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. Or:

    Freer/Torgersen posts something puppy-kicker related. Many of the Madgeniusclub start barking.

    Rinse & Repeat

  2. An ex-sheriff in Northern Indiana drove around giving hilariously ignorant talks about the evils of Heavy Metal and D&D at high schools when I was a kid. He called himself Goatbusters. A friend and I slipped into the auditorium before his show and leafed through his DM Guide and laughed at the passages he highlighted. From his talk, I got the impression he thought of D&D as some kind of LARP thing, which would make sense if he got his information from Monsters and Mazes. This was in the late-80s, and I’d never heard of LARPing at that point. My first clue it existed was when my friends and I went to college and met people who played Vampire in a LARPy manner.

    Most people in my dinky-ass hometown thought D&D was some kind of nerd game for nerds, rather than a dangerous gateway to the occult. Stopped clocks and all that…

    Woot! on the Meredith moment! I grabbed my copy of Central Station.

    Still enjoying the dickens out of His Majesty’s Dragon.

    I feel like Airboy’s reaction to Filers’ reactions to *Puppy ranting is similar to Filers’ reactions to *Puppy ranting. What he needs to realize is that it’s the eternal cycle – Puppers Pup, Filers React, and Puppers Pup about the Filer React, causing another Filer Reaction, ad infinitum. I suspect *Puppers would say that they actually don’t care what Filers think about their ranting, but as far as I can tell, we’re about the only group out there paying any attention to what they say, excepting when their un-mustachioed not-leader VD comes up with a new outrage too outrageous to ignore (the clicks! the clicks!).

  3. @PhilRM: Shame on me for forgetting that one.

    wrt @11: ISTM that facts don’t matter; any suggestion that anyone else doesn’t have a fair share can trigger the help-help-I’m-being-repressed cries. cf all the noise in the US about Christianity being under threat (in the US itself — this isn’t referring to, e.g., the recent bombing(s?) in Egypt). Such criers are similarly immune to fact; answer their “This is a Christian country” claims with the observation that a lot of the founders were Deists and watch them deny or talk around.

    I was into and out of D&D long before the panic started, and didn’t pay much attention to the 1980’s fusses. I do remember a novel (later a TV special (series?) about someone who was already stressed when he started believing that the early LARP he was in was real (“I’m searching for the Great Hall” was tagline), and stories suggesting something like this had happened for real — but it was always somewhere far enough away that facts tended to be … flexible.

  4. Whoo! I am stupidly proud of that contributing editor credit.
    And yes, it’s been quite windy here today. I even had to sidestep to keep my balance when rounding a corner on my way home from work.

    Didn’t see any answers blowing around, though.

  5. airboy: This has been said several times already, in several discussions, but:

    laughing at something is not the same as being offended by it. It doesn’t even have to mean we’re contemptuous of it. (although i admit it’s a narrow line between the absurd and the merely ridiculous, and while the former can be neutral, the latter engenders contempt by nature. The puppies have been on both sides of absurd ad ridiculous. This particular instance is more on the absurd side.)
    Being offended is not the same thing as being in a rage.
    Pointing out a severe logical inconsistency in a stance does not equate to hating the people involved.
    Talking about a thing when it comes up, even in eye-rolling amusement, does not mean obsessing over it the rest of the time.

    Please learn to distinguish some nuance in human emotions.

    Personally, I wish those writers success in finding and keeping an audience. Their audience isn’t me, and I find their attempts (and yours) to paint me as The Enemy to be kind of laughable. But I don’t wish them ill, I just wish they would focus on writing and relax a little about their ideological stance and their attempt to make it an absolute us vs. them. For one thing, if they do relax a bit, then they’ll stop actively driving off any chance I will ever read one of their books.

    (I read Sarah Hoyt’s first novel. I liked it. Because of that, I saw her at a con panel and kinda liked her. The last few years of ideological viciousness have absolutely removed any chance she will return to Mount TBR. But I STILL don’t wish her ill.)

  6. Last year at CONvergence, the regular “Attack of the Killer Bs” panel (comedians adding an improvised dialogue track to a muted clip from an absurd B movie, complete with live theremin music) they played a section of a video produced to give to police on how to spot Satanic cults in your area. It was utterly sublime, one of the best fifteen minutes of comedy in my life.

    As to the specific intersection of D&D and Satanic Panic, I do recall that the Dungeons and Dragons club that my math teacher wanted to set up lasted less than an hour. They announced it, and an hour later school administrators told him it would not be allowed to happen because of vague, unspecified “concerns”.

  7. Well, if the Pups’ attention is focused here, I’ll try to be helpful to them (and anyone else who reads it): 13 proofreading hacks based on the psychology of reading.

    @Lenora Rose: I really wish I’d started Darkship Thieves before seeing what a piece of public work Sarah Hoyt is. (Did we meet at the Heinlein Centennial?) I like it quite a bit and find myself unmotivated to finish it, which is a weird place for me to be in. Usually you have to pry a book out of my cold dead fingers.

  8. @Lenora Rose

    For one thing, if they do relax a bit, then they’ll stop actively driving off any chance I will ever read one of their books.

    Most of the main puppies were authors that I hadn’t heard of before it started and may have picked up their work randomly. Now, the association alone makes me assume that I’m going to get (ironic) thinly veiled message fiction about Libertarianism or something. My book buying dollars are too precious to risk on an author who’s already gone out of their way to be unpleasant in public.

  9. @John Seavey Oddly, when I went off to college (leaving my D&D group behind) I loaned a former math teacher my copies of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual.

  10. @Viktor: “Rev Bob: the “Yanthus Prime Job” in the free packet is in the same universe at “Starship Grifters”.”

    What irks me is that he can’t keep the contents of his “free starter library” straight. The image link I clicked for it showed “The Chicolini Incident” as being included, but it isn’t. Dude should spend a little less time on complaining about being marginalized and a bit more on updating his website.

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

    So, precisely what definition of “a 770” excludes you, pray tell? Or should I interpret your posts as barking?

    @Magewolf: “Kult. The last RPG I would ever let anyone who was not very open minded look at.”

    It’s up there, but FATAL beats it – and all the other contenders – hands-down.

    If you’re familiar with FATAL, you know I’m right. If you’re not, please take my advice and don’t google it. No good can come of that. Just trust the Bob on this one.

  11. Now, the association alone makes me assume that I’m going to get (ironic) thinly veiled message fiction about Libertarianism or something.

    In my experience, the Pups aren’t skilled enough as writers to make their Libertarian message even so much as thinly veiled.

  12. Speaking of D&D in interesting places, the Assistant Minister of my Unitarian church was also my DM. 🙂

  13. @Chip Hitchcock –

    I do remember a novel (later a TV special (series?) about someone who was already stressed when he started believing that the early LARP he was in was real (“I’m searching for the Great Hall” was tagline), and stories suggesting something like this had happened for real — but it was always somewhere far enough away that facts tended to be … flexible.

    I’m pretty sure that’s Mazes & Monsters, a “true story” book later turned into a TV movie starring Tom Hanks. I loved it when I was a kid, because all I saw was a cool movie about “kids” playing something D&D-like, and then one of the kids going off the rails (because, after all, it’s a movie – you have to have something dramatic happen). I was 9 years old at the time and too young to realize it was a piece of propaganda. Years later I bought the book because I occasionally become re-obsessed with the Satanic Panic, but found it unreadable and much more offensive now that I’m old enough to understand the purpose it served.

    Another fun Satanic Panic book is Michelle Remembers, a paranoid fantasy about recovered-memory, where the titular character “remembers” being involved in a Satanic cult featuring child molestation and sacrifice and all sorts of other blood libel-type stuff in Victoria, B.C.. 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. that later popped up (main point of reference, the seminal Bestial Death Metal band Blasphemy).

  14. Ingvar:

    “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).”

    It didn’t start until the Bjuv-murders where one of the murderers was a roleplayer (the murder had nothing to do with rpgs though). Kult released their second edition that year which was kind of a bad timing as they were directly dragged into the panic.

    Oh, for you others. Kult was a swedish game so it got much more attention in Sweden than in other countries. The ones who released it was Äventyrsspel and almost all swedes played (or had played) their games, so there was most likely lots of more players in Sweden than in any other country.

  15. Someone once described Kult as being like Call of Cthulhu only without all the warm fuzzy optimism.

    The fun thing is, it’s actually true. Call of Cthulhu takes place in a Lovecraftian universe filled with beings of vast cosmic power that are remote, indifferent, bleakly uncaring and incomprehensible. Kult takes place in a Gnostic universe filled with beings of vast cosmic power that are personally out to get you. It can be much more alarming.

  16. airboy, as usual, attempts to portray fellow filers as consistent knee-jerkers by consistently jerking knee.

    Fails to comprehend irony of rage-accusations that pretend others are rage-motivated.

  17. Kult sounds great!

    The truth is, File770 doesn’t start barking every time a puppy piddles – we obviously start meowing, with some hissing and “running sideways with fur puffed and back arched,” and more than a little “open one eye to shoot a contemptuous glare, close it slowly while tucking head further into chest and going back to sleep.”

  18. I read Sarah Hoyt’s first novel. I liked it.

    Was that Ill Met by Moonlight? I loved the concept – William Shakespeare spends part of his lost years involved with the Fairy Court – but thought the execution was lacking. I got about a third of the way through.

    The cover for the 1st hardback was gorgeous, though, which just goes to prove something 🙂

  19. D&D panic: Sometime in the late 1970s/early 80s in Michigan a kid at Michigan State University disappeared, and during the investigation there was lots of reporting about how he and his friends played D&D in the steam tunnels under the school, so that became the story. Even though it turned out to have nothing to do with his disappearance and a lot more about the fact that he was a troubled kid who went to college way too young because he was so smart. A private detective hired by his parents actually wrote a book about it, relying heavily on the D&D theme.

    Oh, and I read Sarah Hoyt’s novel Draw One in the Dark before I knew anything about her, and it was pretty good. Also Darkship Thieves (which had a typically Baen cover that I actually wrapped a sheet of paper around to read while on the bus). Also pretty good, with just the hint of “perfect Libertarian civilization” in parts. Haven’t read her since. I might look at the Darkship sequels sometimes.

  20. Lin McAllister: It was. I am a bit fuzzy on the details. I read it in way too close proximity to Marie Brennan’s first book, also a Shakespeare-in-Faerie book, and while I remember thinking Brennan’s was slightly better objectively, it was also second, which meant I was already a bit worn on the topic and I enjoyed reading it less. But in both cases I saw potential in the writer, and thought I might eventually pick up something else. In Brennan’s case, I happily pounced on “A Natural History of Dragons”, about the same time the puppy kerfuffle kicked into gear.

    (The sole relatively recent Shakespeare in Faerie book I *really* liked was Elizabeth Bear’s Ink and Steel/Hell and Earth.)

  21. Is this what most people thought in the 70s about gender issues?

    Good question. I thought the same when I was re-reading The Left Hand of Darkness. It seems impossible now that somebody like Genly Ai, an educated man and a diplomat, can think in the astonishingly gender essentialists way he does. I don’t remember being so constantly thrown of the book when I read it back in the mumble mumbles though.

  22. While I am irrationally, unreasonably fond of Heinlein–I enjoyed a recent reread of I Will Fear No Evil so much I reread To Sail Beyond The Sunset and enjoyed it, too–the world would have been better off if SF libertarians had imprinted on Poul Anderson instead.

  23. “She’s no fun, she Scrolled right over!”
    “Pixels for Industry!”
    And to jump source materials entirely…
    “By now I know you scroll what you scroll, but you should scroll by now that you’re not me!”

  24. @John M. Cowan
    The incident you’re thinking of was at Ball State University, in Indiana. /obligatory pedant

    I think quite a few parents in the U.S., even if they didn’t quite believe the ridiculous stories, were nervous about general possible negative influences from D&D. That described my Mom, who thought I lived too much in books & my head as it was. I didn’t need a group-supportrd fantasy to retreat to on top of that.

  25. @John indeed. Poul Anderson has imprinted on some authors (Elizabeth Bear is a big fan of his work) but not as many others as he might’ve been. Recently re-read Virgin Planet and loved it all the same again.

  26. Paul Weimer: I was a huge Poul Anderson fan and he exerted a strong influence on my early attempts to write sf. Unfortunately, what his diction, vocabulary and perspectives inspired in my own prose came across as utterly wooden. Other favorites like Keith Laumer and Raymond Chandler helped me find my own voice. Not that I sold those stories either…

  27. @Mike Having just recently listened to a Chandler novel recently for SFF Audio, I can freshly see the value of him being an inspiration for voice.

  28. @ Mat Y:

    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.

    Seriously???

    OMG! That is wonderful!

    I am laughing so hard my face hurts!

    Oh, what ludricrous buffoons these people are. If not for Puppy nonsense, would there be as much laughter in sf/f? I THINK NOT.

  29. Meredith moment:
    The Legends of Camber of Culdi Trilogy: Camber of Culdi, Saint Camber, and Camber the Heretic – $2.99

  30. @Laura
    The question on the giveaway is this:

    What Sci-fi books are best?
    The choices are:

    Books that promote progressive ideology
    Books by a racially diverse group of authors
    Books that tell great stories

  31. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: what do we know about Genly Ai when he’s at home? In view of the news that the empty suit called Scott Brown will be the US ambassador to New Zealand, I don’t assume anything about a diplomat even if they are not formally (as (IIRC) Bierce put) sent abroad to lie for their country. MZB’s Thendara House has a plausible diplomat much stupider than Ai, which may reflect where she thought politics were going in 1983 or may just be that she wanted a man being stupid to make the plot go. I also don’t remember much of a feel for Ai’s home world; would it be non-binary if its dominant ancestor culture were, like a large fraction of this world’s people, less tolerant of blurred boundaries?

  32. Books that promote progressive ideology

    Man, those Puppy types must really hate Star Trek.

    Books by a racially diverse group of authors

    Curse Cixin Liu and Samuel Delaney! Mere hacks!

    Books that tell great stories

    We’ll always have Gor?

  33. Green Eggs and Scroll
    Goodnight Pixel
    Harold and the Pixel Scroll (Or Harold and the Pixel Crayon)
    Little Scroll in the Big Pixel
    On the Banks of Pixel Creek
    James and the Giant Scroll
    Pixey of Chincoteague
    The Lion the Pixel and the Scroller
    Winnie the Pixel
    Now we are Pix
    The Railway Scrollers
    Five Scrollers and It
    The Scroll is Rising

  34. Farewell, My Pixel

    BTW, if your area gets Comet TV, you can watch Gor tonight. Not sure why you’d want to, but there it is.

  35. @Mike Glyer: It was less than an hour ago that I explained to someone that I drank gimlets as my drink of defeat because of The Long Goodbye. I went on to explain how that led to getting a bartender to make me a tequila gimlet the weekend after the 2004 election. I was in walking distance from Aardvark Books, too.

  36. There was a Pixel Scroll blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Godstalk files that come down through the internet tubes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your mouse click. On nights like that every kaffeeklatsch ends in a fight. Meek little editors feel the point of their red pen and study their best seller’s galleys. Anything can happen. You can even appertain a beverage of your choice at File770.

  37. @Rev Bob

    FATAL. Oh my. If Dark Dungeons had taken aim at that rather than D&D I think we’d have all shrugged and said it was a fair cop.

  38. LunarG: No I’m talking about James Dallas Egbert. From Wikipedia: “James Dallas Egbert III (October 29, 1962 – August 16, 1980) was a student at Michigan State University who disappeared from his dormitory room on August 15, 1979. The disappearance was widely reported in the press, and his participation in the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons was seized upon by press and investigators alike as being potentially related to his disappearance, propelling the previously obscure game to nationwide attention.”

    I remember reading about the case in the newspapers. And friends of mine who played lots of D&D were annoyed at the coverage making them look like freaks.

    The P.I. hired by his parents, William Dear, later wrote a book about the case, The Dungeon Master. Again from Wikipedia: “Knowing little about fantasy role-playing games, Dear theorized that Egbert’s disappearance was related to his involvement with the Dungeons & Dragons game, a possibility further promoted in subsequent news media.”

    Link

    I don’t know anything about the Ball State case, but I was living in Michigan at the time, and read Dear’s book later. So I remember it all well. In the end, as I said, his disappearance had nothing to do with college students playing D&D. It is sad that he eventually committed suicide.

  39. Chip Hitchcock on April 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm said:

    Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: what do we know about Genly Ai when he’s at home? In view of the news that the empty suit called Scott Brown will be the US ambassador to New Zealand, I don’t assume anything about a diplomat even if they are not formally (as (IIRC) Bierce put) sent abroad to lie for their country. MZB’s Thendara House has a plausible diplomat much stupider than Ai, which may reflect where she thought politics were going in 1983 or may just be that she wanted a man being stupid to make the plot go. I also don’t remember much of a feel for Ai’s home world; would it be non-binary if its dominant ancestor culture were, like a large fraction of this world’s people, less tolerant of blurred boundaries?

    I THINK Ai is Terran. He’s the Prime Mobile of the Ekumene, and from what we know of the Ekumene, they are not ruled by assholes.

  40. I was no longer an active D&D player during the Satanic panic but I remember it well, with lots of relatively innocent people getting harassed for having neopagan symbols and fantasy novels and heavy metal albums and things like that. In the news, peoples’ lives were getting ruined over weird unsubstantiated rumors (McMartin preschool trial).

    I was a snarky hipster with a little collection of articles by Pat Pulling (founder of Bothered About D&D) and relevant Chick tracts and books by evangelists cataloging which rock bands were part of an alleged organized satanic network with tunnels and helicopters and sex slaves. I thought it was all very camp and hilarious, but later on I met people from the Midwest who reported it was all taken very seriously where they grew up, complete with ritual burnings of albums and gamer books.

  41. Spare a moment to think of all those poor Satanists who rushed out to buy themselves a copy of D&D…and were sorely disappointed! 😀

    (Around here–SF Bay Area–the whole panic thing was generally treated as a joke, even by the MSM.)

  42. Paul Weimer on April 21, 2017 at 1:36 pm said:

    @Laura
    The question on the giveaway is this:

    What Sci-fi books are best?
    The choices are:

    Books that promote progressive ideology
    Books by a racially diverse group of authors
    Books that tell great stories

    Yeah that made me chortle. I think it is meant to be a firewall to stop phantom SJWs winning the prize, even though logically a person who likes the first two options must necessarily like the third option even more (as they aren’t exclusive).

    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?

    Any collaborative SF/F novel by a racially diverse group? I think that could be kind of awesome. Particularly if it was one of those multiple PoV novels like ASoFaI et al – multiple PoVs each by a different author with different ethnicity/background (PoV character need not match author’s ethnicity/background)

  43. I’m pretty sure that’s Mazes & Monsters, a “true story” book later turned into a TV movie starring Tom Hanks. I loved it when I was a kid, because all I saw was a cool movie about “kids” playing something D&D-like, and then one of the kids going off the rails (because, after all, it’s a movie – you have to have something dramatic happen).

    Ah. Mazes and Monsters by Rona Jaffe – I read the book and saw the TV movie when I was a teen (because of my age, I actually saw just about all of Hanks’ early work (a karate-using kid challenging Fonzie in Happy Days, Alex’s businessman (and alcoholic) uncle on Family Ties, and of course, half of the team in “Bosom Buddies”). I was just happy to see D&D getting some acknowledgment in popular media, so I didn’t so much care that it had nothing to do with my experience of the game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *