that everyone who did is no longer with us. Sadly, the last known copy was destroyed in the infamous MGM vault fire of 1967, which tragically resulted in the loss of many silent and early sound films.

But then Dread Central had to quash its own report —

UPDATE 2: 3:40 PM PT – More info from Carey:

A film archive in The Canary Islands received what look to be nitrate frames from London After Midnight around 1995. They got these from a private collector.

In 2012, the archive opened a Flickr account and posted this image among others it was posted for about five years and nobody seemed to notice it until last month.

Then this image was posted shortly thereafter…”

These were both posted on the Facebook page Universal Monsters & More. I’ve contacted them and they have said they have more stills and that they will share them with us.

The school of thought seems to be that these were cut out of trailers for London After Midnight by a projectionist in the Canary Islands. But nobody is sure.

For now at least, it seems that LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT remains lost….

The hunt continues.

(18) GREEN SCREEN. Avengers: Infinity War has started production.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Andrew Porter, and Mark-kitteh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day, the unsuspecting Kip W.]

48 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/14/17 Whoops! Forgot To Pull The Handle!

  1. boomworm1398: Is there a traditional food for extraterrestrial culture day?

    Anything you can phone and have delivered.

  2. (1) CLARKE AWARD-ELIGIBLE BOOKS. Tom Hunter: This year we received 86 books

    Holy hell, I’ve actually read 20 of the books on the longlist (almost a quarter of them!). But at least 8 of those would not make it anywhere near my personal shortlist.

  3. (12) “Cold tea day” is how I describe a good writing session to my wife (after thirty years she understands my verbal tics). But, if I used a timer, I’d get confused about my progress.
    Cold tea at the computer. It tastes like . . .victory!

  4. @JJ: You’ve got me beat by a mile – I’ve only read four, although another dozen are in my TBR pile.

  5. PhilRM: I’ve only read four, although another dozen are in my TBR pile.

    Another half-dozen on the list are on my “hope to read before Hugo deadline” list, too.

    I was really shocked by how many I’d read. While a considerable amount of my reading order is determined by when books are received at my library and where I fall in the Hold queue on them, I’m often first in the queue because I requested that the book be ordered; so I’ve concluded that I must have some sort of Anglo partiality going on.

    Which is bizarre — because for every Clarke finalist I thought was worthy, there’s another Clarke finalist where I thought “no way in HELL”. 😉

  6. What does the scroll say.

    Ahem. #1 I’ve read four and probably will read another four (already on my list), time permitting. #2 Yawn. #12 I’m no writer (and that’s no moon), but I always time tea brewing; yet I can still suffer the dreaded cup of sludge (rarely) or, more often, cool cup of perfectly-brewed tea I forget to pick up and drink. 😉

    Mini-book-review: I just finished After the Crown by K.B. Wagers – “The Indranan War” #2. What a great book! This is a space opera series about a gunrunner who returns home to become Empress (in book 1). Book 2 starts with more intrigue, politics, inter-empire diplomacy, assassination attempts, et al. – some things we saw in book 1, but good stuff – it’s not just repetition. Then, almost halfway through, things take a left turn and we get to see the gunrunner side of Hail. I enjoyed the first part of the book, but the second part really took off and it was fun to see Hail in her element at last. It was a lot of fun and it’s replaced book 1 on my Hugo nomination list. Sadly, it came out at the end of the year (so who knows how many people have read it) and of course, the two books in one year will split nominations. Anyway, book 1 was very good, but book 2 is even better. I very much look forward to book 3! 😀 Thumbs up!

    Listening-wise, I’m enjoying Waypoint Kangaroo by Curtis C. Chen in audiobook, read by P.J. Ochlan, who I decided is doing a great job. I’m enjoying the snarky, not-always-competent protaganist. I was worried he would be a joke, some sort of bumbling idiot caricature, but he’s not. Whew!

    Next up in print is probably Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes. 🙂

  7. @Kendall

    I think you’ve got at least me and JJ with you on the Crown series. It’s good fun. My current thought is Wagers for the Campbell rather than nominating the novel(s). (Although my Campbell list is pretty damn competitive right now as well!)

    (1) CLARKE AWARD-ELIGIBLE BOOKS

    I’ve got 11, with half a dozen more on the “really ought to read” pile. Interesting to see The Fifth Season on there – the Clarke seems reasonably loose with its view of “Science Fiction” but I’m not sure a full secondary world fantasy has ever got anywhere with it. Which begs the question, does it being submitted mean the publisher doesn’t think it’s fantasy? 🙂
    Lovecraft Country is one I’ve read, loved, but isn’t on the list, but I think that might be because it doesn’t seem to have had an official UK release yet.

    (17) THE UNREDISCOVERED COUNTRY

    I’m just going to smirk at this subtitle

  8. @Mark “I’m not sure a full secondary world fantasy has ever got anywhere with it”

    China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station and Iron Council were both winners.

  9. @andyl

    And I scrolled down the list of finalists and everything! Clearly I’m still caffeine-deprived.

    Actually, both those Mieville novels are an interesting example then – for me, Fifth Season is a fantasy that takes an approach to examining its world building to say something about the real world that’s more often found in science fiction, and I think you could say the same thing about the Mieville novels. (Particularly Iron Council, which didn’t really try to hide what it was really talking about).
    If the jury see things the same way then it could be a serious contender.

    I see City of Blades is also on the submission list, and could be put in the same niche as t5thS.

    Potential book buying interest: a Steampunk Storybundle, curated by Cat Rambo. Recently their bundles have been a bit meh for me, but this was an instant buy.

  10. Re: Tea
    Ann got inspired to write that post because she overstepped a cup of tea, and then got into a conversation with Judith Tarr and I on twitter about tea and steeping..

    Just writing that sentence makes me smile a bit.

  11. Dave Holmes was working in Andromeda the day I discovered SF fandom in October ’73. Rog Peyton had placed an ad in the Birmingham University fresher’s magazine: I couldn’t quite believe I’d found an entire bookshop dedicated to science fiction. Or people who were willing to talk about it at length. Dave ran the comics section of Andromeda at the time: he once found a pristine Howard the Duck #1 for me. I haven’t seen him for years, but the world is a lesser place without him.

    (Oh, and the Banks story is perfectly true. Including the bit where our suite had been burgled, and when the police were taking statements of our losses Iain appeared over the balcony and was collared by a very satisfied cop with a “you’re nicked, son”. We had to explain this is what Iain did at conventions.)

  12. I have fond memories of Birmingham’s Andromeda bookshop. In the pre-Amazon days of the 70’s, I looked forward immensely to the bookshop catalogue dropping through my letterbox. It was the sole source of my SF books at the time, as it was the only specialist SF bookshop I was aware of. Sad day when it closed.

  13. I want that trunk. So much. Gah.

    I came over to mention the Steampunk bundle, because there’s some prime reading in there and at least one book I discovered via a mention here, I believe, Frank Tuttle’s All the Paths of Shadow, which has one of the best magical sidekicks ever.

    It was interesting putting it together and I would have loved to be able to bring in some trad titles, like Beth Cato’s The Clockwork Dagger and Nisi Shawl’s Everfair, but those were out of my reach. Two SFWA-centric bundles are coming out later this year and I’m hoping to make that a yearly occurrence.

  14. City of … seems much more blatantly fantastic to me than The Fifth Season. The Jemisin is about people with special powers which, for all we know, may be fully scientifically explicable within their world, so no more fantastic than time travel and the like. The Bennett, on the other hand, is about gods, of an utterly god-like nature.

  15. After midnight we’re gonna let it all scroll out…

    At this stage, if they find a copy of London After Midnight, it would probably be a disappointment. The fun is imagining the movie that you can’t see.

  16. @JJ: are you speaking of Clarke finalists over the years, or of this year’s unfiltered list? Bear in mind that the latter is what the publishers put forward; if UK publishers are anything like US, some of them will have few worthwhile novels and/or nothing that appeals to all tastes. And even true finalists are going to represent a … variety … of tastes, especially on a juried award; cf Thraxas \winning/ a World Fantasy Award.

    @Paul Oldroyd: Banks was lucky he pulled that at the Metropole. I remember how even-tempered enforcers were there; in the US he’d have been pretzeled before you could explain him.

  17. Back in the days of the Bath SF Group we’d pile into Graham’s car and head up the M5 to Birmingham to go to signings at Andromeda. A wonderful place, and plenty of good memories of meeting folk like Stan Robinson…

  18. Finally found my local library’s “Suggest a book purchase” webpage, which they had pretty well hidden. Used it to suggest they get Wagers’ Behind the Throne. (They have the sequel, After the Crown, but not the start of the series. They’re usually pretty good about this sort of thing, but it’s not the first time I’ve come across gaps in a series.)

    I guess I’m a slacker. I only own four books from the Clarke list, and they’re all still in the TBR pile.

  19. Chip Hitchcock: JJ: are you speaking of Clarke finalists over the years, or of this year’s unfiltered list?

    I’m speaking of the Clarke finalists over the years.

    But then, I could say the same about the Hugo novels, even prior to the Puppy slating: half of them “Hell, YEAH!” and half of them “Hell, NO!”

  20. @JJ

    Which is bizarre — because for every Clarke finalist I thought was worthy, there’s another Clarke finalist where I thought “no way in HELL

    I thought that was the normal reaction to most award finalist lists. The thing that made the Puppies special was that the basic writing craft was so horribly done. Before then and with other awards, the finalists were at worst competently written.

  21. The recommendations here inspired me to start reading Behind the Throne today. I’m enjoying it so far, but what I actually want to share is that there’s just been mention “an enormous breech of protocol” – which is an arresting image, however you read it.

  22. Here’s something a little out of the ordinary: an unpublished essay by Winston Churchill on the possibility of extraterrestrial life has been discovered. Sadly, it remains unpublished (“copyright issues”), but hopefully this will change.

  23. Hey, did anyone notice that “Seveneves” (which I still read as “Seveneyes”) was a Jeopardy question on Tuesday? I got it right, which didn’t impress anyone around me at the bar, philistines.

  24. Pixel-17
    Parable of the Pixel Scroll
    Pixel Scroll in the Ring

    After the Crown is next on my reading list, very pleased to hear it doesn’t disappoint!

  25. I tend not to worry about tea steeping much. I grew up in a household where ‘tea’ was instant Nestea mixed extra strong, and when I left home and switched to actual tea… well… a co-worker’s wife, when we met, looked at my cup and said “Ah, a woman after my own heart: nine molar tannic acid.”

    Nowadays I am limited to decaf or non-caf for medical reasons (usually peppermint rather than real tea) and still tend not to worry much about the fine points of steeping times. Living at 6000ft above sea level makes things complicated.

  26. @Rose Embolism: 12) Wouldn’t the best solution be to just have one of your Decade prepare and watch over the tea until it’s ready?

    LOL! 🙂

  27. @Dawn Incognito

    “The Great Breech of Protocol is traditionally displayed on state occasions to command the respect of the barbarians.”

  28. @ Joe H.

    Not sure if this counts as a Meredith Moment, but Subterranean Press has a pretty amazing Humble Bundle …

    Well, I think it counts. 🙂

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