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. Further evidence the rocket is supposed to be a Hugo Award: a secret hiding space in the man’s house contained dusty old SF/F books The Dungeon Lurk and Planet Wyr (or Wym).

    Also: N punenpgre va na hcpbzvat rcvfbqr cynlrq ol Gubznf Znaa vf Gunqqrhf Zboyrl, n fpvrapr svpgvba nhgube.

  2. “Does James Tiptree Hate Women?”
    ….Well, she DID murder her husband, and some strongly suspect he wasn’t as far gone as she claimed. When you murder your wife in a murder-suicide, you’re a typical misogynist monster. When you murder your husband in a murder-suicide, you’re a tragic feminist heroine…….

  3. 11) So they’re giving you seven ebooks to get your e-mail address. Interesting.

  4. Fifth!

    1.Niven/Pournelle/Barnes
    Wait, a new one?

    4 Author identity as a twist. Hunh. I started reading Tiptree after her identity was revealed but I didn’t see that revelation, and I remember reading a few comments on short stories about how “he” was an important voice. So I discovered the connection by accident after I had read a decent chunk of Sheldon’s stories…

    11) Wrong think. :sigh:

  5. @Robert Reynolds: E-books by a collection of authors so “marginalized” that they are all able to publish their books, with many of them published by a reasonably prominent traditional publisher.

  6. (11) Well, I was raised by someone who’s been in publishing for over 50 years by now, and I’ve been published for 28 years (I started as a zygote, obviously), and a depressingly large number of my friends and acquaintances are in publishing… So, gosh, why listen to me, maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about, etc. But in my observation and experience, writers get “marginalized by the gatekeepers” when their books aren’t selling. There are occasionally other reasons (such as: this writer is much too unreliable and difficult to work with). But far and away the most common reason for being “marginalized by the gatekeepers” is that your work isn’t earning well.

    This isn’t necessarily the writer’s fault. A lot of books are published badly or incompetently or negligently or all of the above. Additionally, publishers often seem incapable of rational thought and are therefore unable to recognize that your book being released 3 days after 9/11/01 or the week of Hurricane Katrina or Nov. 9, 2016 might have affected sales and should (in a rational business) be taken into account. Many writers have been on the receiving end of a conversation that goes something like this: “We still love the book you delivered, but we made a number of fatal mistakes in packaging and publishing it, and we did nothing to promote it, and we’re going to make that up to you… by dropping you like a hot rock now.”

    But the bottom line is that, whatever the reason, “marginalized by the gatekeepers” is almost always about “the book(s) didn’t make enough money.”

    No one cares about your politics. They might care about your bad behavior if you make yourself obnoxious enough in your dealings with them or offensive enough to readers or the public. But no one in publishing cares whether you’re anti-choice, anti-civil rights, anti-education, etc. They care whether your books sell.

  7. Paul Weimar summed it up perfectly. “Wrongthink. (sigh)”

    Whenever I see Puppyish rhetoric, I wonder how such silly, temperamental, paranoid, entitled people get through the day.

  8. @11 – Thanks. At least I can get Freehold in ebook instead of my hardback copy.

    @ Laura Resnick – at least a couple of those authors sell pretty well. They can make a living off of it without a day job.

    Why do you care so much? “I wonder how such silly, temperamental, paranoid, entitled people get through the day.” When you see something “puppy” do you have an uncontrollable rage?

    I did not know until a few minutes ago that you were Mike’s daughter. I own quite a few of his books. The Soothsayer series and the Widowmaker series are personal favorites.

  9. When you murder your wife in a murder-suicide, you’re a typical misogynist monster. When you murder your husband in a murder-suicide, you’re a tragic feminist heroine…

    I think the reaction is a lot more complicated when an elderly spouse takes the life of a seriously ill partner and then commits suicide. The toll that situation takes on a spouse is staggering.

    It’s not the same situation, but I lost my father this February at age 70 after he suffered increasing paralysis and other terrible health problems over the course of a decade. My stepmother went through an enormous amount to take care of him. The government assistance they qualified for wasn’t close to what they needed.

  10. airboy: When you see something “puppy” do you have an uncontrollable rage?

    What does pointing out that the Puppies’ behavior is, at turns, silly, temperamental, paranoid, and/or entitled have to do with “uncontrollable rage”?

    Her post is laughing at them. It’s very interesting that you would read “uncontrollable rage” into that.

  11. Anyone else read Three Parts Dead, by Gladstone? (I know, I’m behind the fair. ) How soon did everyone guess the denouement? I was pretty sure midway through chapter two, who and what. I pooched how and why, but I had the other two.
    Was this about average?

  12. @3: at least he’s still getting deserts; the BBC today reported a campaign to get schools to serve fewer “puddings” and more healthy food.

    @4: an interesting set of reactions; I find myself wondering how much these people are learning to read SF.

    @18: the answer took me longer than it should have; I like a number of that author’s shorter pieces, although if I had to pick favorites I’d list “Gur Gharfzvgu” or “Fcner gur Ebq” (musical bias showing…).

    @KBK: [citation needed]

  13. Quoted from one of the (4) reviews with my only possible comment being flailing hands and gallows laughter:

    Tiptree probably knows better than me, if she says women never feel violent urges who am I to argue.

  14. @Chip Hitchcock: I love “Gur Gharfzvgu”. There’s also “Becunaf bs gur Ibvq”, another music-based story.

  15. “Aw, hell no! Right after I graduate, I’m gonna cut the scrolls off my shoes, sit in a tree, and learn to file the pixels!”

  16. 3) they are better off without desert anyway. Save the calories for chocolate.

    14) that is a book that would convert well to the screen.

    4) one of my favorite stories. Most women’s world type stories take the ‘really women are the same as men” approach. It was interesting to read this “what if gender stereotypes are basically true” approach.

  17. Chip Hitchcock: KBK: [citation needed]

    “KBK” is the commenter who shows up periodically to insist that Eric Leif Davin definitively proved that there has never been any discrimination against women in science fiction and to rant about feminists. I probably triggered KBK’s ego Google Alert by mentioning Davin’s incomplete statistics 48 hours ago.

    KBK’s rant about Sheldon is certainly enlightening.

  18. The Puppies are and always will be about marketing. The question is whether they really generate more sales than turn off potential buys. Who knows? There’s certainly a healthy industry that engages in publishing all the dreck by Ann Coulter and the like.

  19. @Kiip W: That’s great! And while we’re on the subject, and while we’re on the subject, and while we’re on the subject:

    Don’t Scroll That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pixels
    Everything You Scroll Is Wrong
    Scroller Maidens From Outer Space
    I Think We’re All Pixels On This Scroll
    Returned For Re-scrolling (a rare lower-case scroll)
    This Is Pixel Scrolling. What Can I Do For You?

    11) One of those books is pretty good, so far. I’m not interested in the others enough to get an e-copy of it, though.

    18) I’m a big, big fan of that story, but it didn’t occur to me in this context. I think Our Protagonist would have had something to say about such pedagogical tactics.

  20. @airboy

    @ Laura Resnick – at least a couple of those authors sell pretty well. They can make a living off of it without a day job.

    IOW, the person who claimed they were “marginalized by gatekeepers” didn’t know what he was talking about? Color me unsurprised.

    Why do you care so much? “I wonder how such silly, temperamental, paranoid, entitled people get through the day.” When you see something “puppy” do you have an uncontrollable rage?

    And now I’m wondering what part of “silly” etc. makes you think I (a) “care so much” and (b) feel “uncontrollable rage.” I also notice you cherry-picked there, leaving out the “whenever I see Puppy rhetoric” preface to “I wonder how such silly” etc. If your impression is that I wander daily through my life wondering why Puppies are so silly, you are mistaken and need to read more carefully.

  21. @11–
    I went to Amazon to check out the previews on some of those books. My latest opinion is that their real problem–not gatekeepers, SJWs etc–is that they’re basically writing pulps and B-stories and that distribution and support system just isn’t there like it used to be.
    I used to work in the drugstore in my hometown from about 1969 to 1972 and I remember the piles of paperbacks we got in–cheesy, lurid covers and adequate writing. I’m not an e-book person but too many covers I see just look cheap; and not in a fun way.
    I stopped by my favorite used book store here (Aardvark Books) and they have a bunch of pulps from the 60s with wonderful horrible covers and authors you’ve never heard of. Publishers churned those out but times change, kids. Be thankful you’ve got e-publishing. You guys seem to vacillate between congratulating yourselves on getting published that way and being superior about it and bitching that you HAVE to publish that way.

  22. Laura Resnick: If your impression is that I wander daily through my life wondering why Puppies are so silly

    It’s not as if figuring out the answer to that requires a Rocket Scientist, or more than a few seconds — never mind multiple days. 😀

  23. @rcade

    Also: N punenpgre va na hcpbzvat rcvfbqr cynlrq ol Gubznf Znaa vf Gunqqrhf Zboyrl, n fpvrapr svpgvba nhgube.

    So Thomas Mann is appearing in Fargo now? 62 years after his death? That’s remarkable.

    11.
    So Michael Bunker has thrown his lot in with the puppies now? That does not seem like a good career move to me, never mind that an author who was always self-published could hardly be marginalized by gatekeepers.

  24. Puppies imagine those disagree with them must be enraged, because that’s how the Puppies react to disagreement.

    In order to be polite, I attempted rage a few times in Puppy discussions. But it just made me hiccup. So I gave up on that.

  25. @Harold Osler:

    Aardvark Books

    Oh, to be on Church Street and walk in there one more time! It was a stop on our honeymoon, on which we brought a suitcase inside a suitcase to carry books back home. I’ve bought books there for–was it there thirty-five years ago? I think it was, though that nice homestyle greasy spoon by it shut down. Morning Due is nice, but.

  26. I rarely make plans to go out the night before we have an early flight the next morning but I’m making an exception next month because of a single-night appearance by Jay Rayner. Besides his great writing for The Guardian, we are always happy when we see that he’s one of the judges for the “restaurant critic” segment on MasterChef.

  27. Department of redundancy department, typo division: “six days before her birthday 67th birthday”

  28. Have we had…

    The Scrolls Are Alive With The Sound of Pixels
    How Do You Scroll A Pixel Like Maria
    Raindrops on Scollers and Pixels on Kittens

  29. (2) Mr. Cat is quite the keen observer of people desserts.

    (6) About the only time I’ve seen “think of the children” deployed for good.

    (11) So “marginalized by sci-fi publishing” means “regularly published and distributed in dead tree and ebook by a sci-fi only publisher”? Mmmkay.

    (14) How many years will this take, I wonder? Not one per book, for sure.

    (15) I’ve been to two of them. Yay me?

    (17) Non-union equivalent of Hugo Award also? (It ain’t a Hogu either)

    (18) Seems to me it’d be distracting, but someone’s gonna make money.

  30. C.A.Collins

    Anyone else read Three Parts Dead, by Gladstone? (I know, I’m behind the fair. ) How soon did everyone guess the denouement? I was pretty sure midway through chapter two, who and what. I pooched how and why, but I had the other two.
    Was this about average?

    I just finished it. I sort of implied what you just said in yesterday’s pixel roundup threadamajig – basically, I enjoyed the book, even though the plot was nothing new at all. I liked the world-building and the writing.

    @Airboy – Not to pile up, but I don’t understand why you thought Laura’s response to the latest airing of Puppy grievances was overwrought or inappropriate. They once again can’t help but explain their activity (literally, a self-published book giveaway – a promotion) as some sort of heroic anti-SJW activism, that while they know they will once again be trod upon for their wrong thinking, nevertheless, they shall persist! I mean, it’s called the Wrongthink Sci-Fi Giveaway, fer Xenu’s sake! They are still defining themselves as the heroic rebels fighting the SJW elite, despite no sign of any SJWian opposition. Why is that? Some of us suspect it is to increase their sales, by appealing to others of the constantly-aggrieved demographic. You could maybe argue that the best way to get them to stop yipping is to ignore them, but that wasn’t the angle you took.

  31. Jamoche: Department of redundancy department, typo division: “six days before her birthday 67th birthday”

    Break open the casks of appertainment!

  32. I’m cautiously hopeful about the Cloak & Dagger TV show, as I’m a longtime fan of the characters. I somehow expect they won’t keep Tandy’s cut-to-the-navel leotard costume, so I’m curious to see what they come up with. It’d be neat to see ’em cross paths with Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen…

    I can’t help wondering why Kroese and company didn’t put together a StoryBundle package. I’ve read some of the books in that list, including his Starship Grifters, which I enjoyed well enough to ask when the sequel was coming. He said something about his fantasy series being more popular, so that was where he was putting his effort.

  33. Mister Dalliard: I can’t help wondering why Kroese claims to be marginalized by the gatekeepers in the most recent post on his blog while in the post immediately prior to it he proudly shows off the starred review in PW for his latest novel published in hardcover by Macmillan.

    It’s the Puppy Marketing Plan™, isn’t it? They can’t sell their books based on awesome writing, so they have to try to obtain customers by appealing to a certain demographic’s sense of political outrage.

    The problem with that is that is that their potential customer base is a very limited subset on the Venn diagram of

    Conservative and Reactionary SFF Fans

    SFF Fans who are willing to pay for sub-par works from authors who flatter their political leanings

    I figure that after several years of Puppy campaigns, they’re approaching saturation of that limited market, and struggling to come up with new ways to expand their readership.

    So this latest promo will garner each author a set of all the e-mail addresses for the readers who respond to this campaign, whom they will then spam with more promotions for their own work.

    It seems to me that they’re getting a little desperate at trying to continually gin up money-spending outrage from a cow that’s probably already been thoroughly milked.

  34. Mister Dalliard: I can’t help wondering why Kroese claims to be marginalized by the gatekeepers

    In addition to any other reasons, it’s pretty typical for puppies to latch on to sociological terms they see frequently used by the dreaded SJW bloggers and try to wrap themselves in them and claim a reverse victimhood.

  35. (4) WHO WAS THAT MASKED PERSON?

    Kudos to Lisa for leaving her original pre-googling reaction in the review. It was very interesting (and she didn’t say “ineluctably masculine” which puts her ahead of Silverberg!)

    (6) BE FREE.

    I’d agree with her that any move to reduce the short fiction categories would be counter-productive, although if I’m remembering correctly NoaF weren’t actually suggesting that this year. Novelette can be a bit of a vague category at times, but at its best a novelette length story gives an author a bit of space to properly develop an idea that would otherwise only get sketched out in a shorter piece.

    (11) IF YOU’RE LUCKY

    For the cherry on the cake, check out the sweepstake question and available answers.

    (12) I, THE JURY

    That was interesting. I’ve been wondering what an award jury actually looks like from the inside, so that was a nice perspective, especially about needing to be more willing to DNF a book. I’d assume that if a fellow juror was convinced something was fantastic then you’d give it a second look, but other than that there’s not much point persisting if you’re really not liking a book.

  36. @kathodus
    The world building, magic system, etc was grand, but the mystery was . . . less thinky than I’d hoped.

  37. Rev Bob: the “Yanthus Prime Job” in the free packet is in the same universe at “Starship Grifters”. Also his “Aye, Robot” is the proper sequal. He’s also writing a third Rex Nihilo novel called “Out of the Soylent Planet”.

    The sequal to his “The Big Sheep” comes out soon.

  38. (11) I actually think this is more to do with building a shared identity than with marketing. There’s no clear line between the two, of course, but I don’t think there’s enough money at stake for it to be a purely cynical exercise – and my experience is that, unless they have an immediate specific need, people want validation more than they want cash.

    What it reminds me of is the way tabletop-RPG fandom here in the UK reacted to the weird Christian panics about D&D in the late 80s. There was never a real threat – it wasn’t exactly mainstream in the States and we only had a tiny spillover of that – but I remember a tremendous enthusiasm to embrace the idea that we had enemies, because having an enemy means someone has noticed you and cares what you’re doing.

  39. @JJ Venn diagrams and symbolic logic. Way too early here for that for me 🙂

  40. Ghostbird: having an enemy means someone has noticed you and cares what you’re doing

    Or, if you’re a Puppy, in the absence of anyone giving a shit about you, you pretend that you have enemies to try to make yourself feel important. 🙄

     
    Paul Weimer: Venn diagrams and symbolic logic. Way too early here for that for me

    Next Up: Excel Graphs and Powerpoint Presentations. MWAHAHAHAHA 😈

    (okay, so I’ve been hanging out with Camestros far too much)

  41. “What it reminds me of is the way tabletop-RPG fandom here in the UK reacted to the weird Christian panics about D&D in the late 80s. There was never a real threat – it wasn’t exactly mainstream in the States and we only had a tiny spillover of that – but I remember a tremendous enthusiasm to embrace the idea that we had enemies, because having an enemy means someone has noticed you and cares what you’re doing.”

    I was once at a concert with the Heavy Metal band Manowar some time in the beginning of the 00:s.. They seemed to have embraced that mentality. They started their concert with a passionate speech on how they had tried to stop them from coming to Stockholm and play and I remember we were shaking our heads. Who were these “they”? Some confused Jehovas witnesses lost at the airport?

    There was a scandal already in 1982 when a religious fundamentalist on TV was trying to create outrage when WASP visited, but most newspapers thought that he was the scandal, not the band.

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