Pixel Scroll 2/17/17 In The End, The Real Hugos Were The Friends We Made Along The Way

(1) WHO WILL BE WHO? Would you put money on it? Bookmakers say Tilda Swinton is a favorite to become the next Doctor Who.

Actress Tilda Swinton is the frontrunner to become Doctor Who’s next Time Lord, according to the latest bookmakers’ odds.

The Oscar-winning British star would take over the role from departing actor Peter Capaldi, who recently announced he is stepping down from the series this year after entering the Tardis in 2013.

Ladbrokes has said Swinton, 56, has been the focus of a “huge gamble” from punters, with her odds now at 7/2 after initially having entered the market at 10/1.

Other names in the running include Death In Paradise’s Kris Marshall at 4/1, Broadchurch’s Olivia Colman at 5/1 and Maxine Peake, best known for Dinnerladies and Shameless, at 8/1.

(2) REACTION. In the Scroll two days ago I excerpted Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff’s Book View Café column, “There’s a Bimbo on the Cover Verse 8: Who Reads Reviews, Anyway?”, which humorously displays her scars from a Locus review of her fiction by Mark R. Kelly.

Kelly read the column and replied –

Odd. I haven’t reviewed short fiction for Locus since 2001. And the general comments about Analog that she quotes was from one of my first columns, in 1988!

(3) SUCCESS. Tony C. Smith’s Kickstarter for Everyone: Worlds Without Walls has funded.

I’m so pleased for all the writers involved. This is now a great showcase for them. This is a time to open doors and knock down walls not build them up. This anthology is my little answer to highlighting and showcasing just what this beautiful world has to offer.

Smith celebrated reaching this milestone by announcing he has added to the book “an amazing story from top speculative writer Lavie Tidhar!”

(4) DOUBLY FANTASTIC PODCAST. Once upon a time, Scott Edelman’s guest on the Eating the Fantastic podcast edited the prozine Fantastic. He is the celebrated (and at times controversial) Barry N. Malzberg.

My guest loves Ben’s more than any other NYC deli, and who am I to turn down Barry N. Malzberg, who among other things, was winner of the first John W. Campbell Award for his novel Beyond Apollo, and both a Hugo and Nebula Award finalist for stories I published when I was the editor of Science Fiction Age magazine?

One unusual aspect to this episode is that it features as mere onlooker a writer deserving of his own episode someday—Paul Di Filippo, who felt compelled to come along and witness this recording. After all, the first of his more than 100 published stories was a Malzberg homage!

Barry and I discussed why being able to sell his first drafts was so important at the beginning of his writing career, how his debut short story collection came to be published under the pseudonym K. M. O’Donnell, what it was like to edit both Amazing and Fantastic magazines during the late ’60s, the identity of his greatest discovery during his years at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, what’s up with the long-promised movie version of Beyond Apollo, how Harry Harrison could have (but didn’t) shut down the filming of Soylent Green, and more.

(5) EYEWITNESS. Zen Cho, inspired by Likhain‘s “Letter to Apex Editors Re: The Intersectional SFF Roundtable,” has written about her experiences with Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew, in “Being an itemized list of disagreements”.

I am writing this for two sets of people. One set is the people who were targeted by RH/BS and friends or were otherwise made to feel that fandom was a hostile place because of her conduct and that of her friends and supporters.

The second set is the people of colour/non-white people who continue to interact with RH/BS. Those who participate in roundtables with her, include her stories in their anthologies, and boost her work and opinions as though she is a totally normal, OK person who has never indulged in public, worryingly detailed fantasies of violence against other human beings in her life.

To this second audience: you can talk to and work with anyone you want. We need to talk to people we disagree with, and hanging out with a person online doesn’t of itself mean you condone their behaviour. However, I want you to make sure you have thought carefully about what you are doing…

(6) WITH MANY OTHER WORDS. Adam Whitehead at The Wertzone lists the “Longest SFF Novels of All Time” in an epic post worthy of his topic. Note — after you get past #1 the titles should be more familiar.

  1. Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest 667,000 words • 1845-47 This long novel was serialised in “penny dreadfuls” of the mid-19th Century and chronicles the adventures of Sir Francis Varney, a vampire. This book’s genre credentials have been disputed (with the suggestion that Varney is actually a madman rather than a real vampire), but there seems to be a general acceptance that the book is a genuine work of the fantastic, and the longest SFF work ever published in one volume (which it was in 1847). The book was also influential on Bram Stoker’s later Dracula(1897) and introduced many of the tropes of vampire fiction, including the “sympathetic vampire” protagonist.

(7) BRADBURY FILM FEST AT IU. “Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” will be the focus of a special four-day film series at IU Cinema on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus beginning March 24. The series, which includes lectures and panel discussions, was programmed by the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.

  • 7 p.m. March 24, “Bradbury TV and Shorts Program” — The series kicks off with a unique gathering of short subjects, including the 1962 Oscar-nominated “Icarus Montgolfier Wright,” scripted by Bradbury and George Clayton Johnson. This animated film showcases paintings by Joseph Mugnaini, the illustrator closely associated with Bradbury’s books. Other short items include Bradbury stories adapted for “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone.”
  • 7 p.m. March 26, “It Came From Outer Space” — Bradbury fans and scholars will have the opportunity to view the 1953 feature film based on an original Bradbury concept and screen treatment. Paper optic glasses will allow the audience to watch the film in 3-D — a unique opportunity to see this classic Jack Arnold-directed film as it was originally intended.
  • 6:30 p.m. March 27, “A Sound of Different Drummers” and 9:30 p.m. March 27, “Fahrenheit 451” — This double bill showcases two adaptations of Bradbury’s classic novel “Fahrenheit 451.” The evening begins with “A Sound of Different Drummers,” an uncredited television adaptation of Bradbury’s novel for the 1957 season of “Playhouse 90,” followed by a screening of the well-known 1966 film adaptation by François Truffaut. The intermission will include a panel discussion of the fascinating history surrounding these two landmark productions. Separate tickets are required for each film.
  • 3 p.m. March 28, “Moby Dick” — On its final day, the series closes with two films that showcase the broad range of Bradbury’s own screenwriting talents. The first is John Huston’s 1956 production of the classic novel, which was an early success that secured Bradbury’s Hollywood reputation. A panel discussion will be held following this film and before the evening screening of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
  • 6:30 p.m. March 28, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” — Directed by Jack Clayton, this is the result of a 30-year arc of creativity that transformed an original Bradbury short story into a script, a novel and finally a successful film production.

IU Cinema director Jon Vickers has worked closely with Bradbury Center director Jonathan Eller and the center’s senior advisor, Phil Nichols, to develop the program for the Bradbury film series.

“Every session has fascinating cultural connections,” said Eller, an IUPUI Chancellor’s Professor who is also the editor of Bradbury’s early collected stories and the author of two Bradbury biographies. “The Academy Award-nominated ‘Icarus Montgolfier Wright,’ a story of our quest to reach the moon, was screened in the Kennedy White House just as those dreams were beginning to move toward reality.”

(8) GETTING THERE. Con or Bust helps fans of color go to SFF cons. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually. The group’s first newsletter includes a link to available memberships in upcoming cons, plus an account of how many donated memberships were used. For example —

Worldcon 75 donated 25 attending memberships and 25 hotel room nights, all of which have been claimed; three memberships donated by individuals have also been claimed.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born February 17, 1912 — Andre Norton

(10) LADY BUSINESS. The editors of Lady Business have provided their “2017 Hugo Nomination Recommendations”.

Another year, another Hugo nomination season! Once again, nominations for the Hugo Awards are open, to anyone who is currently a member of this year’s upcoming Worldcon in Helsinki, last year’s Worldcon in Kansas City, or next year’s Worldcon in San Jose, CA [“a.k.a., my neck of the woods. Come to San Jose! We’ll all hang out!! It’ll be great!!!” — KJ]. Nominations are open until mid-March (March 17th or 18th, depending on your time zone), so that’s plenty of time to read all those things you’ve been meaning to get to before nominations close… right?

Never fear, the editors of Lady Business are here to provide our suggestions as you decide what to prioritize on your TBR. Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything that might be worthy of a Hugo nomination, nor is it meant to be. It’s just a selection of some of the things we loved in 2016, and a few reasons why we loved them, along with some books, stories, and shows we’re still hoping to check out ourselves. Each editor’s opinions are their own, although we suspect you’d find a fair amount of agreement if we had sat down to discuss our picks.

Here’s an excerpt —

Best Short Story

“43 Responses to ‘In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako'” by Barbara A. Barnett — You might guess from my selections in this category that I enjoy short stories that take advantage of unusual storytelling formats, and you’d be right. A fascinating and creepy story that gets the feel of an Internet comments section just right. [KJ]

“The Fifth Gable” by Kay Chronister — This is a beautifully written and haunting and somewhat disturbing (I love it) story about creation and having children and loss. I’m not sure what more I can say about it that won’t spoil the reading experience, aside from that the language and imagery is lovely and haunting. Definitely worth a read. [Ira]

“From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review” by Marie Brennan — This story, told in the form of letters to the editor in a scientific journal, is set in the Lady Trent series but also stands alone. Great on its own, and it also gives a good taste of my favorite currently active series. [KJ]

(11) BATMAN TRIBUTE. In “Batman from beginning to retirement and beyond,” says Carl Slaughter, “The brooding knight broods in front of friends, foes, partners, himself, and time.”

(12) LARRY CORREIA’S BOOK TOUR. Baen Books announced that Larry Correia will tour the U.S. between July 28-August 10th in support of his latest novel, Monster Hunter Siege.

Monster Hunter Siege is the sixth novel in the Monster Hunter series. When Monster Hunter International’s top hunter was given a tip about some hunters who had gone missing in action, he didn’t realize their rescue mission would snowball into the single biggest operation in MHI’s history. This exciting series is urban fantasy with muscle—and guns!

 

City Store Confirmed
Friday, July 28, 2017 Tampa/St. Petersburg Books at Park Place 6:00-7:00PM
Saturday, July 29, 2017 Tampa Bay Comic Con Tampa Bay Comic Con
Monday, July 31, 2017 New Orleans Garden District Books 6:00-7:30PM
Tuesday, August 01, 2017 San Antonio Twig 6:00-8:00PM
Wednesday, August 02, 2017 Austin Half Price Books 7:00-8:00PM
Thursday, August 03, 2017 Dallas Half Price Books 7:00-8:00PM
Friday, August 04, 2017 Minneapolis Uncle Hugo 5:00-7:00PM
Saturday, August 05, 2017 Seattle University Books 6:00-7:00PM
Monday, August 07, 2017 Portland Powell’s Pending
Tuesday, August 08, 2017 San Diego Mysterious Galaxy 7:30-8:30PM
Wednesday, August 09, 2017 Phoenix Poisoned Pen 7:00-8:00PM
Thursday, August 10, 2017 Salt Lake City-Layton Barnes & Noble 7:00-8:00PM

Upcoming appearances by other Baen authors are listed on the publisher’s official calendar.

(13) THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. If Star Wars toys are your thing, get ready for you and your roll of hundred-dollar bills to stay up late. “Disney plans midnight ‘Star Wars’ event to unveil ‘Last Jedi’ toys”.

Walt Disney Co and major retailers will release the galaxy’s newest “Star Wars” toys at a Sept. 1 midnight event ahead of the holiday debut of the next film in the saga, “The Last Jedi,” company executives told Reuters.

The marketing push called “Force Friday II” is a sequel to an event Disney used to build buzz for merchandise tied to the 2015 movie “The Force Awakens.”

(14)  HE SAID… Are the writers for Beavis and Butthead now working for New Scientist? “Far-off asteroid caught cohabiting with Uranus around the sun”. Or maybe it’s just me….

A rare Trojan asteroid of Uranus has been found, following the same orbit as the planet. Its existence implies there could be many more of these companion asteroids, and that they are more common than we thought.

A Trojan asteroid orbits the sun 60 degrees ahead of or behind a planet. Jupiter and Neptune have numerous Trojans, many of which have been in place for billions of years. These primordial rocks hold information about the solar system’s birth, and NASA has just announced plans to visit several of them in the 2020s and 2030s.

But Saturn and Uranus live in a rougher neighbourhood: the giant planets on either side of them yank Trojans away through their gravitational pull. So Saturn has no known Trojan, and Uranus had only one.

(15) RELEASE PRESS. And while we’re in that news neighborhood. “At ease, future astronauts: NASA solving ‘space poop’ problem”.

…But what if they’re stuck in a spacesuit for days on end? Not so easy.

NASA has taken steps to address the problem and recently announced the winner of the Space Poop Challenge, a competition organized by its NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), hosted by the HeroX crowdsourcing initiative.

The winner of the prize was Thatcher Cardon, a family physician, Air Force officer and flight surgeon, whose system “MACES Perineal Access & Toileting System (M-PATS),” who utilized his knowledge of keyhole surgery to develop his design.

The competition was aimed at finding a safe, medically sound solution from taking waste away from astronauts’ bodies if confined for a long period of time.

…More than 5,000 proposed solutions from a total of 19,000 registered competitors from over 150 teams from “every country and continent on Earth (including Antarctica) participated, according to a press release.

(16) HE ROCKS IN THE TREETOPS ALL THE DAY LONG. Who among the 4 main Robins is the best?  Batman, Ra’s al Ghul, Nightwing, Red Hood, and the Robins provide insight and opinion.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Mark-kitteh for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

60 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/17/17 In The End, The Real Hugos Were The Friends We Made Along The Way

  1. 6) There’s a truncated version of Varney the Vampire available on Project Gutenberg. It’s interesting, if rather shapeless.

  2. Darn now I have to write lyrics

    Pixel Scrolldust and Filers from Mars

    Pixel scrolled guitar, blogging posts by Mike & Glyer
    And the Filers from Mars
    He scrolled it left hand
    But made it too far
    Became a special post by our gracious host

  3. More than 30 years since I read Varney and the only thing I remember is that I preferred Carmilla.

  4. (16) Meh, Stephanie Brown is my favourite Robin. I still miss the Girl Wonder campaign and accompanying women’s comics fansite… Good times, good blogs. Even if they were inspired by comics doing unsatisfactory things like saying Steph had never been a real Robin and not giving her a case.

  5. 2) Apparently the “Bimbo on the Cover” columns are reprints. There was something in the comments either here or there to that effect.

  6. The word count list (and the follow-on things it links to) are pretty fascinating. I’ve not been put off by long novels, but didn’t think my taste for them was so pronounced. It turns out I’ve read 10 of the 20 longest books, and 8 of the 28 listed series – tho none of the top 10.

    Julian May doesn’t show up in the list, and some googling didn’t turn up any page counts. It would not surprise me if her combined Pliocene Exile/Galactic Milieu books made the top 25 for series.

  7. (6) I’m frankly surprised that Cryptonomicon is longer than any of the Baroque Cycle novels.

  8. Considering the backache the Baroque Cycle novels gave me when I lugged them home from the bookstore, I’m surprised as well.

  9. 16) Best Robin is Teen Titans (animated) Robin.

    @James David Nicoll: in one Teen Titans episode, both Starfire and Raven got to be Robins. Does that count?

  10. (4) reminds me I need to get back to the Malzberg collection I grabbed a while back.

    (5) The BS/RH saga is just nuts. Like some real-world version of Heathers, but not funny.

    (6) Cryptonomicon may have more words and pages than the subsequent Baroque Cycle, but it is much, much shorter. I can attest to this, as I started the Baroque Cycle 14 years ago and am still only half-way through book 2, whereas I finished Cryptonomicon some time around 2000. Actually, that list has a lot of surprises. I honestly thought Cryptonomicon was kinda average length. I figured Wise Man’s Fear would be higher up in that list.

    (12) Correia’s not making it out to the SF Bay Area. Sad. I’d be tempted to go, just to say hi and see what the ur-Puppy is like in person.

  11. (6) Here is an idea: Why we dont just move the “Novel” category for the Hugos for works that contain more than 400,000 words? Puppies would have more problems with slating and there wouldnt be so much stuff to read.
    (And Cryptonomicon may have fewer words than any indiviudal Baroque-cycle-book, but they consists three books…)

    Roxanne! You DONT have to scroll in the red file!

  12. Mentions of Max Gladstone’s Craft series got me looking on Amazon (UK) where I found a bundle of the five titles for £9.30. By an amazing coincidence (or not…) buying the five books individually comes to exactly the same price, which was handy as I already have the first two…

  13. @Anthony – or there’s the omnibus edition of the first five Craft novels due next month for £5.39. Which is handy for me, as I (a) have been meaning to read them, but (b) haven’t actually got round to buying them, and (c) aren’t exactly short of things to read over the next few weeks …

    @Steve Wright – I remember Floating Worlds from many years back, and yes, it certainly seemed longer than its page count suggested . 640 pages in the SF Masterworks edition, I see from Amazon, and back in the ’70s we were still thinking (or at least I was) of Dune and Stranger in a Strange Land as being on the huge side.

  14. After reading the Appendix N dscussion in another thread, I was wondering if Filers have any favorite “forgotten” SF/F gems. My offering is Alexander Jablokov’s “Carve The Sky,” which comes close to outdoing Zelazny at his own game.

  15. RE: category length.

    The minimum length of novel doesn’t match current writing. There are relatively few novels in SFF anywhere near that lower bound, and yet novellas are in a boom period, and pushing its upper bound.

    RE: Doctor Who
    Way too early to speculate, I think. But its fun anyway! I saw someone suggest Janelle Morae (from Hidden Figures) In her music career,. she has done SF themed albums. I’d watch her in the role, for sure.

  16. Clicky.

    Don’t believe anyone who claims I’m awake at this hour. My dogs will tell you they lie!

    First time in decades I’m not at Boskone. No money, no place to leave dogs, and one of the two dogs has no business in a convention environment anyway. 🙁

  17. @Rob Thornton – I think several TBR piles will be growing a bit larger if this discussion takes off! Don’t have time to contribute properly now (on a library computer whicih is going to throw me off in 5 minutes) but maybe I’ll get back later today when I’ve had time to think.

  18. @Rob Thornton: in a desultory sort of way, I’ve been reading through the novels of Christopher Hodder-Williams, and I think some of his would qualify – Chain Reaction (1959) is more of a techno-thriller, but it’s possibly the most convincing account of a nuclear accident and its aftermath that I’ve ever read; Fistful of Digits (1968), seems eerily prescient with its obliquely presented villain being an emergent artificial intelligence (the sort of thing we saw a lot of, last year, from “Cat Pictures Please” to Linda Nagata’s The Red trilogy.)

    I wouldn’t put Hodder-Williams exactly in the first rank among SF writers, perhaps… but he is good, and his books repay reading, even if they come across as a bit dated today.

  19. @Rob Thornton

    I’m pretty sure that anything I claimed on here was a forgotten gem would get me ten people saying they reread it recently!

  20. Comparing Varney the Vampire with Dracula illustrates the difference between a novel and a tale. Varney hasn’t got a plot; the whole idea that a “novel” should contain people working toward a purpose didn’t exist yet. Dracula has a team of heroes trying to take down a monster, and it ends when they succeed.

    For that reason, I think Varney doesn’t belong on the list. It’s no challenge to write a tale of arbitrary length; you just add one disconnected episode after another. But writing a long novel, where all the pieces work together towards an end, is a real challenge.

  21. @ Paul Weimer; TBH, I’d watch Janelle Monáe read the phone book, but I’d rather see her do her own thing than someone else’s. A full-length theatrical Cindi Mayweather musical would be to die for.

    My vote for DW goes to Alice Lowe.

  22. @Rob Thornton: I was not impressed with Carve the sky (might have been the german translation though), but I really, really liked Nimbus.

    I used to like everything from McIntosh – but its too long for me to confidently say if they are “Lost gems” (Maybe the suck fairy came to visit). How about “A for Andromeda”?

  23. Doorways in the Sand has been out of print since the early 1990s for no good reason I could see. It must count as forgotten to a lot of people.

    The Fortunate Fall only had a couple printing in the mid-1990s.

    I loved Lee’s Forests of the Night when I read it last year. It too has been out of print in North America for ages.

  24. Hmm, forgotten gems. There are a few I can think of that are more obscure (for instance anything by ER Eddison) but I’ve still seen them pop up intermittently here.

    Maybe: Pasquale’s Angel? Alt history Florence. The inventions of Leonardo da Vinci have brought an early industrial revolution. An apprentice painter pairs up with investigative journalist Niccolo Machiavegli to solve a murder.

    I remember looking, without success, for other books by the author for a couple years. Maybe not the acme of alt-history but a favorite nonetheless (bearing in mind renaissance Florence has been a fascination for me a long time. YMMV)

  25. @Rob Thornton: I loved Carve the Sky, but I think Jablokov’s second novel, A Deeper Sea, is even better.

    Sean Stewart’s Passion Play.

    William Browning Spencer’s Zod Wallop.

    @Stoic Cynic: I’m reading (and greatly enjoying) McAuley’s latest, Into Everywhere, right now.

  26. @Rob Thornton: I don’t know if they count as obscure (especially now that New York Review Books have published them) but I love William Sloane’s To Walk the Night and The Edge of Running Water.

    re: (5): I had hoped that Mixon’s article would put an end to RH/BS’s popularity, but I have seen her pop up recently on Twitter. She sounds very much like an abuser, especially the fact she “exploited people’s best instincts — their desire to be kind, to welcome creators from underrepresented backgrounds, to give others the benefit of the doubt.” It’s hard for me not to think less of people who respect her.

  27. @PhilRM

    Until I looked up the Amazon link just now I didn’t even know he’d written anything else. I’ll definitely have to check it out!

    Another maybe forgotten gem (and maybe not. I think it’s come up here before): A Sorceror and a Gentleman. The Tempest meets Amber. A comedy of manners bordering on farce (but maybe not frenetic enough to quite make it all the way to farce). Another favorite that I couldn’t find the author’s other works (it was early to pre-Internet, our resources were different).

  28. @Stoic Cynic: McAuley’s Quiet War duology*, The Quiet War and Gardens of the Sun, is an absolute masterpiece of hard SF. He also wrote one of my favorite novellas, Sea Change with Monsters (also set in the Quiet War milieu).
    *There are actually two more in the series – and they’re excellent – but they take place much further in the future than the first two, which are directly connected.

  29. One of my perks with Amazon Prime is a free book a month, from a selection of half-a-dozen in different genres. Usually none of them look even remotely interesting, but this month I was intrigued by the blurb for Extracted by R. R. Haywood. A group of people “extracted” from the moment of their deaths by time-travel technology, and sent on a mission to prevent a world-threatening disaster. Ghod knows when I’ll actually read it, because I just don’t read books on my phone much, but I have it.

    @ kathodus: I’m highly amused that he’s booked into Half Price Books (a used bookstore chain) in 2 cities that have well-regarded independent bookstores.

  30. James Davis Nicoll notes that Doorways in the Sand has been out of print since the early 1990s for no good reason I could see. It must count as forgotten to a lot of people.

    I’ve been told that his widow who controls his estate has minimal interest in getting his work republished. The last publisher of much of his work including Doorways in the Sand was iBooks, a company created by the late Byron Preiss. Since then only a meagre handful of his works have had a new edition.

  31. @PhilRM

    I take it Into Everywhere is a follow up to Something Coming Through?

    ETA I stopped watching New Who a while ago so have little iron in this fire, but I would throw Raza Jaffrey’s name in.

  32. @StoicCynic — I love the Elizabeth Willey! And should reread them at some point.

    For forgotten gems, I’d point to Michael Reaves’ Shattered World & Burning Realm, and pretty much all of Louise Cooper’s output.

    Sad to hear about the situation with Zelazny’s back catalog. I see they’ve gotten the first four Amber books out, and Jack of Shadows and a few others, but there are still huge gaps that I was hoping would be filled one day.

  33. James Davis Nicoll says Now, why …. oh. Didn’t update his will, I take it?

    Not sure he had one. I’ve heard from some sources he didn’t, others say he did. And I won’t even hazard a guess as to the relationship between him and Lindskold. All I can say of certainty is that it’ll be a very cold day in Vahalla before his catalog gets the reprinting it deserves.

  34. > “Does anyone know the word count for Cecelia Holland’s Floating Worlds? It’s a fat book, and it certainly felt like a long one….”

    Depending on the edition, it’s anywhere from ~400 to ~650 pages, and I’d guesstimate it’s somewhere around 150,000 words long. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the worst books by a brilliant author. Until the Sun Falls, Rakóssy, and Great Maria are among the true greats of historical fiction.

  35. Longer books are getting far too common. Saga Press just sent me Book Burners, a shared universe created by Max Gladstone. It’s seven hundred and ninety pages in length…

  36. Coming in rather late, but Avram Davidson’s Masters of the Maze – a slim paperback (a novella by modern standards) that’s just packed with wonderfully eccentric stuff. So compressed that it’s not always easy to follow, but that’s part of the attraction for me. As you might expect, it’s not easy to describe but… kind of Avram Davidson does Zelazny. The titular Maze that spans times and worlds is almost the least interesting part next to the surprisingly large cast of eccentric heroes and villains, with key supporting roles for Elias Ashmole (of the Ashmolean Museum), Ambrose Bierce, and Lao Tzu, among others.

  37. steve davidson: Now Reading Arkwright by Allen Steele

    I really enjoyed that novel (but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Steele). It’s one of numerous novels on my Hugo longlist, which I am somehow impossibly going to have to whittle down to five.

  38. Shao Ping: I had hoped that Mixon’s article would put an end to RH/BS’s popularity, but I have seen her pop up recently on Twitter. She sounds very much like an abuser, especially the fact she “exploited people’s best instincts — their desire to be kind, to welcome creators from underrepresented backgrounds, to give others the benefit of the doubt.” It’s hard for me not to think less of people who respect her.

    She’s pretty much been on Twitter constantly even since the Mixon article; I don’t think she ever went away. She’s got a small group of loyal sycophants, and they take turns making nasty remarks about others in the SFF community. I have some Twitter keyword search bookmarks saved, and the RHaters frequently pop up in those searches.

    And yes, after reading that Rivqa Rafael deliberately chose BS to lead that roundtable, and that Khaw, Chandrasekera, and Uribe apparently had no problem going along with that, I must say that my opinion of all of them is pretty much in the cellar. I won’t be going out of my way to read anything by them.

  39. 6) I prefer shorter books, so it’s surprising that I’ve read more than two of these (I still haven’t finished Rothfuss’s most recent doorstop, even though I’m a fan of Aral). It’s not always true, but I generally find big books to be in need of ruthless editing and reading them is like being trapped in the corner at a party by that person who won’t stop talking.

    That RH/BS remains a member in good standing of any community just baffles me. I’m trying to think of any equivalent where a hateful, conscienceless abuser was welcomed into the community after their thin shield of respectability was finally ripped away and…nothing.

    I don’t know if they’re obscure, but I haven’t seen Cities in Flight by James Blish or Walk to the End of the World by Suzy McKee Charnas in a really long time. I loved them both and am afraid to read them again just in case the Suck Fairy has visited.

  40. Forgotten gems? I’ll toss out Donald Kingsbury’s Courtship Rite. Sorry, Heinlein fans, but this is the best novel about sympathetic cannibals. 🙂

    Really an amazing piece of world-building. Especially for a world he only used in one book. I will confess that I’m a big fan of dark humor, but this is probably one of the most obscure books that I frequently re-read.

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