Pixel Scroll 4/20/17 How Many Books Must A Pixel Scroll Down Before You Can Call Him A Fan?

(1) WORD SCULPTOR. Steve Barnes tells about his day’s writing and shares a chunk of his draft (read it at the link).

Shhhhh. I’m working on the Niven/Pournelle/Barnes collaboration today, before switching over to the pilot script. My current style of working is laying out rough text and “wireframe” and then polishing with endless drafts, embracing hacking and slashing. First drafts are like dragging a block of marble up from the quarry. Subsequent drafts are chipping away everything that doesn’t resemble an elephant. Then finally…the polishing. I’m still chipping. If I write enough, eventually a crumb of something emotional and valid will peek through, and polishing it is like….hmmm…like striking a spark. Then carefully adding tender and fanning a flame, letting that flame spread through the rest of the book. It might be ugly at first, but it’s warm. Or better, HOT. I thought I’d share the first tiny fragment from the book, which I’ve referred to as “The Cthulhu War” but might actually be called “Starborn and Godsons”.

(2) A SONG OF FLOUR AND FIRE. Camestros Felapton’s cat writes GRRM a letter – “Dear Mister Martin from Timothy T Cat”.

Dear Mister Martin,

Or can I call you George or Are-Are? You may remember me from my previous letters what I wrote you – specifically my lengthy inquiry as to whether Sue Perkins was a Stark or a Lannister or what? Camestros has since explained that I have been habitually confusing the BBC’s  ‘Great British Bake Off” with HBO’s “Games of Thrones”. This revelation has certainly cleared up many a query I had about where the story was going. Although I am still puzzled by the distinction between baking powder and baking soda – don’t worry! I understand a great writer like yourself has to have his secrets, so I’ll wait to find that out in the final episode…

That out of the way, Timothy launches into his business proposition….

(3) CULINARY PLEONASM. More restaurant hate from Jay Rayner in The Guardian — “I am sick of half-hearted desserts. Bring me a proper pudding”.

Oh sure, restaurants appear to offer desserts. But where once it would have been a list of tarts and mille-feuille, of savarins and delices, of things requiring proper pastry work, now there are just unstable creamy things on a plate. It’s an endless parade of panna cottas and half-arsed mousses. The kitchen will throw on a bit of granola or a fragment of meringue to make it look like a dessert, but that doesn’t alter the fact. It’s not. It’s a squirt from an udder, set to a wobble courtesy of a boiled down cow’s foot. It’s a failure of ambition

(4) WHO WAS THAT MASKED PERSON? Young People Read Old SFF is back, and this time James Davis Nicoll has assigned the panel James Tiptree Jr.’s “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” Evidently James let them discover some things for themselves.

Lisa: …Once I figured out what was going on, I enjoyed the story – pieces of information were revealed throughout, and the story continued twisting and turning until I finally figured out what the story was about – a future world without men. We got to hear about worlds without men in When It Changed, A Rose for Ecclesiastes, to an extent, in the dolphin story (except the women were smart dolphins). As with A Rose for Ecclesiastes, this is a man-free story written by a man. Does the author’s gender change how the manless women carry on?

After finishing the story (which seemed to have a lot more contempt for men than most men would have), I googled “Does James Tiptree Hate Women?” The results of my google search provided me with the final twist I experienced in reading Houston, Houston. This twist was twisty enough that it made me laugh out loud at my computer in surprise. It turns out that James Tiptree is actually a pseudonym for Alice Bradley Sheldon – who is, in fact, female. Well of course she was.

(5) NAME THAT BOOK. Stump the Bookseller is a site for people who vaguely remember novels that appeared when they were kids. If you look at it you will see that most of the half-remembered books are YA sf and fantasy. Here’s their most recent request. Do you recognize it? Four people agreed on the answer in comments.

There was a book that I read in the early 1970s about a girl (A) whose family took in another girl (B), I can’t remember why. Girl B turned out to have powers that she used against Girl A. I remember two scenes. Girl A was going to the prom or a big dance with her boyfriend and was going to make her own dress. Girl B made Girl A buy a pattern and color for a dress that was unbecoming to Girl A. Also, Girl B made Girl A sick right before the dance so Girl B went with Girl A’s boyfriend. I don’t remember how Girl A got rid of Girl B, but the book ends with Girl A saying whenever she reads a story in the newspaper about a wife dying, or an accident with 3 people where the woman dies, that she wonders if it is Girl B is still out there up to her old tricks.

(6) BE FREE. Teacher and author Tracy Townsend writes a series of tweets about a little-considered benefit of free online fiction. It begins here:

(7) MOMENT OF TRUTH. In “10 Questions with Hugo Award Winner Laura J. Mixon” interviewer Ryan Schneider mostly asks about her writing, and her new book Glass Houses, but he does throw a couple of curveballs –

5.Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

Outside, dammit! sayeth the engineer. The writer in me shrugs; whatever—I’m in it for the fun and glory and adventure. Just be consistent with that punctuation stuff and use it to tell a great story, and I’m yours.

6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

Pro. I’ll fight you.

(8) BEEN HERE, DONE THAT. Here are four NASA astronauts who believed in alien visitation. Leroy Gordon Cooper was one of them.

But even before he underwent the life-changing experience of becoming the first man to sleep in space, he claimed to have seen UFOs flying over Germany in 1951.

The spaceman also said he saw flying saucers spying on a secret air base where experimental American aircraft were being tested.

“I believe that these extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets, which are a little more technically advanced than we are on Earth,” he told the UN in 1984.

“We may first have to show them that we have learned how to resolve our problems by peaceful means rather than warfare, before we are accepted as fully qualified universal team members.

“Their acceptance will have tremendous possibilities of advancing our world in all areas.”

(9) KUMMING OBIT. Waldemar Kumming (1924-2017) died on April 5, age 92, according to Wolf von Witting. He was best known as the editor of Munich Roundup, a photo-filled zine about European fanac. He won a European SF Award for his services to fandom in 1984, and the Big Heart Award in 2005.

(10) MITCHELL OBIT. SF Site News reports Vicki Mitchell Gustafson, who wrote as V.E. Mitchell died on April 13, six days before her 67th birthday. Vicki was the widow of art historian Jon Gustafson, who died 12 years earlier, to the day. (Jon was a columnist for my old fanzine, Scientifriction.)

(11) IF YOU’RE LUCKY. Five days left to enter the Wrongthink Sci-Fi Giveaway being run at Robert Kroese’s BadNovelist site.

The Wrongthink Sci-Fi Giveaway is about showcasing authors who have been marginalized by the gatekeepers of the sci-fi publishing industry for the sin of not complying with progressive social justice dogma. From Sarah Hoyt, who was accused of racism and ”internalized misogyny” for her association with the Sad Puppies campaign to reform the Hugo Awards, to Nick Cole, who lost a publishing contract for daring to write a story about an artificially intelligent computer who is troubled by abortion, these authors have faced smear campaigns, boycotts and blacklisting for failing to toe the progressive line.

Just for entering, you’ll get:

Brother, Frank by Michael Bunker
The Red King by Nick Cole
Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt
The Yanthus Prime Job by Robert Kroese
The Darkness by W.J. Lundy
Nethereal by Brian Niemeier
Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson

Three lucky winners will also receive:

Wick by Michael Bunker
Ctrl+Alt+Revolt by Nick Cole
Darkship Revenge by Sarah A. Hoyt
Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese
The Shadows by W.J. Lundy
Souldancer by Brian Niemeier
Better to Beg Forgiveness by Michael Z. Williamson

Books will be provided as downloadable files, in both ebook and mobi (Kindle) formats.

(12) I, THE JURY. Aurealis Awards judge Elizabeth Fitzgerald tells what it was like.

The problem with my reckoning was that there was an embedded assumption that the award books would arrive at a regular pace. I really should have known better. The award opened for entries mid June and books trickled in until the first small rush arrived at the end of September. However, most of the entries arrived en masse in December.

To complicate matters, I suffered a bout of eye strain in November and continued to struggle with it through December. In the end, I recovered thanks to some eye drops and the inclusion of frequent breaks in my schedule. I made up for lost time by averaging a book a day throughout January and February. I didn’t watch any TV or do much of anything other than read. Now, you know I love reading, but two months and more of that started to get a bit much, even for me.

It improved my reading skills, though. I got faster. I found that 20 pages was usually long enough to judge the quality of the writing. I did a lot of skimming. And I got more comfortable with not finishing books. Prior to being a judge, I could count the number of books I’d DNFed on one hand.

I got to know my postman and the delivery guys very well. Books would show up randomly on my doorstep. It was like Christmas. And then, when it was actually Christmas, all the Aurealis books made a good disguise. My sweetheart busted me with the copy of Ninefox Gambit I’d ordered as his Christmas present. So, I told him it was another book for judging and let him take a look at it before putting it in the pile of judging books. I quietly snuck it out a couple of weeks later and wrapped it up.

(13) BOUTIQUE SERIES. Not that anybody uses the word “boutique” anymore. Recode tells why “Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ couldn’t be made into a TV show until TV changed”.

…The CEO of Starz, Chris Albrecht, previously oversaw the rise of prestige TV as CEO of HBO, including “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” and “The Wire.”

Shows like those proved that TV didn’t have to be made for the biggest audience possible.

“When you make something like ‘American Gods,’ you go, ‘This is not going to be to everybody’s taste,’” Gaiman said. “But you’re also not going to make it more to anybody’s taste by making it less like the thing that it is. You just kind of have to lean into it.”

Later entries in the prestige TV genre, like Netflix’s “House of Cards” and Amazon’s “Transparent,” changed how people watch TV, making it normal to binge an entire show in one sitting. Gaiman noted that cheapskates who don’t yet have Starz could wait until the end of the eight-episode season, sign up for a free trial and binge away.

(14) JORDAN TV. Variety reports Sony Pictures is at work on a Wheel of Time series.

The long-gestating “Wheel of Time” TV series adaptation is moving forward with Sony Pictures Television.

The series will be based on the high fantasy novels written by Robert Jordan, the pen name of James O. Rigney Jr. There are 14 novels in total, beginning with “The Eye of the World” in 1990 and concluding with “A Memory of Light,” which was finished by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007. They follow the quest to find the Dragon Reborn, who it is said will help unite forces to combat The Dark One.

Sony will produce along with Red Eagle Entertainment and Radar Pictures. Rafe Judkins is attached to write and executive produce. Judkins previously worked on shows such as ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD,” the Netflix series “Hemlock Grove,” and the NBC series “Chuck.” Red Eagle partners Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon will executive produce along with Radar’s Ted Field and Mike Weber. Darren Lemke will also executive produce, with Jordan’s widow Harriet McDougal serving as consulting producer.

(15) SFF GEOGRAPHY. Here are “11 Famous Movie Locations You Can Actually Visit” from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and more.

3 / 11

The Martian

Another earthly landscape stands in for an alien one in this 2015 Matt Damon film. Wadi Rum, or “The Valley of the Moon,” in Jordan is a close match for the red planet. The region also makes a cameo in Red Planet, Last Days on Mars, Lawrence of Arabia and Prometheus.

(16) WHACKS MUSEUM. Medieval peasants had their own ways of discouraging zombies.

Where else to learn about medieval zombies than in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports‘ latest study, (and everyone’s favorite new beach read), “A multidisciplinary study of a burnt and mutilated assemblage of human remains from a deserted Mediaeval village in England.” What a title.

If the click-baity title wasn’t evidence enough, it’s a pretty macabre read, leavened with just the right touch of osteology, radiometric dating, and strontium isotope analyses. But the upshot is that some villagers in the 11th to 13th centuries who lived near modern-day Wharram Percy in northern Yorkshire were apparently scared of zombies. So they made sure the dead would stay dead with some extra handiwork, deliberately mutilating the bodies after death.

(17) DRAMATIC PRESENTATION. Apparently this episode of Fargo featured Gloria (Carrie Coon) picking up a rocket trophy to use as a weapon. Several people thought it was a Hugo. (The linked article describes the episode, however, it doesn’t mention the trophy.)

It’s not a Hugo or an International Fantasy Award. No Hugo ever had that shape, or was designed with that kind of gap between the fins and the base. It’s an interesting puzzle. These days you can order a lot of different 3-D rocket awards online, maybe it’s one of those.

(18) SPEAKING OF. A striptease during language lessons?

….A leading adult entertainment webcam platform, unveiled “Language Lessons,” the first adult language-learning service that combines beautiful cam models with the latest translation technologies to make learning a foreign language fun and sensual. Now, in addition to camming with their favorite model in a private chatroom, fans can engage in casual conversation with them, learning an assortment of languages including Spanish, French, Romanian and English.

Daniel Dern commented – “(Obviously) (to me, a grey/white hair), I immediately thought of this classic sf story (rot13’d here to give Filers a chance to see if they can guess)…”

“Naq Znqyl Grnpu,” ol Yyblq Ovttyr, We.

Diplomat John Quincy Adams said the best way to learn a foreign language was with the help of a mistress – though he made clear he had only availed himself of the second or third best ways.

(19) MORE MARVEL. The official trailer for “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger,” coming to Freeform in 2018.

[Thanks to Wolf von Witting, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JohanP, who’s probably in the wind by now.]

197 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/20/17 How Many Books Must A Pixel Scroll Down Before You Can Call Him A Fan?

  1. @Camestros. I think this is a slap at publishers who are perceived to publish PoCs for virtue signalling purposes. Said authors would never be published by a real publisher publishing great stories. So said authors are published for quota reasons only. Aristotle!

  2. Camestros Felapton on April 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm said:
    I think it is meant to be a firewall to stop phantom SJWs winning the prize,

    And it’s bound to work, because SJWs can’t stand great stories, and are famous in puppy circles for always being truthful, so they couldn’t possibly lie about it to win.

  3. Wheel of Time TV show finally gets an executive producer and all you people want to do is argue about stupid stuff. Im not sure many of you are even genre fans. You seem to just like to say you are and then argue over stupid stuff.

    My post on WoT: Please dont suck. I hope this lands on netflix or Amazon. They have the budget to do it right. No MTV or CW. Not another goddam pretty SFF bullshit show.

  4. @Camestros

    Having said that, the third option raises an interesting question: “Books by a racially diverse group of authors”
    I’m really interested in that question. A book (or perhaps series of books) by a racially diverse group of authors? Most of the books I read are by a single author, so I can put those aside. I can think of a few novels by pairs of author but otherwise, this really can only be anthologies surely?

    I’ve been noticing lately that I only seem to read hivemind-authored books where the hive is pretty much homogeneous, species-wise and often even racially. I’m going to make a concerted effort to read only books by racially and biologically-diverse hiveminds. I suppose the Puppies, who don’t even like reading books by solo talking cats, let alone feral colonies of cats, will really get their anal sacs puffed up over this one.

  5. Kult is one of those many RPGs with some great ideas and mediocre-at-best overall actual reality. In particular, it’s one of those many ’90s RPGs where its creators tend (or at least tended then) to play it very loosely and freeform but gave it a full-blown system of the mid-crunch-level sort so common then because of course RPGs have to have that. This was one of the stupidest and most potential-wasting parts of the gaming scene then.

    They’re apparently working on a new edition now, starting from a foundation of thoroughly tweaked Apocalypse World Engine. I haven’t looked at it, but that’s a much more sensible approach. The system in the English-language material available for 1st-3rd edition is almost all a waste of time on the part of readers, players, and GMs. (I happen to be reading through stuff for the new edition of Delta Green and being reminded of how brilliantly useful and creativity-stimulating a mechanical framework that’s not far different can be.)

    The world…it’s lumpy. It has far too much tendency to repeat schticks, and would have been better with a best-of compilation that’s a lot shorter, to showcase the parts that really are clever, evocative, fascinating, moody, making great use of the metaphors, and so on.

    Short form: if you can get things like the 1st edition rulebook, the Metropolis Sourcebook for 2nd edition, and the 1st edition supplement Legions of the Damned fairly cheap, do. Otherwise, take the concept and build your own riff. 🙂

  6. @Guess: Wheel of Time just isn’t my thing, but…so many of my friends love it, and have found it welcome comfort and distraction in times when they really needed it that I definitely wish the best of the adaptation. I want it to satisfy them the way I’d hope for any adaptation of stuff that matters to me to satisfy me. Everyone benefits from that.

  7. Racially-diverse groups of authors: see item (1) above (Barnes/Niven/Pournelle)

    (I’m sure that one will have occurred to filers straight away, but I forgot to tick the box last time, so I’ll do that now and then go to bed)

    (tick)

  8. Wheel of Time TV show finally gets an executive producer and all you people want to do is argue about stupid stuff. Im not sure many of you are even genre fans.

    Getting into an argument about whether we are genre fans seems like “stupid stuff.”

    The show getting an executive producer has limited excitement value. It doesn’t even have actors or a network attached yet.

  9. @kathodus: I suppose the Puppies, who don’t even like reading books by solo talking cats, let alone feral colonies of cats, will really get their anal sacs puffed up over this one.

    I came this close to spraying beer all over my tablet.

    ETA: Is anyone else seeing this weird ~ 12-minute offset from the actual time? File 770: Twelve minutes into the future!

  10. Yes, happy Parilia/founding of Rome, everyone! Hope the next Pixel Scroll has Today’s Birthday City.

    Luckily I was in college before the D&D Satan panic happened. In my area, it was more “Look at what the stupid crazies in other towns are claiming”; the place I lived was moderately religious, but of the old mainstream sort, not fundies. My mom, who sang in the church choir was all “Wasn’t that the game you kids played during your free periods? I thought it was good for your imaginations.”

    Aren’t the Puppykickers basically Puppies at this point? Nobody’s attacking them, they got their boy in the White House, rights for women and PoCs being rolled back, saber rattling. But they gotta get that sweet, sweet outrage high somehow. Even if it means kicking themselves. I guess it’s easier than writing better books.

    @Jack Lint: I hope your Pixel Noir gets a mention in the next Scroll. Awesome.

    It is way too early to spend brainspace on a WoT TV show. So many things get optioned and never make it to the big or small screen. How long did it take “American Gods” to make it to TV? And it’s only one book! How about The Dark Tower books? Those were a for-sure thing several years back with big names, that deal collapsed, and only now are we getting something. “Foundation” projects have come and gone. “Rendezvous With Rama” was optioned in 1974. Jodorowsky’s “Dune”. Let me know when WoT has a release date.

    closes eye, puts tail over nose, goes back to sleep

  11. PhilRM: ETA: Is anyone else seeing this weird ~ 12-minute offset from the actual time? File 770: Twelve minutes into the future!

    Yes. I have never been able to figure out what causes it. It runs ahead of my computer as well, so I know that’s not what’s setting the time. Any of you WordPress geniuses who have an idea, chime in.

  12. The only D&D panic we had when I was a youth was the one guy in our group whose mother would have flipped if she had known that’s what he was doing. We literally called it “Q&Q” at his house, because apparently that was enough to quell the issue.

    OR, we were teenagers who thought that was a clever enough unbreakable code.

  13. Christian panic over D&D:I remember that, but I remember it as being something that seemed to be more media sensation than real concern. Adults in my experience at the time were taking the attitude of “But isn’t this just a board game?” They paid some extra attention on the grounds that they could be wrong and it might conceivably turn out to be serious and they should pay attention just in case, but they didn’t expect it to. The two books got some attention, but Mazes and Monsters in particular had the effect of making people take the “panic” less, not more, seriously. Rona Jaffe, after all, was a gossip columnist or some such, not someone to take seriously. The Michigan case of the boy disappearing and the detective thinking it was related to D&D got some concern going, but even that didn’t get beyond “pay some attention just in case,” with a side of “normal kids should be fine with it, but this might be a problem for emotionally unstable kids.”

    That is, at least, how I remember it, in my area and among people I knew. It was pre-internet as a widespread thing, and as someone else said, a lot more fragmented.

  14. @Guess

    Not every genre fan cares about WoT. After I waited for something to happen through three of the books, my interest in Jordan’s works waned to zero. But I wasn’t a big fan of ASoIaF, either. The Malazan Book of the Fallen is more my speed. 🙂

  15. So rarely can my capsule review of a book be taken from the final chapter of the book itself without really spoiling.

    Too Like the Lightning: read not this manuscript yet. For you the price is grief. I would not have you suffer until I can, at least, bring with that suffering the consolation of understanding.”

    Read those content warnings on the first page, kids. They are not fucking around.

  16. It runs ahead of my computer as well, so I know that’s not what’s setting the time. Any of your WordPress geniuses who have an idea, chime in.

    My web servers like to wander away from the correct time, if left to their own devices. I run a script daily that sets the time correctly by calling a time server. I expect that’s what is happening to File 770.

  17. kathodus: “As nasty as that “true story” may have been, it did seem to help spawn the super-Satanic/horror death metal scene in B.C.

    Whoa, what? Now I’m seeing a mental image of a “super-Satanic/horror death metal scene” in a newspaper comic strip about cavemen. After thinking a moment, I realized “B.C.” probably stands for British Columbia, but it threw me for a moment there. (Especially considering B.C.’s writer/artist Johnny Hart was openly Very Very Christian.)

  18. Camestros:

    Most of the books I read are by a single author, so I can put those aside. I can think of a few novels by pairs of author but otherwise, this really can only be anthologies surely?

    I haven’t actually read any of the Wild Card novels, but as I understand most of them are collaborations between several authors – as in, they’ve written a chapter/story each and the chapters line up to tell a longer story. I don’t know how racially diverse the group is, though – I suspect they’re too white to really set the hounds baying.

    ***
    I have vague recollections about people trying to create a moral panic about satanists in various forms, but I can’t remember that panic ever really took hold. And that’s despite us having actual church-burnings by “satanic” black metal musicians in the early 90s. (With the most (in)famous guy styling himself “Count Grishnack” after an orc in Lord of the Rings.)

  19. Matthew Johnson:
    In Space, No One Can Hear You Scroll

    If that’s the tagline for Alien…

    Aliens: There’s Pixel Scrolls all over the place!

    Alien 3: 3 times the Pixels. 3 times the Scrolls. 3 times the Kerfuffle
    (Or should that be 5 times?)
    .
    .
    .
    Alien: Covenant: The path to Scroll begins in Pixels.

  20. Guess

    Wheel of Time TV show finally gets an executive producer and all you people want to do is argue about stupid stuff. Im not sure many of you are even genre fans. You seem to just like to say you are and then argue over stupid stuff.

    My post on WoT: Please dont suck. I hope this lands on netflix or Amazon. They have the budget to do it right. No MTV or CW. Not another goddam pretty SFF bullshit show.

    I’m tugging my braid in suspense but you can’t see that.

    That’s a series that is in a no win situation. Book fans will complain if it doesn’t follow the books, but there’s no chance in hell of those books being able to be adapted into a TV series without major revisions.

  21. Over here in Germany or at least in my part of it, parents and teachers were too busy freaking out about ouija boards to freak out about D&D or more precisely, the local competitor The Dark Eye. And yes, it was a fully blown moral panic and just as silly and unfounded as all of them.

    Coincidentally, even years later, I still hid any books about paganism and the occult as well as things like tarot cards, runestones, etc…, when my parents came to visit. I didn’t stop doing that until I was around 30, some fifteen years after the moral panic about ouija boards.

    Also fun: Here in Germany, wearing jewellery with runes or symbols of norse mythology will cause certain busybodies to believe that you’re a Nazi. As a result, jewellery with runes or norse symbols are on my list of things I will not wear at school along with anything involving pentacles, skulls and any sort of religious symbol.

  22. @Johan P: I read several before getting tired of the tone getting darker and darker. I’d say that the stories in some of the books are slightly more closely related than those in Thieves’ World but not much; in other cases a small number of authors had alternating pieces (IIRC) which might be a little more connected (at least by common background). It’s unclear how much this was from GRRM imposing mere disorder on the chaos, how much was collaboration, and how much was “You can give my character a small part in your story (cf Liavek)

  23. Guess: Im not sure many of you are even genre fans.

    Fortunately, no one on here is required to pass your Real Fan Test™, or to care in the slightest about your opinion of their status as a fan.

  24. Wheel of Time TV show finally gets an executive producer and all you people want to do is argue about stupid stuff. Im not sure many of you are even genre fans.

    I read the first book in the series and never felt motivated to read further. I have the books somewhere, probably boxed up right now as we clear space for the impending munchkin.

    I guess that makes me “not a genre fan”. I mean, I only read a couple dozen science fiction and fantasy novels last year, and none of them were Wheel of Time books, so I’m clearly not interested in genre stuff.

  25. @Camestros: “I’m really interested in that question. A book (or perhaps series of books) by a racially diverse group of authors? Most of the books I read are by a single author, so I can put those aside. I can think of a few novels by pairs of author but otherwise, this really can only be anthologies surely?”

    Anthologies… they’re good books, Camestros! 😉

    @Guess: “Wheel of Time TV show finally gets an executive producer and all you people want to do is argue about stupid stuff.”

    I have a long-time, well-earned aversion to all things Wheel of Time. Goes back to 1988 and the days of Fidonet bulletin boards… and if I say much more, it’s liable to become a rant.

    @PhilRM: “File 770: Twelve minutes into the future!

    If we gain eight more minutes, we’ll have to notify Matt Frewer. (And possibly the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.)

  26. @Guess: “Im not sure many of you are even genre fans.”

    Probably not. I recommend running far away and never returning, just in case it’s catching. 😛 ::eyeroll:: (or as auto-correct has it, “eyeball”?!)

    #WrongFanHavingWrongFunIGuess?! (ha, get it? “Guess”)
    #NotEnoughSleep

  27. @Bruce Arthurs

    Whoa, what? Now I’m seeing a mental image of a “super-Satanic/horror death metal scene” in a newspaper comic strip about cavemen.

    Now that’s a great misreading.

    @Guess – I also didn’t comment the other day on the subject of that Mountains of Madness movie that Guillermo del Toro will, sadly, probably never make, and I am far more fond of Lovecraft than Jordan. WoT stresses me out because I managed to slog through about six books (after enjoying the first two) before grinding to a halt. The paint drying pace of the plot, the obsessing with fashion, and yes, the braid-pulling was just too much for me. I meant to get back to it but never could manage it, and now I fear I’ll have to re-read it if I want to finish. So yeah, thanks for rubbing salt into that wound, you beast.

    Now back to my utterly non-genre reading…

    ETA @HelenS LoL!

  28. “Also fun: Here in Germany, wearing jewellery with runes or symbols of norse mythology will cause certain busybodies to believe that you’re a Nazi. “

    In Sweden, it i more about which runes. There are some that has been adopted by the nazis. A Tor’s Hammer is still ok and not that uncommon.

  29. The S rune in its own, i.e. not in connection with other runes, is actually banned, because the SS appropriated it as a symbol. In shops and at stall that sell pagan jewelery, you can get every rune as a necklace except for the S rune.

    Thor’s hammer is under suspicion as well, though the Nazis never appropriated that symbol. I have a gorgeous steampunk version and am careful where I wear it.

  30. The Odal rune is the one used by nazis in Sweden. Then the suncross and the less common tyr rune. There are four, five others, but I’ve never seen them.

    So in Sweden it is mostly enough to skip out on the runes above, at least if you use them on their own.

  31. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
    IIRC, Le Guin’s other stories in that universe did mention that Earth went through a lot of societal convulsions (war, religious upheavals) before joining the Ekumen. I felt okay with the idea that at some point society on Earth regressed to some reactionary point that society in Genly Ai’s time was just beginning to shake off (again).

    Hell, there’s a regression happening right now. 🙁

  32. Huh. The suncross (or rather, the identical shape) is inextricably linked in my mind to the Dark is Rising, instead. I’m rather sad to have that association thus tainted.

  33. In reactionary anti-fascist circles here in the US, any Nordic runes are considered sketchy (but especially the Odal), any depictions of a sunwheel, the Celtic Cross, Thor’s Hammer pendants, etc.. To be fair, pretty much all of those symbols have been “appropriated” by some White Power group or other, but I don’t like the idea of militant white supremacists effectively erasing eg. Nordic culture for the rest of us just because they’re jerks and think that’s their heritage.

    That’s not to say that you never see any of those symbols – a lot of people who are into that kind of thing just ignore the outrage, and most people who aren’t on one side or the other or the other don’t have any idea what any of those symbols signify.

  34. kathodus

    I also didn’t comment the other day on the subject of that Mountains of Madness movie that Guillermo del Toro will, sadly, probably never make, and I am far more fond of Lovecraft than Jordan. WoT stresses me out because I managed to slog through about six books (after enjoying the first two) before grinding to a halt. The paint drying pace of the plot, the obsessing with fashion, and yes, the braid-pulling was just too much for me. I meant to get back to it but never could manage it, and now I fear I’ll have to re-read it if I want to finish. So yeah, thanks for rubbing salt into that wound, you beast

    I re-read some of the series when new books would come out but books 6-10 were too much of a slog for me to even want to do that. Luckily there are wikis with plot summaries which were all I needed to refresh the events in my head and catch up, and are an amazing assistance. So while you wouldn’t have to totally do a re-read you’d have to read 7-10 which ugh. I mean after it picks up and sticks the landing but in this case the journey to get there starts generic, gets interesting, then is like a car trip through Nebraska only longer.

    Good luck to those who try to adapt that.

  35. I hang out in a fairly Norse-heavy SCA area near a fairly large population of Icelandic heritage, which means I see Thor’s hammers on my friends’ necks roughly as often as I see crosses. (My little brother’s day care service is unofficially named Viking Nanny, and I have a friend where she and her boyfriend do Nordic-themed jewellery, usually accompanied by explanations of meanings which could not even slightly be misconstrued as white-supremacist-positive. I’ve been behind that booth selling for her on more than one occasion.) So it is both unsurprising (because co-opting Norse stuff for these purposes is a Thing) and surreal (because of whom I see wearing them) to hear about these connections to movements none of us would touch with a 50 foot pole, much less a 10 foot one.

  36. @Matt Y – I should have been more clear – I read the first two books, then slogged through the next six. So your post, which was encouraging already, is moreso given I can read the summaries of the first eight, then continue on where I stopped, at book nine. Oh, wait – actually. reading the wikipedia entry for the series, I just realized the last book I read was book nine. Huh. That’s very encouraging. I can read the summaries and start on book 10 – so only having five books to go. That would be worth it.

    I found WoT alternately great and terrible – the world-building is superb, I like that it’s kind of SF disguised as F, I very much enjoyed the Tolkien pastiche that was the first and somewhat the second books. Much of the imagery is cool. I’ve heard that most of the elements I hate are toned down or removed post-Jordan. Hopefully that’s the case.

  37. Matt Y: then is like a car trip through Nebraska only longer

    That is the most apt description of the bad parts of The Wheel of Time that I’ve ever read.

    In fact, it’s a great description of “never-ending tedium” I will be stealing it (I still have bad flashbacks to a 3-week car trip holiday my dad insisted on when we were pre-teens, of which Nebraska was a definite lowlight).

  38. kathodus: I’ve heard that most of the elements I hate are toned down or removed post-Jordan. Hopefully that’s the case.

    My recommendation is that you read the synopses up through 11 and then read 12, 13, and 14 (now with 75% less lap-sitting and braid-pulling!).

    My personal opinion is that Sanderson should have had a Hugo for making a reasonably well-paced, satisfying ending out of that hot mess.

  39. Genly Ai was a mobile of the Ekumen (not “prime mobile”) meaning he was sent out alone to explore and, hopefully, negotiate with the locals, if he could first convine them that he really was from another planet. (He tells the reader that the first four mobiles sent to one planet had been locked up as insane.)

    Earth governments sometimes send out ambassadors whose “qualification” is being friends with someone important. That works, sometimes, because the country they are ambassador to knows that there’s a government backing them: J. Random Millionaire isn’t one person showing up trying to convince New Zealand of the existence of the United States, and they have trained diplomats to back them up. (I am told that the Czechs were happy when Shirley Temple Black was ambassador to Czechoslovakia, because they knew that President Reagan would take her calls.)

    A mobile of the Ekumen doesn’t have that. Instead, they’re sent alone, because one alien is a curiosity, and two is an invasion.

  40. Ah, Nebraska road trip. Much more interesting if you’re a rail enthusiast and get off of the Interstate and instead follow US-30 and the original trans-continental rail line, which I did on my drive to last year’s Worldcon.

  41. @Vicki: I had forgotten those details; they do suggest that a mobile should be flexible, although we don’t know just how the Ekumen picks them. I wonder whether Le Guin now regrets some of that emphasis (as IIRC she long ago regretted using “he” as the default — another slip in portraying Ai?).

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