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. 8. Coopers claim about UFOs over a secret air base were supposedly from observations made during his Gemini flight of activity around Area 51. Unfortunately for his credibility, the orbit for that flight could not have brought him closer than a few hundred miles horizontally to the site.

    13. The BBC certainly used to know that programmes didn’t need to appeal to everyone or to be immediate successes. That seems to be slipping away though, a new The Sky At Night for a different field would be unlikely to get commissioned and Black Adder wouldn’t survive the first series.

  2. Mister Dalliard on April 20, 2017 at 11:46 pm said:
    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.

    Kroese was also featured on the hallowed pages of File 770 last October with a Carl Slaughter interview so either those gatekeepers aren’t very effective or our gracious host is also a wrongthinker.

  3. @Ghostbird

    Your recollection of the UK rpg scene is very, very, different to mine. Basically the Christian panic over roleplaying wasn’t even on my radar, or anyone I played with. I now play with people who were also active then in different groups in different parts of the country and their experiences mirror mine. I’m not saying it didn’t happen but it may well have been more localised than you thought.

    Maybe NickPheas will chime in with a third opinion – he was gaming then too I believe.

  4. @Andyl
    He was. And even lived about 15 miles from ghostbird, I imagine we were in the same shop at some point in the 80s before we knew each other…

    I vaguely remember Christian panic being an American oddity, not something that had any impact on my life or gaming. It was sometimes mentioned in magazines.

    If anything my parents regarded gaming as a wondrous thing that actually encouraged me to talk to other kids my approximate age!

  5. @Andyl, @NickPheas

    That doesn’t surprise me – the scene was necessarily much more fragmented, pre-Internet. Still, you don’t remember “Turmoil in the Toybox”? (I think I heard about that from a review Andrew Rilstone’s fanzine.) Or the Evangelical Alliance? On a whim, I invited a nice young man from the Evangelical Alliance to talk to my university SF soc and play a one-off RPG session. It was the post-talk Q&A that got me thinking about enemies as validation.

    And none of that is directly relevant to my point, of course. I’m sure you have examples of your own.

  6. My gaming started in the 90s, and I think we were vaguely aware the panic thing had existed but, as Nick says, more as an American oddity.
    I do recall that once I got access to that newfangled Internet thing I found a copy of Dark Dungeons and printed it out for my gaming group to see. We just passed it around in bemusement that anyone had actually believed it – total crogglement.

    Maybe it depended very much on location and whether you interacted with anyone who actually believed it?

  7. 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.

    If you’re an author toiling away with limited success, either as a self-publisher or a published author, and you are right wing, it has to be appealing to blame your struggles on political discrimination. Otherwise, it might be your fault you’re not selling well or your stories are being rejected by editors.

    I don’t think any of us wants to be the reason we’re not at the top of our field.

  8. We didn’t have any christian panic towards RPGs at first – until the game Cult was released. Then we got total panic, not only from christians, and RPG:s were removed from toystores and other places. It was a severe backlash and caused permanent damage that never could be recovered.

  9. I did have a Baptist flatmate at one point who looked at me and the two other RPers there for a long time… and finally handed us a copy of the infamous “Dark Dungeons” Jack Chick tract.

    We showed it round the uni RP society… the general reaction was along the lines of “is this actually real?

    This would be my only personal encounter with the Christian panic. It wasn’t quite the Spanish Inquisition… mind you, I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

  10. @Hampus I have a friend in my RPG circles who has written for Kult and stolen some ideas from it for a (different) game he ran. That was…dark. And disturbing.

  11. The RPG panic in the 1980s was a big deal in the U.S. — or at least in Texas when I was growing up.

    There were news reports that made some parents refuse to let their children play Dungeons & Dragons. The writer Joe McGinniss wrote an incredibly unfair true-crime book, Cruel Doubt, that blamed the game for a woman’s murder by her stepson and his friends. Part of his premise was that because the stepson drew a map to their house, and D&D players draw maps, that makes the game culpable. I am not kidding.

    I hated McGinniss for years over that. A friend got me to read his The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, which may be the greatest non-fiction sports book ever, but I had trouble afterwards liking him any better.

    McGinniss then did one of the most terrible things an author could do to other writers. As he was writing his controversial book on Sarah Palin, for which he moved next door to her like a creeper, he was shown an unpublished manuscript of another Palin book by local writers who considered him a friend. He sent that manuscript all over the place to harm the book’s viability for publication, telling one recipient, “obviously, you are free to use anything you want from the cover letter or the manuscript itself, since both were sent to a number of NY publishers with no confidentiality requirements.”

  12. 5 – That’s cool I might have to submit one. I remember reading a book as a kid where a boy goes on a spaceship and has this cube that he can use as a pda and to get furniture for his room but I don’t remember more than that and it’s been stuck in the back of my head like a bad itch.

    6 – For a different change, this is one of the few years were I feel like a Hugo for video games would actually work since I have enjoyed many books this year but I actually feel like the SFF narratives for Horizon Zero Dawn and others are killing it. Then again it’s only April.

    11 – I was going to enter because why not, more books for the TBR pile. If I don’t like them well no money spent so no foul.

    At the end of it there’s question that requires an answer to qualify.
    What Sci-Fi Books are the Best?
    -Books the promote progressive ideology
    -Books by a racially diverse group of authors
    -Books that tell great stories

    Because of course a Wrongthink Sci Fi Book give away has an ideological test to vet out people who might think those aren’t mutually exclusive things with no trace of self awareness. Also the fact that it separates racially diverse authors from books that tell great stories is one of those things that make this as a way to get new readers something that wasn’t thought out all the way through.

    What dumb bullshit, the ideological test works though because not even for free, ick.

  13. @ghostbird

    The Evangelical Alliance were not even on my radar. I have been an atheist since I was about 6 or 7 and so wouldn’t even have come across them. Very, very few of the people I have played with have shown any religious inclination at all.

    I think Aslan started a bit after my time at Uni (well Poly) and I wasn’t a big RPG fanzine reader anyway we just got on and played the games we liked.

    I guess that bemusement was the reaction we had to the moral panic in the US. If we had someone come around to try and persuade us to stop gaming we would have reacted to that but we didn’t and didn’t know anyone who had had that experience.

  14. Funny (sort of) story:
    On my way to work Ive finished a chapter of “This census-taker” from China Mievielle and left the bus.
    On my way back from work I was eager to read the next chapter, turned the page… and stared at the “acknowlegments”. What I thought were the last chapters (plural!), was the preview of the next book.

    This pretty much sums up this book for me.

    I do like Mievielle, but I found it incredible hard to get into this book/novella. Its deliberate in its use of switching from third to first person back and forth, but that doesnt make it any easier.
    That was not the problem with this book.
    The problem was that it felt like the prequel/prologue/additional side.story of a novel I havent read. There is a lot of stuff in here, that is completly unimportant to the story, there are characters that are literally vanishing without a reason and hints at world buildng that are never referenaced again. Its the anti-Chekhov-book.
    Now, I dont mind good worldbuilding or fluff, but here there is a feeling all of that doesnt amount to much and is only in there to confuse the reader. I wouldnt describe this book as bad (As always, this is higly imaginative), but its like a dream: Pretty weird, makes you think, but you dont really know what it was about and likely is forgotten soon.

  15. (8) BEEN HERE, DONE THAT: Unfortunately, being an astronaut doesn’t immedietly preclude you from being a woo-filled nutbag (nut-filled woobag?) Witness James Irwin, who walked on the moon and was also a YEC who went on expeditions to search for Noah’s Ark.

  16. @Hampus: Well, Manowar is kind of known for their incoherent speeches…

    Re: RPGs: No backlash here in Germany that I am aware of (and I played a lot in 80s and 90s). There was an article in a left-leaning newspaper that this ais a “stupid fad from the US, where Teens kill imaginary monsters”, but that was about it…(And that really was more bout “Stupid American Fads” then any criticism about the thing itself)

    (The pixel itself?)

  17. If you’re an author toiling away with limited success, either as a self-publisher or a published author, and you are right wing, it has to be appealing to blame your struggles on political discrimination. Otherwise, it might be your fault you’re not selling well or your stories are being rejected by editors.

    I don’t think any of us wants to be the reason we’re not at the top of our field.

    queue the complaints from the left-wing authors who aren’t selling well because of the swing in current politics … waiting …. waiting ….

    crickets

  18. @Peer Sylvester

    This Census Taker is a finely assembled collection of nothingness. I can admire the skill involved in making the anti-Chekov (good phrase btw!) but I didn’t enjoy reading it in any way, and finished it with a mild sense of irritation at having been experimented on in such a deliberately unsatisfying way.

  19. Mark on April 21, 2017 at 6:01 am said:
    My gaming started in the 90s, and I think we were vaguely aware the panic thing had existed but, as Nick says, more as an American oddity.
    I do recall that once I got access to that newfangled Internet thing I found a copy of Dark Dungeons and printed it out for my gaming group to see. We just passed it around in bemusement that anyone had actually believed it – total crogglement.

    Dark Dungeons was awesome.

  20. The RPG panic was a pretty big deal in my home town, which also was the site of a prominent evangelical religious college. Lots of horrified reactions to the fact that I played D&D (this was in the late 1970s and early 1980s so it was the Three Little Brown Books and early AD&D). When I pointed out that the idea was to KILL the monsters, not to worship them…. I still got side-eye. (Fortunately, my parents were just happy I had some actual friends and didn’t complain.)

    Later, in college, the local newspaper kept trying to get the gaming group to admit that we dressed up in cloaks and waved swords around while RPGing. We explained, “no, that’s LARPing” but that didn’t help much. Especially since the gaming group was big enough that there were a few gaming geeks (there are always a few) that were happy to pose with cloaks and swords to get their photos in the paper…

  21. Turns out that Kult the RPG is a horror take on Gnostic Christianity. Very interesting. I just might take a look at the books and see how that pans out. PKD might have been a great Kult GM….

  22. @NickPheas

    I’ve definitely said hello in the past. I’ve been at a number of Continuums (Continua?) at Leicester although I can’t recall gaming with you. I was also at the Eastercon in Manchester which I think you went to as well.

    BTW – the Poly was Hatfield if that helps establish connections.

  23. RPGs: I was playing D&D in the US in the early ’80s and remember the Moral Majority panic over “Satanic rituals!” but nobody in my peer group either gave it any thought or had parents who tried to get them to stop playing.

    Although I do remember thumbing through a copy of Psychology Today or some similar magazine and seeing an article about Dungeons and Dragons full of lines like “Players act out fantasies of murder, rape, and torture” and thinking “Dang, we must be playing it all wrong.”

  24. Other bands play Manowar kill

    There were Christian RPGs. Dragonraid, I think was the first one. I remember finding that in a used game store and despite my packrat nature couldn’t convince myself to buy it.

    Wish I had saved some of the anti-D&D literature. Found one thin volume in the religious studies section of a used bookstore which suggested that D&D led to nihilism along with the other usual sorts of anti-social behaviors.

    I seem to remember a revelations based collectible card game that came out in the second wave of CCGs. (The internet says it was called Redemption. Has its own wiki.) I think at the time we were most curious what the artwork was like for the Whore of Babylon card.

  25. 17: Clearly the rocket is not actually a Hugo, but it may be playing the part of a Hugo.

    Mieville: My reaction on reading This Census Taker was ‘he’s trying to become Gene Wolfe’. Though I have heard that it may make more sense if read in conjunction with some of his other works.

  26. As I recall, in small-town southern MN circa early 1980s, the panic over satan-worshipping RPG players was vastly overshadowed by the panic over playing Led Zeppelin albums backwards.

  27. During the D&D panic, I played every weekend and throughout the summers.

    There was only one game session that might have given a parent concern. A fellow teen we had just met was the DM, and he had our characters go into a dungeon room where we freed a naked woman chained to a wall. He described her as very attractive.

    “What do you do to her?” he asked with a look on his face that was unabashedly lascivious.

    We gave her clothes and looked away, mindful of her modesty.

    He was so disappointed.

  28. I don’t know of the panic, but I do know late 80s early 90s my mom wouldn’t let me get the books or play because she thought it was related to satanism so it had an influence even later. But we had dice so my friends and I made up a game based on what we though D&D was and had a lot of fun. Was probably my first attempt at world building, creating maps and factions and conflicts. Later trying to see how it matched up I looked at a D&D book and thought that there were sure a lot of rules to it and have never actually played it.

  29. 11) “All those horrible SJWs out there care more about ideology than quality! But don’t worry, you can get these books by 100% ideologically pure Puppy writers…”

  30. Mieville: My reaction on reading This Census Taker was ‘he’s trying to become Gene Wolfe’. Though I have heard that it may make more sense if read in conjunction with some of his other works.

    Ive read a lot of Mievielle (not all yet though), and I cant say thats the case for me.

  31. Glyer posts something puppy related. Many of the 770s start barking.

    Rinse & Repeat

  32. The local Catholic boy’s school whose students were a fair chunk of my clientele when I had a store had a very brief Dark Dungeons-inspired panic that lasted as long as it took the teacher-supervisor to find and share a Chick tract on Catholicism.

  33. airboy:

    “Glyer posts something puppy related. Many of the 770s start barking.”

    Bless your heart.

  34. In the early 80s in the rural conservative area I was living in, the fact that kids were playing D&D in the high school after hours prompted one angry letter to the newspaper from someone worried about Satanism, which resulted in a letter of rebuttal from the mother of a friend of mine, and nothing else. By a couple of years later, there was a school-approved D&D club in the middle school playing during school hours (during free periods).

  35. The RPG panic in the 1980s was a big deal in the U.S.
    I’ve read about it at Slacktivist – quite a few commenters there have stories about running into it, and some are still unhappy about things their parents/teachers said and did. Most of them still play RPGs.

  36. Glyer posts something puppy related. Many of the 770s start barking.

    I don’t think you quite understand. We are rolling our eyes or pointing and laughing. The Pups are a sad, pathetic collection of silly people, and we are making fun of their inflated sense of self-importance.

  37. airboy

    Glyer posts something puppy related. Many of the 770s start barking.

    Rinse & Repeat

    Well you could tell us about your trip to Maui.

  38. Almost forgot, but James Davis Nichol’s post reminded me. My husband played D&D during the height of the Satanism scare. His mother was mildly concerned until she found out that his high school English teacher and a Catholic priest were both part of the gaming group.

  39. @airboy

    What, exactly, is the point of your comment, other than to sound petty?

    I would rather you tell us, if you wish, how you and your wife are doing with your recent crisis. That would be far more of a concern to me than your unnecessary snarkiness.

  40. Fun not-directly-SFnal date note for today: April 21st was and is the traditional day to celebrate the founding of the city of Rome. I’ve seen plenty of stuff on twitter, and shared some pictures myself (okay, any of you who follow me on twitter know I need little excuse to share some of my oeuvre…)

    Rome’s symbol was the wolf, though, so I guess that goes back to airboy’s claim that we’re barking. Oops.

  41. @ Hampus Eckerman

    We didn’t have any christian panic towards RPGs at first – until the game Cult was released. Then we got total panic, not only from christians, and RPG:s were removed from toystores and other places. It was a severe backlash and caused permanent damage that never could be recovered.

    Yes but that was Kult. The last RPG I would ever let anyone who was not very open minded look at. It treated good and evil as being equivalent chains that bound mankind as I remember.

  42. Hampus Eckermans writes:

    We didn’t have any christian panic towards RPGs at first – until the game Cult was released. Then we got total panic, not only from christians, and RPG:s were removed from toystores and other places. It was a severe backlash and caused permanent damage that never could be recovered.

    The main panic in Sweden started in 1994, Kult was released in 1991, so there was quite a while from the until the “main panic”. I don’t know if that’s when RPGs stopped being sold through normal toy stores or if that happened earlier (I’d been doing most of my RPG shopping at Tradition for years at that point).

    As for a Christian panic, I know that both “pen & paper RPGs” and LARPs were used by at least some Christian youth groups and the explicitly Christian “Vägen” (“The Way”) was released in 1993.

    Source: I know some of the people involved and “monstered”/”NPC:ed” at at least one (may have been more, but it’s more than two decades ago) Christian camp LARP weekends.

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