Pixel Scroll 5/2/17 Pixel Packing Mama, Lay Your Pixel Down

(1) YOUNG AGAIN. James Davis Nicoll will be doing a Phase II of Young People Read Old SFF and asks — What short works published before 1980 would File 770 readers recommend?

(2) POTTERPOLOGY DAY. Following her tradition of apologizing for killing off a character on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, J.K. Rowling tweeted today —

And as Katherine Trendacosta astutely observed at io9:

See? She knows she’s stirring shit up and she does it anyway.

For the uninitiated, Severus Snape is the third rail of Harry Potter fandom. One side has the completely valid argument that Snape was, despite happening to be on the same side as the heroes, horribly abusive to his students and, whatever Rowling’s intent, less “in love with” Lily Evans than a stalker with “nice guy” syndrome. The other side says that his very obvious flaws make him an interesting and nuanced character, and that, regardless of everything else, he died a hero. Plus, being played by Alan Rickman in the movies made Snape a lot more approachable than he is on the page.

(3) FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. May 6 is Free Comic Book Day when participating comic book shops give away special sample comics free to anyone who comes into their shops. There are a lot of different issues involved – see the catalog.

(4) BEAGLE SUIT. Peter S. Beagle isn’t as broke as people are making him out to be says Snopes’ David Emery in “The Trials of ‘Last Unicorn’ Author Peter S. Beagle”.

Contrary to Internet rumor, the beloved science fiction and fantasy author Peter S. Beagle (perhaps best known for his classic 1968 novel The Last Unicorn) is neither destitute nor teetering on the brink of starvation.

A cry for immediate financial assistance went up shortly after the writer’s 78th birthday on 20 April 2017, in the form of tweets describing Beagle’s circumstances as “dire”:

Several posts repeated the claim that Beagle, who has been embroiled in a costly legal battle with his former manager since 2015, was having difficulty even meeting basic household expenses such as grocery bills. However, we spoke to Beagle’s lawyer, Kathleen A. Hunt of El Cerrito, California, who told us that her client’s money woes, albeit chronic, are not as acute as they have been portrayed:

It’s true that he doesn’t have lots of money, but it’s not true that his living situation is dire. Peter does need the help and support of his friends and fans, but it is not the case that he’s in danger of being on the street.

We also spoke with Beagle himself, who said he considers himself a lot better off than the average writer:

It’s always dicey, but anybody who makes a living as a writer learns to cope with lean times. Compared to so many other people, I’m fortunate.

The impromptu fund drive nevertheless resulted in a welcome infusion of cash, not to mention an outpouring of love and support from Beagle’s many online fans. “The response was pretty phenomenal,” Hunt said.

The writer’s ongoing money woes are due in part to court costs from a 2015 lawsuit he filed against Connor Cochran, owner of Conlan Press, who had managed the author’s creative and business affairs for fourteen years…

Cochran filed a counterclaim denying the allegations, and posted a series of statements on his web site alleging that Beagle was being unduly influenced by individuals close to him who seek personal gain from the suit…

At present, Beagle says he feels fine and endeavors to write every day (with varying levels of success, he admits), focused mainly on a novel he envisions as a semi-sequel to Two Hearts, which itself he describes as “kind of a sequel to The Last Unicorn.” He will appear at BayCon, the annual San Francisco Bay Area science fiction convention, in May.

The lawsuit is set to go to trial in January 2018.

(5) RHETORICAL VIOLENCE. In The Guardian, Jessa Crispin challenges a popular narrative: “The Handmaid’s Tale is just like Trump’s America? Not so fast”.

…If the television show based on the Margaret Atwood dystopia feels like propaganda, with its depiction of women raped, mutilated, and forced into shapeless cloaks and bonnets in the new American theocracy named Gilead, then it shouldn’t be a surprise viewers are responding to it as such.

There are dozens of thinkpieces claiming this show is all too real and relevant; Atwood herself called it “a documentary” of Trump’s America. Sarah Jones at The New Republic went so far as to compare Gilead to contemporary Texas and Indiana. Women are in peril. We must do something.

If this propaganda is not being used to sell us a war, we should be interested in what it is selling us instead. That so many women are willing to compare their own political situation living under a democratically elected president with no overwhelming religious ideology (or any other kind, for that matter, except for maybe the ideology of greed and chaos), with the characters’ position as sexual slaves and baby incubators for the ruling class, shows that it is always satisfying to position yourself as the oppressed bravely struggling against oppression.

The text and the thinkpieces make it clear who our enemies are: conservatives and Christians. (It shouldn’t be a surprise The New Republic piece was headlined “The Handmaid’s Tale is a Warning to Conservative Women.”)…

(6) IN JEOPARDY! Tom Galloway reports:

On Monday’s Jeopardy! episode, the defending champion Alan Lin (“a software engineer from Santa Barbara, CA”) was asked by Alex Trebek about his writing. Lin replied that he writes SF short stories, but hasn’t sold one yet. But last summer he went to this writing workshop…. Checking the Clarion site, he’s listed as an alumnus. He’s doing well; as of the end of Monday’s show, he’s a six-time winner at $123,600 and still going. But on Monday’s show, he was beaten to the buzzer by another player on the clue in the category The Book of Verbs of “‘The Cat Who ____ Through Walls’ by Robert A. Heinlein”

(Jeopardy! will be doing an uncommon midyear online tryout test at the end of the month (three nights, May 30, 31, June 1) for those others who want to tryout. See Jeopardy.com for details)

(7) SEVEN TIME STOKER LOSER. Scott Edelman has a story:

Saturday night, I was up for my seventh Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, and emcee Jeff Strand took that opportunity to root for me … if you can call it rooting. Here’s what he had to say during his opening comments. Note that since the livestreamed video was so dark Jeff wasn’t even visible, I replaced that video with a photograph of me after I donned a new button once the results were announced in my category.

 

(8) DICK OBIT. Anne Dick died April 28 after surviving with congestive heart failure for many years. The former wife of Philip K. Dick published a biography about him in 2010, The Search for Philip K. Dick.

Tandy Ford, Anne Dick’s daughter and Philip Dick’s step-daughter, told a member of Facebook’s Philip K. Dick group, “She was still working away on her computer the night before her passing. She was a force of nature and her loss leaves a great void.”

In a 2010 profile by the New York Times’ Scott Timberg Anne Dick said:

“I think he’s what you might call a psychomorph,” Ms. Dick said recently, sitting in the boxy, modernist home she once shared with him. “He was quite different with each person. He had this enormous gift of empathy, and he used it to woo and please and control. I’m not saying he wasn’t a very nice person too; he was. He just had a very dark shadow.”

…After the breakup of their marriage, Ms. Dick said she endured seeing herself reflected in several evil-wife characters in his later novels. Yet when he died in 1982, after a series of strokes, “everything changed,” she said.

“You see a person in the round,” she continued. “I started writing this after he died, because I was still so confused by what had happened.”

(9) TRIVIAL TRIVIA. When screenwriter William Goldman first tried to get The Princess Bride made into a movie in the 1970s, he wanted the relatively unknown actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger to play the role of Fezzik. By the time the film was made in 1987, Schwarzenegger was a too big star. The part instead when to former wrestler Andre the Giant.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • May 2, 1933 — Although accounts of an aquatic beast living in Scotland’s Loch Ness date back 1,500 years, the modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster is born when a sighting makes local news on May 2, 1933. The newspaper Inverness Courier related an account of a local couple who claimed to have seen “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.” The story of the “monster” (a moniker chosen by the Courier editor) became a media phenomenon, with London newspapers sending correspondents to Scotland and a circus offering a 20,000 pound sterling reward for capture of the beast.

(11) THEIR STEELY KNIVES. Mark Lawrence explains how his Stabby Award finally arrived after some difficulty, and treats fans to a photo gallery of all the daggers and double-headed axes his work has won:

And finally here they are with my growing collection of pointy literary awards, along with the books responsible. My quest to win the Fluffy Bunny award for Friendliest Fantasy continues in vain.

(12) VIVA MAX. I can’t stay away from “five things” posts any more than a dog can avoid noticing a squirrel. Today Max Florschutz blows the myths away in “Five Things Non-Writers Should Know About Writers and Writing”.

1) Writing is a Lot of Hard Work This is one of the most common misconceptions I hear about writing. That it’s not work. That’s it’t not hard. That it’s not a “real” vocation (Yes, I hear all of these all the time).

This just plain isn’t true. Writing is a dedicated effort that takes hundreds, thousands of hours worth of both practice, planning, and devotion. Unfortunately, most people don’t think of it as something that does, because after all, they can write. They do it all the time! Text messages, letters, Facebook posts … they write all the time. How hard could it be to write a story?

The truth is that it’s very hard to write a story. It requires a very different set of tools to writing a text message, copying down the minutes of a meeting, or writing someone a letter. These things are straightforward and simple because they’re personal. Writing a story, however, is very impersonal. It has to be written from a perspective outside the writer’s own, and convey it’s tale to a vast audience of varying talent, comprehension, and capability. Writers must figure out how to paint a picture in each and every reader’s mind—a challenge considering that all of them will be very different people, and yet the same words the author pens must in each case create the same vision.

(13) AMAZON AUTHOR. Amanda S. Green continues her Mad Genius Club series with a lesson in Amazon marketing — “It’s really a business, pt. 2”.

Today, let’s talk about the Amazon author page and one or two related topics.

First of all, if you have released anything on Amazon and haven’t set up your Amazon author page, do so now. Don’t finish reading this post. Hie thee off to Author Central. You will sign in with the same user name and password that you have set up for your KDP account. Once you have, the first page you encounter is a general information page. Review everything there because there is some interesting information, especially if you haven’t been publishing for long.

(14) SHADOW CLARKE JURY FINISHES. Tomorrow the real Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist will be revealed. Today, the Shadow Clarke Jury issued its collective decision about who belongs on that list.

My final shortlistee is another popular novel among the Sharkes: the reality-bending investigation of light and perception, A Field Guide to Reality by Joanna Kavenna. While Jonathan approves of its class consciousness in the form of a cynical satire of academia, Maureen is intrigued by the alt-Oxford setting and intricate unfolding of universes, while Nina finds it good for “bust[ing] wide open” the science fiction envelope. The Sharke reviews, so far, have demonstrated just how malleable and diaphanous this novel is.

…Too often in the past, we agreed, Clarke shortlists had tended to feel weighted towards two or at the most three contenders that immediately looked stronger than the others, with the remainder simply making up the numbers. We wanted to avoid that scenario if we could, to present a genuine six-horse race.

And so the discussion proper was soon underway. The first two slots were filled very quickly – indeed, I think we all came to the meeting in the knowledge that Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station? were scoring high marks with just about every juror. Paul Kincaid called The Underground Railroad ‘essential’, and even went so far as to say he would judge this year’s Clarke Award on whether or not the official shortlist included it. Those who read the comments on the Sharke reviews here will know that I am not The Underground Railroad’s strongest advocate myself – and if the book makes it through to the official shortlist I will do my best to write in greater detail about why that is – but as I said to my fellow Sharkes I wasn’t about to step in front of a juggernaut. And as for Central Station, I was only too happy to see this very special book go through, especially since if the Clarke made any sense Tidhar would have been shortlisted twice already in previous years, for Osama and for A Man Lies Dreaming.

With two down and four to go, the question was then asked of each Sharke: of all the novels on your personal shortlist, are there any that you would say, absolutely, should be in the Sharke Six…

(15) THE GHOST BRIGADIER WHO WALKS. So why is the first thing that pops into my mind The Phantom comic strip? It’s not as if John goes around punching people in the jaw. (But if he ever did!)

(16) EVERYBODY LOOK WHAT’S GOIN’ DOWN. Galactic Journey gets another letter of comment from 1962 — “[May 02, 1962] A Good Lie (Letter Column #2)” – by a writer who wonders what the heck the U.S. is doing in Indochina.

Anyway, I thought of something I didn’t write about in my first letter to you.  (Thanks for sending some back issues of your publication.) I see that you are aware that there is something going on in Indochina that involves the US (March 31, 1961), but now, a year later, yes, it is clear that we as a nation are involved in war, but are just being sort of secretive about it.

(17) SOMETHING FOR MOTHERS’ DAY. Now on eBay, it can be yours for $28,000 – Bride of Frankenstein Movie Novel Signed by Elsa Lanchester & Forrest J Ackerman”.

First Edition. Signed and inscribed on the half-title by the film’s star, Elsa Lanchester, to Philip J. Riley, the editor of the book ‘The Bride of Frankenstein. Screenplay by William Hurlbut & John L. Balderston.  Introduction by Valerie Hobson. Foreword by Forrest J Ackerman’ which reprinted the film’s screenplay. Inscribed: “To Phil, From THE Bride of Frankenstein! Elsa Lanchester. With all my very best wishes.” Additionally signed and inscribed to Riley from Forrest J Ackerman on the front free endpaper: “Phil – Aunt Beeze is fine and here’s The Bride of Frankenstein. What else? Forry, at 59.” Ownership signature dated 1938 on the front pastedown…

(18) MIDNIGHT SEUSS. The Tennessean apprises locals of a chance to see “Dr. Seuss’ secret ‘Midnight Paintings’ at the Factory at Franklin”.

Presented by Ann Jackson Gallery (Roswell, Ga.), the exhibition on view May 5-7 charts the wider reaches of Geisel’s prolific artistic imagination, featuring nearly 100 limited edition reproductions of his work that have been largely unseen by the public. In addition to sketches, illustrations, and political cartoons he created during World War II, the major highlight of the exhibition are the selections from “The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss,” a collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures that Geisel created late at night for his personal enjoyment.

… The paintings and drawings, detached from a narrative, are more formally sophisticated and experimental.

Though they depict familiar Seussian settings populated by flamboyant characters and animals rendered in the same waggish visual vernacular as his storybook illustrations, they are more detailed, diversely colored, and at times more wondrous.

His sculptures, which comprise their own sub-collection of his secret art called, “Unorthodox Taxidermy,” are also remarkable. Using plaster, metal, and taxidermied animal parts, Geisel sculpted what look like the heads of his own outlandish animal creations — a “Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian Wolghast” or “The Carbonic Walrus” — and mounted them on wood like hunting trophies.

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, Tom Galloway, Cat Eldridge, Scott Edelman, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

149 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/2/17 Pixel Packing Mama, Lay Your Pixel Down

  1. @Mark – Thanks for the heads-up!

    @Sylvia – Thanks! That sounds great.

    @Everyone – Thanks for the recommendations. I could, of course, just use google, but it’s usually a safe bet that Filers will make some excellent suggestions I may not otherwise have found.

  2. lauowolf on May 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm said:
    Speaking of five things…

    I have lived in four of those places, Seattle, Bellevue, San Francisco and Berkeley, and somebody is measuring diversity way differently than I would if they’re giving all four roughly the same grade. I’ve been living in western Washington off and on since the late 80s (I moved up from the Bay Area) and it is the whitest place I’ve ever been, except when it’s not white at all. Clumping by skin color and/or ethnic group is not my idea of diversity.

  3. Mark, thanks from me, too! Snaffled.

    John A and OGH – I hope to soon be able to read simple Spanish lit as well. Examples like the Borges poem are good ones due to the English near it. I am thinking of getting Harry Potter in Spanish.

  4. @kathodus

    If poetry is in your wheelhouse how about Pablo Neruda. I’ve only read him in translation but one of the greatest poets of the 20th century (personal opinion, YMMV. etc)

  5. Some short fiction suggestions:

    “The Dance of the Changer and the Three” by Terry Carr
    “The Man Who Lost the Sea” by Theodore Sturgeon
    “Light of Other Days” by Bob Shaw
    “Anachron” by Damon Knight
    “Nine Lives” by Ursula Le Guin
    “Descending” by Thomas Disch

  6. 1) Given current events, I’d say:

    “A Bowl of Biskies Makes a Growing Boy , by Raymond F. Jones

    “Repent Harlequin, Said Ticktock Man”, by I dunno, some guy.

    “The Jigsaw Man”- have they been subjected to Niven yet?

  7. I don’t think I did a Niven.

    I would be tempted to use something from Neutron Star because of a factoid I encountered that people who read that first were more likely to read more Niven.

  8. @JDN: (Niven stories)

    It might be interesting for your readers to compare some of the “exotic tavern” stories. For instance, “Limits” (Draco’s Tavern, Niven), “The Guy With the Eyes” (Callahan’s, Robinson), and something from Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales From the White Hart. The location might be a useful hook to catch their attention (even though nothing outré takes place, at least in those stories), and it’d be neat to see if they had a group preference for one setting over the rest.

  9. OK, I’m a fool. <wry grin>

    Because I didn’t check my email, I didn’t realize that Jackalope Wives by Oor Wombat was delivered free to her Patreon supporters. Which I am.

    So, I’d already bought a copy. Which I hereby offer, for free, to the first Filer who asks. Ebook or Mobi formats (I have Calibre; changing formats is easy). I’d prefer it go to to someone who cannot get it for either geographical or financial reasons, but, honestly, I’ll take your word for it.

    (Actually, I don’t feel bad about this; I’m glad Oor Wombat will get the royalties, and I’m equally glad someone who would not otherwise have access to the anthology will get it. It’s a win-win.)

  10. Cassy B, I did the same thing. I don’t know how to do such a transfer, though?

  11. I would be tempted to use something from Neutron Star because of a factoid I encountered that people who read that first were more likely to read more Niven.

    I remember that from the Tor tribute to Ringworld a few years back. “Neutron Star” would be a good one to read.

    The mention of the Callahan’s Bar story above makes me want to suggest “The Time-Traveler” to let the Young Folks read a story that led at least one Analog subscriber to cancel his subscription.

    “Scroll and Scroll, what is Scroll?”
    “He’s worse than Scrolled; his Pixel is gone.”

  12. Lenore Jones / jonesnori: Cassy B, I did the same thing. I don’t know how to do such a transfer, though?

    I think that such a thing could be done by the purchaser importing the book into Calibre with the Apprentice Alf plugin, which uses the owner’s Kindle serial number to remove the Kindle number restriction.

    All purely theoretically, of course.

  13. Lenore Rose, I can email the non-DRM version I got from Patreon. I don’t feel bad about this, since I figure it makes no difference which one I send, as long as I only send one, since I legally own two copies.

  14. bookworm: I’m not the one who asked the question, but thanks for the link to online Spanish fiction!

    kathodus: I read the first Harry Potter and La Ciudad de las Bestias in Spanish, and both are good suggestions. (La Ciudad gets weirdly anti-vax, though.) Whatever you do, don’t read Angelica Gorodischer in Spanish, unless you’re very proficient — she used words I wasn’t even familiar with in English, and I had to give up halfway.

  15. It might be too long, but otherwise, I’d recommend Delany’s “Empire Star”. If not that, then maybe “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones”.

    Something by Sheckley would be good, although some of his stuff doesn’t hold up so well. But he did snarky so well, and there’s plenty to choose from. I’m having a hard time picking, so I’ll just endorse whatever Sheckley stories have already been suggested.

    How about something by Sturgeon? “Microcosmic God” perhaps?

    William Tenn’s “The Seven Sexes”. Or “Down Among the Dead Men”.

  16. (1) “Light of Other Days”. Not dated by the tech, really, short, and moving. “Inconstant Moon” is only a little dated, and “Day Million” isn’t at all. Greg’s list is good too. “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” seems to fit with Instagram and live stream.

    I’m not sure we can go by the Young Traveler, though — she seems more savvy than the group James is experimenting on!

    @Niall McAuley: Please accept this internet.

    @Mark-kitteh: Ooh! Collected Wombat! Thanks!

    @kathodus: Sadly, my Spanish is limited to basic interactions with the neighbors, and restaurant talk. I could probably only manage kids’ books. But do you watch telenovelas? I picked up a lot doing that, since the plots are pretty obvious. And many of them are Mexican, in Chilango. Or turn on the Spanish-language dub on your DVDs. Gotta be a list of Mexican YA best-sellers somewhere.

    I will happily take any extra copies of Wombat’s latest — email me (my nym) at yahoo!

  17. Kathryn Sullivan on May 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm said:
    Oh yeah! That one should work well.

  18. @Cassy B: (duplicate Wives)

    Um, I would be interested in that. I know calibre well, so format-switching to EPUB is no problem.

  19. Something by Sheckley would be good, although some of his stuff doesn’t hold up so well. But he did snarky so well, and there’s plenty to choose from. I’m having a hard time picking, so I’ll just endorse whatever Sheckley stories have already been suggested.

    “Warm” would be an interesting Sheckley choice – I found it very memorable, it’s not very long, and it’s available at Project Gutenberg https://www.gutenberg.org/files/29509/29509-h/29509-h.htm

  20. Lurkertype, you asked first; check your email. Rev. Bob, if Lenora Rose can’t figure out how to deDRM a copy, let me know and, with her permission, I’ll send you a copy from her. Since copies are fungible, I figure that it doesn’t matter if I send you her extra copy, or she does, so long as only two copies representing our two extra copies are sent. If that makes sense….

  21. 1)
    H.B. Fyfe – “Moonwalk,” “Protected Species,” or “The Well-Oiled Machine”
    William Tenn – “The Flat-Eyed Monster,” “Bernie the Faust,” or “Down Among the Dead Men”
    Alfred Bester – “5,271,009,” or “Fondly Fahrenheit”
    Algis Budrys – “Walk to the World” or one of the Agency stories.
    Margaret St. Clair – The stories she wrote as Idris Seabright.
    R.A. Lafferty -“Selenium Ghosts of the Eighteen Seventies.”
    Italo Calvino – Something from Cosmicomics
    Clifford D. Simak – “A Death in the House”

  22. Has anyone suggested something from Stanislaw Lem yet? Maybe the Cyberiad stories?

  23. Origins is one of the largest board game, war game and RPG convention in the world. Their event registration opened today and had “problems.” I got this email:

    Origins Fans:
    We understand this has been a frustrating day at registration for all of us. The problem is not bandwidth, as we have more than doubled it this year. There is a design issue that did not surface during testing that we need to resolve.
    We’re working very closely with the owner of our event management system to make sure all of the glitches are fixed as quickly as possible.
    We can test and fix more quickly if the event system is off line, So we are closing registration until Friday at 1:00 pm
    While the system is off, your carts will not be cleared out and you will not lose the events you have already selected!
    We are extremely sorry that you have lost valuable time in your day and your attendee experience is our top priority.
    Thank you for being patient as we work to fix the system.

    As long as the 11 Call of Cthulhu games I registered for (painfully) do not get wiped, I’m in good shape. I’ve got to drop the 12th one I registered for due to a time conflict.

    Event registration for Origins is sort of like GenCon. There are a huge number of sessions (> 6,000 over 5 days). Some of the sessions are massive, like the Settlers of Catan championship that you have to qualify for by winning tourneys at other conventions. Others can be as small as 4 participants. The largest number of participants I have in any of my Call of Cthulhu events is 12 and the smallest is 6, not including the Keeper.

    Origins is one of the biggest board games, war games, RPG and other table top game conventions in the world. Has around 10,000 participants annually.

    Some people here are gamers. Origins is not a big media con (although it has some of that). Cosplay is much smaller than DragonCon or some others. A lot of SF and military SF authors typically attend. But that varies from year to year.

  24. Is anybody having problems with the blog loading?

    I’ve gotten three messages from a fellow who is — but nobody has said anything in comments. Is it just him?

  25. Mike Glyer: Is anybody having problems with the blog loading? I’ve gotten three messages from a fellow who is

    I recommend that they try the standard “clear internet cache, log out, restart the computer, and log back in”.

  26. I’m just generally agreeing re Sheckley (my favorite is “Protection”) and bringing up Jack Finney, particularly “The People Next Door” and “Of Missing Persons.”

  27. @Rev. Bob
    For a tavern sampler, you might add a story from DeCamp and Pratt’s Tales from Gavagan’s Bar.

  28. Rev. Bob, email me at my name (the bit before the slash), no punctuation, and drop the final s, at gmail. I wrote lurkertype already, but it sounds like they already have Cassy’s.

  29. @Mike: I’ve sporadically been having problems with the blog loading on my IPhone 6+ but attributed it to lousy internet (had problems with other sites). No problems on my desktop.

  30. @Dr. Abernethy: Best of luck on your Origins registrations! I’m a long-time Gen Con fan, so I know about the stress of trying to get registered for events.

  31. (1)
    “Wait It Out” (Larry Niven)
    “The Terminal Beach” (J.G. Ballard)
    “A Happy Day In 2381” (Robert Silverberg)
    “Common Time” (James Blish)

  32. @Lenore: yep, please give your copy to Rev. Bob, as I have Cassy B’s extra. But thanks!

    Ooh, yes to “Omnilingual”.

    No problem reading the blog today for me either.

  33. Dr. Abernethy:

    Gah, that is the kind of thing that would make me explode. Waiting is not my thing. Hope everything goes well.

  34. Mike Glyer on May 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm said:

    Is anybody having problems with the blog loading?

    I did the other day (Sunday or Monday?) but not more recently than that.

  35. @Lee: I’m at a loss as to how to respond in a way that won’t take up too much of other peoples’ attention here.

    But if you’ll write me a note at my personal email, which you can find by taking my domain name and dropping @hotmail into it in the obvious spot, except by using a different seven-letter word, one which has one of the vowels in hotmail repeated three times, two of its consonants, and the two-letter abbreviation which Scotland wants to leave, I’ll reply. I think you still have my other email address from when we corresponded so I could give you a situation report on the dealer’s room at the Heinlein Centennial. You can use that one, too, but it’s difficult for me to get to the archive of that, so I can’t send to you from it, which is what I would have done if I could have.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d send me up to three examples of me saying “Oh, that will never happen!” while it’s happening under [my] nose. If not one of them is convincing, I’ll say so. If just one of them is, I’ll concede your point and give it deep thought. Sometimes I need my nose rubbed in it; other times the nose is working fine.

    Either way, I’ll send you two links to forty minutes of me on video, which I would prefer you not share. The short one is a rough cut that’ll go from fifteen minutes to eight when I tell it in church Sunday morning. The long one is a lay sermon from last year which I haven’t gotten around to downloading a copy of and want to before it disappears.

    I’ll be looking. Let me know here if you don’t get a prompt reply.

  36. @von Dimpleheimer: +1 on both Besters, one for weirdness ahead of its time and the other for its still-relevant commentary on wish fulfillment.

    After saying “\some/ Sturgeon”, my first thought was “The Nail and the Oracle” — although that doesn’t have the emotional qualities Sturgeon was most known for. I’ve looked through my almost-complete set of the complete Sturgeon trying to find something that might reach through the attitudes JDN’s readers have shown, and can’t see them understanding “A Saucer of Loneliness” or “A Touch of Strange”. Possibly “Mr. Costello, Hero”, which is still/again relevant.

  37. When I encountered Sturgeon’s “Microcosmic God” as a teenager, quite a bit younger than Nicoll’s readers, I just thought it was a really neat story. I wasn’t a particularly sophisticated reader and a lot of adult fiction would have been way over my head, but the story enthralled me. I haven’t read it in many years.

  38. When I encountered Sturgeon’s “Microcosmic God” as a teenager, quite a bit younger than Nicoll’s readers, I just thought it was a really neat story. I wasn’t a particularly sophisticated reader and a lot of adult fiction would have been way over my head, but the story enthralled me.

    Me too. And the Simpsons did a version of it (“The Genesis Tub”) too, which might be familiar to James’ readers.

    Another Sheckley story that might appeal is “Cost of Living.”

  39. @Andrew

    Me too. And the Simpsons did a version of it (“The Genesis Tub”) too, which might be familiar to James’ readers.

    As did Futurama. And a number of different anime, my favorite being the one from Dennou Coil which involved beards.

  40. @Lee: Forgot to mention it’s a seven-letter word which is VERY closely related to Hotmail. But mostly forgot to click the box to make sure I saw if if you replied here.

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