Pixel Scroll 5/17/17 Round Up The Usual Pixels

(1) THE REAL AMERICAN GODS. Mark-kitteh says, “This may be the perfect combo of SF and cats for us–”

(2) ANIMAL FILIBUSTER. The Washington Post’s John Kelly interviewed Ralph Nader, who has written a fantasy novel, Animal Envy, in which animals are given the power to speak via a software program and “are given a 100-hour special broadcast” to discuss all their issues — “In his odd new book, Ralph Nader talks to the animals –and they talk back”.

Ralph Nader –tireless windmill-tilter –is standing at the National Zoo recalling a conversation he once had with an editor at The Washington Post about what he felt was the paper’s less-than-adequate coverage of his presidential campaign.

“I remember saying, ‘There are times I say to myself, I wish I was a panda, given the coverage The Post gives to pandas,’” Nader said.

Well, Nader still isn’t a panda, but he is a kangaroo, a dolphin, an elephant, a crocodile, a squirrel, an owl, an Arctic tern, a German cockroach, a European corn borer, a radioactive Chernobyl beaver, and dozens of other mammals, reptiles, birds and insects.

They’re all characters he assumes in his new book, “Animal Envy: A Fable.”

He is also a cheetah: Safe at any speed…

(3) LUNCH OR HISTORICAL REENACTMENT? “Cynthia Felice and I break into the Watergate Hotel!” That’s what Scott Edelman says in his dramatic invitation to listen to Episode 37 of Eating the Fantastic.

Grab lunch at the Watergate with my unindicted co-conspirator Cynthia Felice in Episode 37 of Eating the Fantastic.

I visited the Watergate Hotel recently, and in case those of you familiar with the history of that infamous location might be thinking I went there to bring down a president with a Bob Woodward/Carl Bernstein-style investigation, let me quickly add … no. Rather, I went there to investigate the food at the recently opened Kingbird restaurant, with a guest who surprised me with her sudden visit to Washington, D.C., and whom I somehow managed to convince that a meal with me would be oh, so much more fun than visiting the National Air and Space Museum.

Joining me within the walls of the Watergate Hotel was Cynthia Felice, who published her first short story, “Longshanks,” in 1976 in the pages of Galileo, a science fiction magazine published by the late, great Charlie Ryan, and her first novel, Godsfire, two years later. She is also the co-founder with Ed Bryant — about whom, alas, I must also say late and great — of the Colorado Springs Writer’s Workshop.

We discussed how Frank Herbert’s Dune made her say, “Hey, I can do that,” the virtues of owning a motel while being a writer, the marriage advice Kate Wilhelm gave her at Clarion, what Thomas M. Disch told her that fixed one of her short stories, why we all loved the late, great Ed Bryant, the extraordinary lengths David Hartwell went to as he edited her second novel, how her collaborations with Connie Willis began, and more.

(4) THOSE SIDEKICKS, THEY DO GET WEARY. ComicMix’s John Ostrander, in “Sidekicking Around”, delves into one of comics’ well-known formulas.

Robin falls into a strange category of the child or teen sidekick. He was originally introduced to lighten up the Dark Knight Detective and, again, to give Batman someone to talk to rather than himself. Robin humanized the Bat. His popularity gave rise to a whole slew of child/teen associates such as Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Speedy, and Aqualad. Later, these five went from supporting characters to central ones when they formed their own super-team, the Teen Titans (later, just the Titans when they all outgrew their teenage years).

The original Robin, Dick Grayson, later grew out of his shorts and tights to become a full-fledged hero of his own, first as Nightwing and then later, briefly, actually taking Bruce Wayne’s place as Batman before reverting back to Nightwing. There have been other Robins since then, including one — Jason Todd — who was killed by the Joker. Don’t worry; he got better. The role is currently being filled by Bruce’s son, Damian. I believe he died as well at one point but is also now feeling better.

(5) STEAMPUNK BIBLIOPHILE RETURNS. This week 2012 Hugo Finalist Selena Chambers released Calls For Submission, her new short fiction collection.

Selena Chambers’ debut collection guides readers out of space and time and through genre and mythos to explore the microcosmic horrors of identity, existence, and will in the face of the world’s adamant calls for submission. Victorian tourists take a virtual trip through their (and the Ottoman empire’s) ideal Orient; a teenage girl learns about independence and battle of the bands, all while caring for her mesmerized, dead mother; a failed Beat poet goes over the edge while exploring the long-abandoned Government Lethal Chambers.

Chambers was a Related Work co-Hugo Finalist in 2012 with Jeff VanderMeer for their collaboration on The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature.

(6) MORE YA AWARD WSFS WANK. Kevin Standlee says, “You’d Think I’d Remember These Things”. You need to read all four steps to follow his argument, but here’s a foretaste of what you’ll be getting into if your click the link….

  1. Item 1 means that that as it currently stands, the Worldcon 75 WSFS Business Meeting does not have the authority to name a YA Award. However, the 2018 WSFS Business Meeting could apply a name to the Award in a single vote because of that provision. (Of course, this is all moot if the base proposal fails to be ratified.)

  2. Should the 2017 Business Meeting decide to ratify that YA proposal without the provision, the 2017 Meeting could then move as a new amendment to insert a name into the Award, with the name being something that could be passed in 2017 and ratified in 2018, like any other WSFS Constitutional amendment. That means the YA Award would have no official name in 2018, but (assuming 2017 passes a naming amendment that is ratified in 2018), it could get an official name for 2019 and beyond.

(7) BREW FOR TWO. Sounds like anybody who makes it through the Worldcon 75 Business Meeting will probably need to stop over in Iceland on the way home to chill out — “Beer baths to open in North Iceland in June”.

Kaldi brewery in Ãrskogssandur, just north of Akureyri in North Iceland, will be opening beer baths and spa in the coming month.

“The construction of the baths is progressing and everything is according to plan,” says Agnes Anna Siguroardottir, CEO of Kaldi brewery.

There will be seven beer baths in total, all suitable for two people. All guests that have reached 20 years in age can relax in their beer baths with a beer in hand, as there will be a pump by each bath. 20 is legal drinking age in Iceland.

(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

Film director Stanley Kubrick was a big admirer of Steve Martin’s movie The Jerk. (Source: IMDB)

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • May 17, 1902 –The Antikythera mechanism is recovered. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the occasion.

(10) THE BIRD BLABS. The Vulture knows what might have been: “The Secret History of William Gibson’s Never-Filmed Aliens Sequel”

But there’s an alternate universe where the series’ propulsive momentum only increased –a reality in which the third Alien film featured advanced xenomorphs exploding in batches of half a dozen from people’s legs, stomachs, and mouths; where cold-warring rival space stations of communists and capitalists race to outdo one another with their genetic experiments on the aliens’ tissue; where a flock of the phallic horrors flies through the void of space, only to be beaten back by a gun-toting robot. Oh, and there’s a thing called the New Beast that emerges from and sheds a shrieking human’s body as it “rips her face apart in a single movement, the glistening claws coming away with skin, eyes, muscle, teeth, and splinters of bone.”

This is the alternate universe where legendary science-fiction writer William Gibson’s Alien III (that’s “III,” not “3”) screenplay was realized. It is, perhaps, a better world than ours….

You can find the screenplay in an antiquated .txt file online, and there have been occasional discussions of it on message boards and niche blogs, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t been appropriately acknowledged as the remarkable genre-fiction artifact that it is. Indeed, with studio backing and the right production team, one can imagine the finished film being on par with Alien and Aliens, and it certainly would have altered the course of the franchise’s history. With the arrival of Alien Covenant –a movie that, whatever its merits, largely retreads ideas from the series’ previous installments –it’s time to tell the story of how Gibson’s Alien III came to be, why it never crossed the finish line, and what made it special.

(11) KIDPROOFING. John King Tarpinian recommends, “Take the kids to see Alien this weekend, then put this cookie jar out. They will never “steal” a cookie again.” ThinkGeek’s Alien Ovomorph Egg Cookie Jar:

(12) CONDIGN REVENGE. Isn’t Aidan channeling me here?

(13) PUN TIME. Yes, I think this is funny, too.

(14) SHADOW CLARKE JURY GOES INTO OVERTIME. Now they need to deal with the actual Clarke Award shortlist.

With both the Sharke Six and the official Clarke shortlist now out of the bag, I thought I’d like to reflect a little on some of the books I encountered that did not make the running, either through being ineligible (i.e US-published) or through not being submitted. I’ve found myself wanting to talk about them because even now at the end of Phase One of my Sharke reading and with a sizeable number of eligible submissions under my belt, these omissions still feel notable, with discussion around the Clarke Award seeming the poorer for their absence.

The Booker Prize has already had its debate about allowing American novels into the mix, with predictably divided responses. Whether or not the Clarke should open itself up to US submissions is a discussion that lies beyond the remit of this essay, though it does seem a shame that there have been and will continue to be books that stand central to any discussion of the year’s SF and yet under current Clarke rules must remain excluded from one of its most prestigious awards.

I still haven’t reviewed two of the books on my original shortlist. As it happens, we now know that neither of the books made it onto the Sharke Six, and neither made it onto the official Clarke Award shortlist, though I suspect for rather different reasons. So I thought I would take this opportunity to consider why they might not have been chosen.

I’ll start with Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton.

Superficially, this seems to be exactly the sort of novel that has often found its way onto the Clarke shortlist. It is an elegantly, at times beautifully written novel, as here when an astronaut moves from the spinning outer ring of a spaceship to the gravity-free core:

Of all the books that I personally shortlisted for this project The Power is the one that I find most challenging to judge and to write about. I chose it precisely because of this difficulty; I had read it before and felt decidedly mixed about it. I have loved some of Alderman’s earlier work — her debut Disobedience (2006) was one of the first books that I reviewed online — and have read her assiduously, with great pleasure. Yet this fourth novel, her breakthrough book, left me unsure and unsettled. While friends and critics turned out in numbers to praise its ingenuity and confidence, its bold engagement with the dynamics of power and gender, I hung back and sat on my immediate reaction. Which was: Yes, all those things, but… I couldn’t decisively put my finger on what the ‘but’ was; it was just there, throwing up a barrier between the book and me. At the same time, I couldn’t dismiss it; I was niggled. It stayed with me. So much so, that when it came time for creating my Clarke shortlist I knew The Power had to be on it. Whatever my personal reservations, it was clearly one of the more thought-provoking and eloquent of the submitted books. I felt I owed it a re-read, to test my first response.

Other commentators have already discussed the alternate history setting of Azanian Bridges (Paul Kincaid on this site and Gautam Bhatia at Strange Horizons, while Mark Bould also provides a useful list of other African alternate histories on his own website), and I don’t see any real point in recapitulating what they’ve already said so well.

Instead, I want to focus on the relationship between Martin van Deventer, the white psychologist, and Sibusiso Mchuna, the young black man whom he is attempting to treat. Sibusiso, a trainee teacher, has withdrawn into himself after witnessing the murder of his friend, Mandla, at an anti-government rally. At a loss to know what else to do for him, his father has agreed to his being admitted to the local mental asylum for treatment. We can only speculate as to why his father did this rather than taking Sibusiso home but for now consider it as only one among many markers of the fact that Sibusiso is metaphorically as well as literally a long way from home, living in a white world, among people who have no idea about him.

(15) WE INTERRUPT YOUR READING FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT. Now that Chuck Tingle’s professional porn has been linked from the Hugo Voter Packet, Hugo administrator Nicholas Whyte feels the need to clarify his cameo appearance in the work — thus his LiveJournal post “Pounded In The Butt By My Second Hugo Award Nomination, by Chuck Tingle”:

Second paragraph of third section:

“Hello, I’m Chuck,” I say, formally introducing myself.

I am quoted (well, paraphrased) in the crucial second section, in which author Chuck Tingle, miserable after the defeat of Space Raptor Butt Invasion in the 2016 Hugo Awards, receives notification from the 2017 Hugo Awards adminstrator that he has been nominated this year. Let’s just say for the record that the demands subsequently and consequently made of him as part of the Hugo process are not those actually required of Hugo finalists in real life.

(16) THE BEST DAY OF HIS LIFE. “This 10-year-old donated thousands of comic books to veterans”The Week has the story.

Carl Scheckel knows that not all heroes wear capes. In a show of support for American soldiers, the 10-year-old comic-book aficionado from New Jersey decided to collect and donate thousands of comic books to veterans in hospitals and servicemen deployed overseas. The mastermind of carlscomix.com, Scheckel gathered roughly 3,500 books for the nearby Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, When he arrived to donate them in person, officers treated him to a surprise VIP tour of the base, where he got to try on military gear and explore the inside of a place. ‘It was the best day of my life!’ wrote Carl on his website.

(17) AN OPPORTUNITY ON MARS. It’s been there for over 13 years! “Mars rover reaches site that scientists still can’t explain”.

Opportunity, which is much, much smaller than its car-sized Curiosity cousin, was sent to Perseverance Valley in hopes of shedding some light on its origins. Scientists studying Mars know that the valley was carved by some dramatic force, but with a handful of possibilities including water, wind, and even muddy rocks, there’s still no clear answer. With the rover in place, researchers plan to use its observations to generate a detailed map which will be used to plan the vehicle’s driving route along the rim and eventually into the valley itself.

(18) ON THE WAY TO THE FINAL FRONTIER. I found out about LUNAR from BoingBoing:

Motion designer Christian Stangl and composer Wolfgang Stangl created this gorgeous short film, titled LUNAR, from thousands of NASA photographs taken by astronauts.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, Mark-kitteh, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, and Scott Edelman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Darrah Chavey.]

91 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/17/17 Round Up The Usual Pixels

  1. John Lorentz

    @Matt Y

    Waypoint Kangaroo – I really enjoyed how this one walked the fine line of serious/comedic and pulled it off to be both make me laugh while also drawing me in. I hope there’ll be a sequel.

    Kangaroo Too is coming out June 20th. (I’ve had a hold on it at our library ever since Scalzi posted received the ARC for it.)

    Yay! Off to the library website I go

  2. So went to a gig on Tuesday night (Up the Irons!), so you can blame this on that:

    “Woe to you, oh Earth and sea, for the Glyer sends the File with wrath
    Because he knows the Scroll is short
    Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the Pixels
    For it is a human number, their number is seven hundred and seven-tee”

    I sat alone, my eyes were blank.
    I needed time to read, to get the bitterness from my mind.

    What did I scroll, can I believe?
    That what I read that night was just not fantasy.

    Just what I stalked, in my old dreams
    Were they reflections of Mount Tsundoku staring back at me?

    ‘Cause in my dreams it’s always there!
    The evil pile that twists my mind and brings me to despair

    The night was black, was no use stopping now
    ‘Cause I just had to see, was someone reading me
    In the caffeine mist dark letters move and twist
    Has this shrunk at all, or just grown some more?

    Seven, seven, tee the number of the scroll
    Hives and filers were spawned to be released

    My Kindle raised and sacred texts appraised
    As I start to cry the books start to fly
    In the night the pixels are burning bright
    The reading has begun, Filer’s work is done

    Seven, seven, tee the number of the scroll
    Hives and filers were spawned to be released

    It’s coming back, it will return
    And it’ll possess your body and make you turn
    I have the file I have the scroll
    I have the power to make my reading take it’s course

  3. Men and women in [YOUR AREA] are scrolling BIG BUCK$ with THIS ONE WEIRD PIXEL

    (Also clicking the box yet again, because just now I get notified of new posts, but not of responses on existing ones.)

  4. It’s ok, I don’t get why everyone is enthralled with Neil Gaiman. I mean, I read American Gods, and it was clever enough, but it left me with no desire to read his other stuff, or watch the series. No book or writer can please everyone.

    I agree in principle with the point you’re making, but thought I should mention that American Gods is, in my opinion, just about his worst book. I was massively disappointed in it when it came out, and quite possibly would have had the same disinterest in him had it been the first book I read of his. As it is, I started with something else, and according to goodreads he is my fifth-most-read author (after Barbara Hambly, Patricia McKillip, Roger Zelazny, and Terry Pratchett.)

    If you ever feel like giving him another chance, Coraline and Stardust are short, quick reads and in my opinion much more representative of what makes him good (although definitely opt for the original version of Stardust, with illustrations, if you ever decide to pick it up). Not saying you need to or should; just, if you’re ever curious.

  5. @JJ: Not only did I delete the email, I sent StoryBundle a Stern Note of Disapproval. My days of respecting them are coming to a middle.

    @Jack Lint: I am adopting that for myself.

    In Packet news: Chuck Tingle’s submission (heh) is a delight. The Storify of his Tweets is in there, as is a link to his Rabid website.

    Meanwhile, kudos to Max Gladstone for giving us all 5 novels of The Craft Sequence and Seanan McGuire for giving us all of Toby Daye (even in a roundabout way). Boo to the submissions that were only excerpts; I think that’s pretty damn shortsighted of the publishers. Probably won’t matter in the Vorkosigan case, but it looks bad for Peter Grant and Temeraire.

    Double boo and a clawing of eyes to Mieville or his publishers who insisted on putting in a PDF (ugh ugh) and watermarking every page of it (just terrible). It’s not going to help his chances when people decide to read all the nice epubs and mobis of the other entries first and maybe never get to his. Gaahhhh.

    Working with limited disk space, I haven’t unzipped the comics yet, but those are faster to read anyway.

  6. Re: Gaiman – I have to confess that I got bogged down in the middle of Stardust (yes, the illustrated version) and never did finish it. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it was a mistake to read it after seeing the movie version, but if not for the movie I probably wouldn’t have picked up the book.

  7. I’m of mixed opinions on the elevated expectations that the Hugo reading packet tradition has created. Yes, it makes it immensely easier and more convenient to review the material for informed voting (especially in the non-fiction categories). And suspect that especially for the short fiction, it makes a big difference in voting access (though less of a difference given how much of the short fiction is easily and cheaply available online — not like the Bad Old Days when you might have to track down a year-old print periodical). But I’m concerned about the possibility of people evaluating novels based on the publisher’s willingness to give away free copies, rather than on the books’ inherent quality. (Even given that “free” now means “loss of potential positive sales of e-books” rather than “expense to produce physical books for which there is no revenue”.)

  8. I first read a failed Bear Poet and now I really want to read (or write?) THAT story.

    The works of A.A. Milne spring to mind…

    For I am a bear of very little files, and long scrolls bother me.

  9. I agree in principle with the point you’re making, but thought I should mention that American Gods is, in my opinion, just about his worst book.

    It’s certainly a polarizing book. Neil’s mentioned that, from the reactions he gets, people seem to just love it or hate it.

    Me, I like it, but think it’s flawed, and I’d second the idea of not basing one’s decision to read more or not on their reaction to that book alone.

    If you ever feel like giving him another chance, Coraline and Stardust are short, quick reads and in my opinion much more representative of what makes him good (although definitely opt for the original version of Stardust, with illustrations, if you ever decide to pick it up). Not saying you need to or should; just, if you’re ever curious.

    I like both CORALINE and STARDUST (and even though I’ve got one of the double-page spreads from the illustrated STARDUST up above my fireplace, I think the un-illustrated version reads very well too), and would add THE GRAVEYARD BOOK and NEVERWHERE as good places to start, too.

    I started with the comics, of course, but the first Gaiman prose I read was GOOD OMENS, his collaboration with Pratchett, and it not only made me look forward to more Gaiman prose, it got me reading Pratchett, too. So there’s that.

  10. I think I read Good Omens first (because I was already into pterry), and then Neverwhere, and I haven’t cared for anything else nearly as much.

    Still, I’m glad American Gods is putting some good weirdness onto TV.

  11. I started Gaiman with Sandman, and happily followed him into his prose fiction. I think Good Omens was my first introduction to Pterry — well, I have a very vague memory of getting Strata from the public library back in the day, but really just not getting it; Good Omens was the book that eventually led me to Discworld.

    And I do plan to watch American Gods as soon as I can arrange it.

  12. (7) BREW FOR TWO: As it happens, my wife, Lisa, and I will be taking advantage of IcelandAir’s “stopovers included” policy and staying in Reykjavik for four nights on our trip home from Worldcon this year. However, I don’t see us taking a beer bath. (We’re flying out via Hamburg and taking the 30-hour ferry from Lubeck to Helsinki. It’s a three-week adventure for us, and three new countries, including one night and one day in Hamburg.)

    lurkertype on May 18, 2017 at 12:16 am said:

    (6) Heh. Reminds me of that time Kevin had to preside over a hastily-convened and moderately confused Westercon business meeting (I didn’t even know we had ’em!) because of an amendment of his own.

    It wasn’t so much that it was hastily convened so much as it was hastily moved because based on the usual attendance of the Business Meeting, it was originally scheduled for a pretty small room and clearly needed to be moved to the largest room available in order to deal with the results of a uncontested bid losing the election. Most recent Westercon Business Meetings have been less than ten minutes long and have had so much difficulty obtaining a quorum that we lowered the quorum from 15 to 10 members last year on account of it was annoying to have to go round up people from the hallway long enough to legally hold the meeting. Not that there was any problem doing so at Westercon 64 in 2011.

    Also, it wasn’t exactly due to the result of a rule I wrote, although that technically was the proximate cause. The same effect obtains if None of the Above wins the election. In this case, people voted for the write-in bid for Granzella’s Restaurant on I-5 in Williams as a protest and because they held good parties and had their act together.

    Chip Hitchcock on May 18, 2017 at 11:51 am said:

    I hope Kevin is paying attention; sounds like something is seriously wrong with the site.

    I don’t think that’s anything to do with Worldcon 76 San José’s web site. I expect it’s “helpful” adware, like the way Facebook tries to guess what to advertise to you based on your browsing. SJ’s web site will have information about its own hotel blocks when booking goes live in a few months.

  13. publishers who insisted on putting in a PDF (ugh ugh) and watermarking every page of it (just terrible).

    Once, I reviewed a book whose watermark was my boss’ name in big letters obscuring the middle third o the text. On every page.

    They managed to get me a readable copy but I did get permission if it happened again that I would be permitted to review the watermark.

  14. Re Gaiman, my favorite book is Anansi Boys but I haven’t read everything of his. American Gods is only okay. My roommate, who has been a major fan since the comics, loves Neverwhere and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

  15. @ Peer: I first read a failed Bear Poet and now I really want to read (or write?) THAT story.

    Starring Pooh?

    @ JJ: You may have convinced me to pick up Behind the Throne. Something that combines elements of The Price of the Stars and The Goblin Emperor sounds as though it might be up my alley, although I’ll check for it in the library first.

    And I will definitely be voting Chuck Tingle above No Award, though perhaps not as my first choice.

  16. Lee: You may have convinced me to pick up Behind the Throne. Something that combines elements of The Price of the Stars and The Goblin Emperor sounds as though it might be up my alley

    Having now read the synopsis for The Price of the Stars, I’m going to have to check that out. Thanks for the tip! 😀

  17. @Heather Rose Jones: I can understand anyone coming to the book of Stardust from the movie being nonplussed, at least. I used to creeb about how Wheeler and Sondheim had vulgarized Bergman in A Little Night Music — but what that movie did was so much worse it’s unspeakable. I’m a little surprised you didn’t like the book, as it seems to me that Daughter of Mercy has some of the same light touch — but there’s also an element of the older rituals of storytelling in the Gaiman that doesn’t necessarily suit modern readers. I’ve liked (or more) all of Gaiman that I’ve read and recommend him to some people, but I don’t think anything of his has blown me away like some Cherryh, or McKillip — but as I think of it, I’m not sure I’ve been blown away by anything in the last 20 years, so I may not be a good referent.

  18. @ JJ: If you like that one (and I think you will), there’s more where it came from. The reading order I suggest is:

    The Price of the Stars
    Starpilot’s Grave
    By Honor Betray’d (the original trilogy)

    The Gathering Flame (prequel, but will seriously spoil the ending of the trilogy if you read it first)

    The Long Hunt (next-gen, and a terrific romp!)

    The Stars Asunder
    A Working of Stars (back-story on one of the side characters from the trilogy)

    There’s supposed to be another one in progress; I’m guessing it will appear at about the same time as The Door Into Starlight. *sigh*

  19. @Kevin: You will admit that we were moderately confused, however. I remember the program shuffling to get it into the big room. And serpentines.

    I do think the “helpful” ad-ware is responsible for that — the con has always pointed out they have two hotels attached to the convention center and other close ones. There are a LOT of hotel rooms downtown.

    Did anyone video the “Girl Genius” radio play at that con?

    @James: I would definitely rate that watermark either terrible (for blocking the view) or good (for preventing copying).

    Behind the Throne (and sequel) are really good.

  20. Huh, I must be one of the only ones who actually liked both the movie and the book of Stardust. Of course, it was an odd coincidence that they shared a name and some plot elements. Still haven’t figured that one out… 😀

  21. Xtifr: Huh, I must be one of the only ones who actually liked both the movie and the book of Stardust. Of course, it was an odd coincidence that they shared a name and some plot elements. Still haven’t figured that one out…

    You’re not the only one!

    I was fortunate enough to be lent the beautiful illustrated edition by a friend who was a big Gaiman / Sandman fan. It was an entrancing book, so I was thrilled when the movie came out. And then I was like, “Well, I really enjoyed this — but I thought it was supposed to be a movie of Neil Gaiman’s book?”

  22. I watched the film first and was like, “weeelllllllll maybe I won’t read Stardust any time soon.” Very glad that, years later, I picked up Stardust (the novel) and really enjoyed it.

  23. There was an excellent BBC4 radio adaptation of Stardust on over Christmas.

  24. The SF Signal chart of the NPR poll:
    (here)
    originally separated The Princess Bride from Stardust with the question ‘Pirates on the sea or pirates in the air?’ – until Neil Gaiman contacted them to point out that the book, Stardust, doesn’t feature pirates of any kind. So the question was changed to ‘With pirates or without?’, with the answer ‘No pirates, no siree, no pirates here at all’.

  25. Berrien the novel, the graphic novel, and the movie, I consider Stardust to be something like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; something that has major details in flux.

  26. I recently reread ANANSI BOYS and could not believe that I had forgotten just how good that book is. I would suggest that those who did not like AMERICAN GODS not avoid it just because it’s set in the same world and shares a character. The feel is completely different–not surprising, given that the protagonists are also immensely different from each other too. It’s a much more personal in scope. It’s hilarious, tender, and terrifying by turns, and sometimes all at once.

  27. JJ! INTERNET RANDOS FOUND ME!

    Perhaps I’ll try Anansi Boys sometime. Right now, Hugo Packet is my life.

  28. I had originally thought that Anansi Boys was not set in the same world as American Gods, Anansi being an archetype who can perfectly well exist in many worlds. However, I see that Neil Gaiman has said that it ‘probably’ is set in the same world, but then, so is Stardust.

  29. Random Hugo reading:

    Just started Rivers of London/Midnight Riot and Peter muses about wanting to fuck Leslie and how he’s sad that he’s not fucking Leslie three times in the first fifteen pages. She’s supposedly his friend and fellow probie and all he wants is to “climb into her uniform trousers”. Kinda gross.

  30. @ Chip Hitchcock

    I’m a little surprised you didn’t like the book, as it seems to me that Daughter of Mercy has some of the same light touch — but there’s also an element of the older rituals of storytelling in the Gaiman that doesn’t necessarily suit modern readers.

    I’m quite fond of older storytelling styles — you should read my Mabinogi-inspired short(s) and “The Treasures of Britain” which follows the rhythms even more. Like I say, I don’t know why I bogged down…just that I did.

    (I’m going to guess you meant Daughter of Mystery and appertain myself on the way out.)

  31. lurkertype on May 19, 2017 at 12:19 am said:

    Did anyone video the “Girl Genius” radio play at that con?

    I do not remember. It’s likely that if anyone did, it would have been Lisa, but I can’t put my finger on a recording. This was probably before YouTube allowed longer uploads, which is why the Business Meeting video is on Vimeo.

  32. @Dawn: Re Rivers of London: yeah, that’s why I stopped reading at some point fairly early on in the second book. I just wanted to smack him, preferably while holding a brick.

  33. Dawn Incognito: Just started Rivers of London/Midnight Riot and Peter muses about wanting to fuck Leslie and how he’s sad that he’s not fucking Leslie three times in the first fifteen pages. She’s supposedly his friend and fellow probie and all he wants is to “climb into her uniform trousers”. Kinda gross.

    Yeah, I came pretty close to throwing that book in the first 50 pages. It gets better, though there’s still occasional scenes where he internally monologues about women with all the class of a horny 13-year old.

    I just finished the second book in the series, and honestly, I’m going to give it one more chance. I could not believe it, sbegl creprag vagb gur obbx, ur “nppvqragnyyl” ehaf vagb gur jbzna jub jnf funttvat gur ynfg zhfvpvna jub qvrq bs zntvpny pnhfrf, whzcf vzzrqvngryl vagb orq jvgu ure, abg guvaxvat gur fyvtugrfg ovg bs funttvat ure fb serdhragyl, naq hasbeghangryl va fhpu terng yratgul qrgnvy, gung V unq gb xrrc purpxvat gur pbire gb znxr fher gung V jnfa’g ernqvat n Uneyrdhva / Zvyyf & Obba abiry – nyy gur juvyr, sbe gur ynfg fvkgl creprag bs gur obbx, V’z zragnyyl fpernzvat ng uvz, “Lbh’er shpxvat n fhpphohf! Ubj shpxvat fghcvq pna lbh cbffvoyl OR???” Ubarfgyl, V qba’g guvax V’ir rire ernq fhpu n aba-fhecevfr raqvat va na nqhyg FSS abiry.

    It’s a shame, because a lot of the prose is actually witty and and clever. But if the quality of the third novel isn’t seriously better, I think I’m done with the series. It read to me like a Harlequin novel for teenaged boys who desperately want to get laid.

  34. @IanP – Thanks for that! One of my faves, and the looming Tsundoku imagery adds a little Lovecraft to the Omen-vibe of the original.

    @JJ – thanks for the mini-reviews. I’d personally like to see Vernon write a novel within a genre I absolutely loathe. Not sure exactly what that’d be (math textbook?), but I bet the result would be amazing. Her Mil-F novel was pretty durn good.

    So, as far as Hugo-reading goes… I’m almost three years into Stardew Valley and engaged (no need for congratulations, thank you). I do feel I may have finally got a grasp on this obsession, though (f’rinstance, I’m only three days behind in my pixel scrolls). I’m at the point of TLTL where a lot of the pieces have fallen in place and the reading speeds up, but I still have a bit less than 20% to go. I suspect this will be the chewiest of the books I have to read, unless I get to Death’s End (which I feel I should, but I’m having a very hard time getting into The Dark Forest, so it’s at the back of my list). Very glad I read Ninefox Gambit months ago, as I’d be throwing it against the wall if I tried reading it right after TLTL.

  35. Late to the party:

    @JJ: Yay for book reviews! Thanks for posting them! Reactions/Comments: #1 I’d been mildly interested in The Cold Between when it came out, but never followed up on it; I’ll check out the sample. #2 I loved “Of Sorrow and Such,” and I’d heard about Vigil, but it’s only in the U.K. and Down Under. I’m going to e-mail the author to see if there are plans to publish it in the U.S. – I’d rather wait and support that by buying it here – but if not, I’ll track down a U.K. copy. #3 WAYPOINT!!! 😉 So if I loved this (as I did), I should check out Cornell’s “Jonathan Hamilton” stories? Good to know, thanks.

    @JJ & @Mark (Kitteh): I enjoyed After the Crown even more than the first book; I’m super looking forward to the next one!

    @Heather Rose Jones: I share a little of your concern re. expectations of the Hugo packet and whether people will give everything a fair shake. For example, I love love love the “Peter Grant” series – well, okay, in this case part of the problem is the Best Series concept itself – still, I hope folks try it out. On the other paw, I have bought books (hello, Jemisin!) based on the strength of the nice, extended sample of the first book. (But providing 3 chapters as a sample, e.g., Rivers of London, is goofy, IMHO.)

    @Lee: “The Door Into Starlight” – Psniff, psniff, don’t remind me. We’ll never see it. I’m just happy the third book ended at a good stopping point (IMHO; not everyone agrees with me).

  36. Although I’ve been guilty of this too, I really wish people would stop nominating sequels, even/especially when the predecessor has won a Hugo. I thought the Three Body Problem was ok, but I didn’t like it enough to seek out the sequels, and for various reasons, I never managed to finish The Fifth Season, and now I feel like I need to go back and read The Dark Forest and The Fifth Season so I can give Death’s End and The Obelisk Gate a fair shot.

  37. I loved the Mageworlds series (The Price of the Stars etc), although i started in a very unexpected place, with The Stars Asunder. I would likely generally agree with starting at the beginning of the first trilogy.

    I fall into the category of people who liked both Stardust the book and Stardust the movie, though I like them for very different reasons.

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