Pixel Scroll 7/21/2017 It’s 1500 Miles To Helsinki, We’ve Got A Full Tank Of Pixels, Half A Pack Of Scrolls, It’s Dark, And We’re Wearing Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses. Hit It!

(1) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites everyone to “Down drunken noodles with George R. R. Martin in Episode 43 of Eating the Fantastic”.

Some of might know him from the superhero short stories such as “Manta Ray Meets the Executioner” he was publishing in the ’60s in one of the greatest fanzines of all time, Star Studded Comics (which is where, as a young teen, I first encountered him), or as the creator and editor of the long-running Wild Cards series of mosaic, multi-author novels, some may know him better from such award-winning short fiction as “Sandkings” and “The Pear-Shaped Man,” or novels like Fevre Dream and The Armageddon Rag, while still others might know him best from his TV work … like … you know … The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast—and don’t forget Max Headroom!

We discussed why he was annoyed Marvel Comics printed his letters but DC never did, the reason Gardner Dozois was responsible for his first science fiction short story sale, how the rock ‘n’ roll novel Armageddon Rag got him a job on the rebooted Twilight Zone, what he learned from the arc of Stephen R. Donaldson’s career, how losing the John W. Campbell Memorial Award got him his first editing gig, why he almost became a realtor, the time Harlan Ellison convinced him to apply to be the editor of Analog, and more. PLUS: Hear a snippet from an interview I did back in 1993 in which he makes an amusing admission about “a fantasy novel I’ve been working on off and on for awhile.”

(2) GOODBYE AND HELLO. Bence Pintér has sadly announced the closure of the Hungarian sf site Mandiner.sci-fi after two years of operation.

He is making up for it by writing a blog that will be partly in English, Spekulatív Zóna. Here’s the first post in English.

The rise of speculative fiction is a global phenomenon, but all of the important stuff are happening in English. Dealing with this topic, as a news editor, I followed the news in English and provided the news in Hungarian to the readers of mSF. But this was a one way road. In this blog I am mostly planning to write about the new releases in US and UK in English, while I also feel the need to talk to you about good Hungarian speculative books in English, because nobody else seems to be doing that. I want to channel what is happening in this tiny part of Central European fandom.

I have been reading in English for exactly a decade now. The first English book I read was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, because I could not wait until the Hungarian translation’s publication in a few months (I bought the translated version as well, of course.) Ever since my fianceé at the time, now my wife, bought me a Kindle from the US in 2012, I have been reading methodically in English, eyeing for the new releases as well as genre classics which were not published in Hungary. (There are a lot of them.) Now, that mSF is gone and I can choose to read what I want, I plan to read even more in English. And to write about them. New releases, and also authors, sub-genres and the topics I have always wanted to examine more profoundly.

(3) SUMMER TV. Glenn Garvin, in “Vampires and Spies Dominate Frothy Fun Television Choices” at Reason.com, reviews Midnight, Texas.

It’s the time of the television year, safely past the May upfronts where all of next season’s advertising is sold and just before the big promotional push for the fall shows begins, when all the TV bosses flee for a few weeks to Malibu or the Hamptons or wherever it is that wealthy, imperious swine go to exchange tips on the most satisfying ways to whip the household help. And while the cat’s away, the junior programmers will play, unleashing hordes of vampires, spies and what-have-you who would never see the airwaves if the grownups were around.

The result is usually shows that are kind of fun if not necessarily any good. Which is a pretty fair summary of the week’s premieres: NBC’s pleasingly trashy spook opera Midnight, Texas; and the CNN spy documentary Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies, which is either a carefully coded revelation about American espionage or mammothly incompetent documentary filmmaking, take your pick.

Midnight, Texas, is based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris, who authored the vampire novels that became HBO’s epic True Blood. But if you’re expecting a True Blood clone, you’re going to be wildly disappointed; the two series of books are completely different.

(4) MUSK. More Elon Musk blue-skying: “Elon Musk Says He Has ‘Verbal’ OK To Build N.Y.-D.C. Hyperloop”.

A plan to build an ultrafast Hyperloop tube train has been given “verbal [government] approval” to connect large cities on the East Coast, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says. He adds that the system would whisk passengers from New York to Washington, D.C., in 29 minutes.

After his tweet about the plan set off intense interest, Musk added a clarification, stating, “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly.”

Chip Hitchcock observes, “I remember this idea in Scientific American over 50 years ago, and in L. Neil Smith 40 years ago — but we still don’t have cheap tunneling as in Oath of Fealty (30 years ago).”

(5) CONFLICTING DIAGNOSES. Peter Davison puts his foot in his mouth over the new Doctor: “Two former Doctors clash over Jodie Whittaker casting”.

Peter Davison, who played the Doctor from 1981 to 1984, said he “liked the idea” of a male Doctor and that he felt “a bit sad” the character might no longer be “a role model for boys”.

His comments were promptly dubbed “rubbish” by his successor Colin Baker.

“You don’t have to be of a gender to be a role model,” said the actor, who portrayed the Doctor from 1984 to 1986.

“Can’t you be a role model as people?”

(6) COMIC-CON IN THE NEWS. BBC wrap-up of the first day of SDCC: “What happened on the first day of Comic-Con?”

  • The cast of Kingsman: The Golden Circle tweeted a picture of themselves on stage after they discussed the new film and showed footage of the action spy comedy.
  • Halle Berry stole the show though after she appeared to down half a pint of whiskey on stage.
  • But there was disappointment from fans that 20th Century Fox’s presentation didn’t include anything about the eagerly anticipated Deadpool 2 – especially as the first film was launched at Comic-Con in 2015….

(7) THEY ARE THERE. Galactic Journey covers a 1962 sci-fi movie release in real time: “[July 21, 1962] The Human Soul In A Robot’s Hand (Movie Review: The Creation of the Humanoids)”

The complex range of anger, fear, acceptance and love that characterize the relationship humans have with robotic life is hardly new ground for science fiction. You have stories that explore societies controlled by artificial intelligence like in Jack Williamson’s With Folded Hands, stories in which robotic life works in service to their human superiors in accordance with Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, and stories that span every possible combination.

The newest addition to the science fiction sub-genre dealing with the evolution of humanity and its integration with robots came out this month in the form of the movie The Creation of the Humanoids. Following its premier in Los Angeles on July 3rd, this intriguing film made its way into theaters across America, including the theater in my city. It suffers from several weaknesses, but more than makes up for them with solid dialogue, interesting characters and a plot that makes the audience think.

(8) TODAY’S DAY

Junk Food Day

How to Celebrate Junk Food Day

Celebrate this wonderful day by eating any sweet or salty treats you want! Bake cupcakes, make cookies, heat up some popcorn, buy some of your favorite candies. Invite friends over and have them bring in their favorites and make a junk food buffet and spend the rest of the day watching movies. You can always go get some fast food for fun. Take a cheat day from your diet and have dessert for dinner.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 21, 2007 – The seventh and final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is released.
  • July 21, 2011 — NASA’s space shuttle program completes its final, and 135th, mission, when the shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born July 21 – Geri Sullivan

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY ROBOT

  • Born July 21, 1951 — Perennial funnyman Robin Williams. In 1999’s Bicentennial Man he starred as a robot trying to grow more and more human as he pursued and acquired emotions.

(12) AIRPLANE FOOD. Fans have had all kinds of experiences eating airplane meals. But only culinary historian (and sf writer) Richard Foss can take you back to the dawn of dining in the skies: “What Airplane Food Looked Like Through the Decades”.

Travel + Leisure spoke to culinary historian and author of “Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies,” Richard Foss, to delve into the fascinating history of in-flight food and how much it’s changed over the decades.

The 1920s:

During the 1920s, there was a great deal of focus on the weight you could have onboard, with passengers often getting weighed before boarding, Foss said.

Engines were also feeble at this time, and since there was not as much freedom to divert energy from the engine to other sources, like heat, cold food was the norm.

Selections typically included cold fried chicken, fruit salads, and elegantly composed sandwiches, served in wicker baskets on the lightest chinawear servers could find, according to Foss.

(13) IRON FISTS AT COMIC-CON. During yesterday’s Next Big Thing Panel at Comic-Con International San Diego, Marvel Entertainment unveiled that it is joining forces with comiXology, Amazon’s premier digital comic shopping & reading service, for a line of exclusive digital comics. Available free to comiXology Unlimited subscribers and only available through comiXology and Kindle these comics will be part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content.

Marvel and comiXology’s team-up kicks off with Immortal Iron Fists, a 6-issue bi-weekly series written by Kaare Andrews with art by Afu Chan. Immortal Iron Fists is on sale today for $2.99 on comiXology and Kindle or free to comiXology Unlimited subscribers as part of their subscription. New users to comiXology’s popular subscription service can also access Immortal Iron Fists for free as part of their 30-day free trial. Additional exclusive series will be announced soon.

A unique entry-point that’s perfect for new fans and longtime readers alike, Immortal Iron Fists tells the tale of Pei, a young female monk from K’un-Lun and the youngest person to ever bear the mark of the Iron Fist. While Pei tackles the trials of high school, Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, faces his greatest challenge yet: training the inexperienced Pei. All the while, a growing threat appears that will take more than one pair of Iron Fists to defeat!

(14) COMFORT FOOD. C,J, Cherryh told her Facebook readers about a favorite food.

A confession: I am very fond of roast beef sandwiches with pickle and Miracle Whip. This from childhood. No, it is not a sophisticated taste. I also like bacon sandwiches with Miracle Whip. Mayo for other things. But these are my two favorite sandwiches.

(15) SHAZAM! Marcus Errico of Yahoo! Movies reports “Dwayne Johnson Won’t Be In DC’s SHAZAM! Movie”, which will be directed by David F. Sandberg and released in 2019.  (“Shazam!” is the guy formerly known as Captain Marvel.)

News broke at Comic-Con this week that the next hero up in DC’s movie universe is Shazam!, a story about an orphan who gains near-godlike powers. However, in his initial outing, Shazam won’t be facing his greatest foe.

Geoff Johns, the chief creative officer of DC and, with Jon Berg, architect of the DC Extended Universe, told Yahoo Movies on Thursday that Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam will be MIA from Shazam!

“We haven’t announced any casting yet,” Johns said. “But Dwayne isn’t going to be in this movie. He’s still doing Black Adam, but he won’t be in Shazam!

Johnson and DC will be developing Black Adam concurrent with Shazam!, with the idea that the two will eventually face off onscreen.

(16) BURNING MEMORY. Tor.com has the picture – “The Firemen Start the Fires in the First Look at HBO’s Fahrenheit 451”.

HBO Films has shared the first official photo from Fahrenheit 451, its forthcoming adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel set in a future where reading is outlawed and books are burned. It’s, appropriately, an action shot of firefighter Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) letting the flames fly on some contraband reading, while his superior Beatty (Michael Shannon) looks on approvingly.

(17) MORE TO PUT ON YOUR THIGHS. Adweek says more food pr0n is on the way — “McDonald’s Apparel Is Here, So Make Room in Your Closet Next to Your KFC and Pizza Hut Swag”. “Wear the fries you’re jogging for.”

Joining brands like Pizza Hut and KFC, McDonald’s is unveiling its own line of apparel and goods: The McDelivery Collection, in celebration of Global Delivery Day on July 26.

The collection is available via the UberEATS app in select countries. And while it’s a limited-edition set, don’t expect to find anything as vainglorious as a burger-shaped meteorite (à la KFC). Items include a World Famous Fries jogging suit, a Big Mac onesie—wonderful for ironic winks back to youth, though unclear whether it has a handy butt flap—and slippers that read “World Famous.”

On July 26 only, fans can score a single McDelivery Collection item on-demand, delivered with their UberEATS orders. Participating cities around the world will be unveiled on July 25 on McDeliveryatMcDonalds.com. And if you’re lucky enough to live in China or Japan, you might even be able to get them in-store!

(18) THE DEFENDERS. Stan Lee & Punisher trailer Seson 1.

(19) THE LOST VERSES. The Big Bang Theory cast sang previously unknown verses of “Soft Kitty” during their appearance at Comic-Con today.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, and Bence Pintér for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day John Seavey.]

130 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/21/2017 It’s 1500 Miles To Helsinki, We’ve Got A Full Tank Of Pixels, Half A Pack Of Scrolls, It’s Dark, And We’re Wearing Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses. Hit It!

  1. 12) the Food on my Air New Zealand and Qantas flights were decent. Nothing special by any restaurant standard, but by US domestic coach airline standards, positively decadent…

  2. Helsinki is 4000 miles from me, and I’m on the East Coast. Just sayin’.

    Aer Lingus food is not to be sneered at either. And it comes with the price of the ticket, unlike Iceland Air (who otherwise I quite like).

  3. The best airline food I had was on a Delta flight between L.A. and Salt Lake City, many years ago. (I seem to recall that the reservations were made through Rick’s people.)

  4. Damnit! I LOVE Midnight, Texas (one of the characters is from one of Harris’ other series, the Lily Bard (Shakespeare) series (name of town, not actual playwright). And yes, it is MUCH different from True Blood (although the HBO series was much different than the book series, sigh).

    Unfortunately, the show is airing at the same time as People of Earth which we adore…the AGONY!

  5. (18) I may be a bit burned out on superhero adaptations, but damn, Stan Lee still makes me feel like I could be a hero too. I love that man to bits.

  6. (9) On this day (or, technically, the day before) I stood in line at Borders (remember them?) for the Deathly Hallows midnight launch party, took the book home, lay down on my couch, and read it pretty much in one sitting, ending sometime after dawn. First, last and only time I’ve ever actually done that.

  7. @robinareid: My wife and I love People of Earth! I think we’ve binge-watched the first season three times. Fortunately, we have a two-tuner DVR, since Midnight, Texas looks interesting.

  8. (4) Yeah, “verbal government approval” isn’t a thing, Elon. Just hype to get investors, I suppose, but were I an investor, I’d look askance at an entrepreneur making up nonsense.

  9. 3) SUMMER TV – So, basically not much in common with the Midnight, Texas books except character names and broad strokes on their abilities. That’s kind of disappointing. I really liked that series an d thought it was the best thing she had written on years.

    18) That was charming and “Seson” needs another vowel.

  10. (8) TODAY’S DAY. I unintentionally celebrated a little – as I do many days, thanks to the (soon to stop?) table o’ snacks at work in my department. Um. (Horrible idea for a day, BTW.)

    (17) MORE TO PUT ON YOUR THIGHS. I love your headlines. 🙂 But I still don’t get why anyone would buy fast food apparel. Bleah.

  11. This is one of the best Pixel Scroll titles ever.

    Glad I read this AFTER eating pizza.

    @robinareid: Doesn’t TBS rerun its shows ad infinitum? And “Midnight, Texas” will probably turn up on the NBC website.

    We just got a FOUR tuner DVR, which we haven’t used yet, being summer, but I bet it’s going to come in handy later on. And we don’t even have HBO, Showtime, or Starz. (Well, we got 3 months’ free Showtime which we’re using to watch “Twin Peaks”.)

  12. SFReading: Hey, who’s been reading and listening to things? ::raises hand::

    I finished the audiobook of Bujold’s The Vor Game early this week and enjoyed it as much as The Warrior’s Apprentice, which is, a lot! I’m (re-)hooked, this time probably for good; I’m downloading Cetaganda now. I started with the first young Miles novel and am going chronologically, but will go back for the first two Cordelia novels before I listen to “Jole.” Some don’t like the young Miles books, IIRC, but I love the over-the-top, mad-cap adventure stuff, mixed in with serious moments and occasionally horrible things happening. Bujold is a great writer and mixes this stuff together very well. And Grover Gardner does a very good job with the narration.

    I also finished the ebook for Wallace’s Greedy Pigs last night – the latest “Sin du Jour” novella. I read Idle Ingredients before Hugo voting closed (gasp! bad voter, no cookie!) and they’re more closely connected plot-wise than previous entries, ISTM. I’ve enjoyed this series a lot, but I’m disappointed Tor.com stopped doing audiobooks. Still, I occasionally heard Corey Gagne’s voice (very good narrator) while reading. 😉 I enjoyed earlier entries a little more, but I can’t pinpoint why, sorry. Unrelated, but it seemed like there was less food?! LOL. I like that Darren’s and especially Lena’s characters are developing, in these two novellas, and I look forward to the final two entries in the series.

  13. Aer Lingus food is not to be sneered at either. And it comes with the price of the ticket, unlike Iceland Air (who otherwise I quite like).

    Must have been a transatlantic flight, since my experience with Aer Lingus is not even a drink, unless you pay for it.

    In general, I’ve seen airplane food – which was never good to begin with – get progressively worse in the past 35 years or so. When I was a kid, you’d still get a full warm meal in the 1 hour flight to Amsterdam. And KLM always had better food than e.g. Lufthansa (which I tend to avoid) let alone any US airline. Even well into my adulthood, they’d still serve you wine or champagne if you asked for it. Then it became a sandwich and now it’s a cookie and some coffee/tea. I’m flying to Helsinki via Amsterdam (it’s the most convenient hub for where I live) in August. I’ll be interested to see what I get/ if I get any food at all either during the short Bremen – Amsterdam or the longer Amsterdam – Helsinki flight.

  14. More SFReading. MOAR! Yes, I haven’t wasted time, post-Hugos.

    I listened to McGuire narrate her novella Down Among the Sticks and Bones this week; she was a pretty good narrator. The book was good, but I liked the first one better. Two minor criticisms (leaving off a third tiny nit I was going to pick):

    There was too much “I will now talk about how I’m telling you the story that you’re reading” and faux-children’s-book stuff. The former (weirdly) seems like it would work better in print, and was a little clunky; the latter isn’t really my style. Am I misremembering the first novella – did it do this, too?! I want to re-listen anyway, to see the twins now that I’ve listened to the prequel.

    The twins’ pre-door back story should’ve been shorter. The background helped us understand how they became the people that made the choices they did in the Moors, and how they developed into the characters we met in the first book. But it was too long and a bit tedious. Also, it was the most juvenile-written part (as in, seemingly written for juveniles), too, which isn’t to my taste.

    The Moors remind me of D&D’s Ravenloft – in a good way. I was very interested to see Qbpgbe Oyrnx pbhyq perngr n qbbe; and to see fbzrbar jub jrag guebhtu n qbbe ohg unq n snvyrq “fgbel” naq jnf genccrq, rgp. Anyway, overall, I enjoyed it and look forward to the next one.

    Next up: I started listening to the PsyCop Briefs, a collection of “PsyCop” short stories (some previously read); Gomez Pugh is awesome narrating this series. Ebook-wise, I’ll probably read latest “Peter Grant” book (a novella; hopefully the next full novel will have audio once more) and the third & fourth “Penric” novellas. Mind you, I’m not a reliable predictor of what I’ll read next, so who knows (City of Mircales awaits, after all!).

    (Sorry this is so long!)

  15. @Kendall: Every Heart a Doorway is very straightforwardly narrated, so no, it differed from Down in the Sticks and Bones both in tone and in narrative style.

    I think the main trouble with Sticks and Bones is twofold: first it’s a prequel, so you have start and end points set, second any story set in McGuire’s fairylands is likely to depend heavily on narrative causality. I’m not sure she has leveled up as an author enough yet to tackle works that explore works of narrative causality yet (not like, say, Cat Valente or the late Terry Pratchett).

    That said, I loved Every Heart for the way it tried to explore the issues any real Dorothy or Alice would have when coming back to Mundania.

  16. @Karl-Johan: “narrative causality”

    That’s rather critical to McGuire’s Indexing series, unless you mean the term rather differently than I think you do. Have you read either of those?

  17. Rev. Bob “narrative causality”… That’s rather critical to McGuire’s Indexing series, unless you mean the term rather differently than I think you do.

    Yeah, while Valente is skilled, I would consider McGuire more skilled as an author — unless I just haven’t read the right Valente things.

  18. Nope, I haven’t read the Indexing series. I’ve read the Toby books (which I found well-made, engaging, and entertaining, but a bit repetitive) and the Wayward series. I’m also a fan of her filk output.

    In a way, I think McGuire is at her best when she writes people who do not fit in. But any story set in her fairylands would fundamentally be about a person fitting in.

    @JJ: Six-Gun Snow White was a veritable tour de force in narrative and style.

  19. Karl-Johan Norén: I’ve read the Toby books (which I found well-made, engaging, and entertaining, but a bit repetitive) and the Wayward series. I’m also a fan of her filk output.

    I think that she’s really got an amazing talent for plotting, especially in multiple-book story arcs. Have you read any of her work under the Mira Grant pen name? I’m not at all a fan of horror, especially not of zombies, yet she has consistently produced work that impressed me. Rolling in the Deep was really well done. It’s my understanding that she’s working on a novel in that universe.

     
    Karl-Johan Norén: Six-Gun Snow White was a veritable tour de force in narrative and style.

    I thought it was well-written, but I guess I wasn’t blown away as you were. I also liked Silently and Very Fast and Fade to White, but I thought that Speak Easy, while an interesting story in itself, had a prose style that got tiresome really fast, and I found the novel Palimpsest utterly unreadable. I think the shorter the length, the better her stories are.

  20. (1) many years ago, I was on Hungarian airlines, and the salad portion of lunch consisted of 3 inches of unsliced cucumber. On the other hand, they distributed hard candy to suck on (and pop one’s ears) during the descent.

    Cora, could be a very good idea to buy something to eat at the airport before you travel (as you probably know).

    By the way, I wish everybody the best time in Helsinki. I’ll be in the UK on my annual Shakespeare course, but thinking of you and reading any daily reports and looking for the Hugo results.

  21. @Karl-Johan: “In a way, I think McGuire is at her best when she writes people who do not fit in. But any story set in her fairylands would fundamentally be about a person fitting in.”

    You really oughta try the first Indexing book. Police procedural meets narrative causality (in the form of fairy tales imposing themselves on people in the modern world). Some of her “Velveteen” stories also deal with the theme of mythic motifs choosing people to represent them, whether those people like it or not.

  22. I was on the last Paris to NYC flight that Pan America did before ceasing all operations. It had no food, no booze, no canned drinks and even the peanuts were in short supply.

    (I knew it was the last because the pilot announced it. And the papers ran a story on it.)

    The name lives on in a railroad company that bought all of their intellectual properties and now calls itself Pan America.

    Best food ever was the Inconesian fAirlines fight I had from Amesterdam to Sri Lanka where it was basmati rice, a vegetable curry and so forth

  23. @Kendall for the Reading Rangers segment of Skiffy and Fanty, I am purposefully reconsuming Bujold via audiobook rather than a re-read, because the narration is so good (I only started audiobooking on my regular run through the series at Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance).

  24. @Cat Eldridge
    My Dad was also on one of the last Pan Am flights, an inner US flight. He said that the flight attendant handed out all the booze, chocolate, crackers, etc… Left on board to the passengers for free, because it would only get thrown away.

    @Msb
    Thankfully, inner European flights are short, so bad to no food isn’t much of a problem. Though Amsterdam airport has good food options (and a shop selling tulip bulbs) . Bremen doesn’t, but that’s no problem, because I live 20 minutes from the airport and can eat at home. Besides I’ve got the 6:15 AM flight and am not really hungry that early anyway.

  25. Regardless of the length of the flight, I always bring my own food; usually a couple of small sandwiches made with split top rolls, a “beefstick” (summer sausage) and some hard candies, like Werther’s butterscotch.

    More often than not, little of it gets eaten. On the other hand, I don’t have any angst over “peanuts or pretzels?”

  26. @Karl-Johan Norén: Originally I wasn’t sure a prequel would really work. But after the first part, even though I knew the end point, I enjoyed seeing the world and seeing how they got to the end point and what happened along the way.

    @Steve Wright: LOL, that was great.

    @Kathryn Sullivan: Thanks for linking to Davison’s full remarks.

  27. @JJ

    re: Catherynne Valente

    I think the shorter the length, the better her stories are.

    Her latest, The Refrigerator Monologues, is a shorter length (147 pages, so I guess it’s a novella) that I really liked. Sometimes her prose is a little purple and overwrought, but that’s not the case here; the writing is tight, and the voices of the characters shine through. It’s a series of six linked stories set in her own comic-book universe where six female characters who have been “fridged” tell their stories from Deadtown. It gets a bit meta at times, but that’s very much the point; she’s challenging the superhero narrative about women dying to serve the emotional development of the male heroes. I think it’s the best of her work I’ve read so far.

  28. @Kendall: that was my reaction to the print version of DAtSaB, but other Filers seemed not to mind.

    @Cora: +1 to @Msb on fooding ahead; on KLM 11:35am Amsterdam-Venice, I got a small slice of pound cake. Not bad, but not lunch. (Sometimes one can extract info on whether a flight is serving “snack” or “lunch”; I didn’t try in this case, and don’t know whether KLM supports this or how they’d distinguish.) I’m less fussed over lesser food on short-to-medium trips because the choice in airports (at least the ones I’ve been in) has exploded.

    @Kathryn Sullivan: interesting, but the red herring of role models is still a big gaffe. Girls have had to look mostly to male role models for achievement for generations; maybe it’s time for boys to be taught that men aren’t the only models.

  29. Meredith:
    This Pixel Scroll made me feel very, very hungry.

    The very hungry Pixelscroll?

    One the first day she scroll one item about comicbooks
    One the second day she scrolled two items about Star Trek
    On the third day she scrolled three items about the Hugos
    On the fourth day she scrolled four funny Twitterreplies
    On the fifth day she scrolled five tidbits about Ray Bradbury
    On the sixth day she scrolled an item about Del Arroz and the puppies and Vox Day and had a very bad tummy ache 🙁
    The seventh day was a sunday again. She scrolled a Video Roundup about SF-Movies of the 60s.
    Now her Mount Tsunduko was very fat and she build herself a home that you call a library
    And whe she came out she was a satisfied filer.

  30. Yes, there is a lot of food in today’s scroll–but one of the items nearly made me lose my appetite. I’m struggling to retain my respect for Cherryh. We probably all have weird foods from our childhood that we still like for bizarre reasons–I know I do–but I have a…a thing about Miracle Whip. It’s the mullet of sandwich spreads.

    (On the other hand, as far as horrifying revelations from authors I love, this one is pretty mild compared to some I’ve had to face in the past.) 🙂

    Roast-beef-deserves-horseradish-stalk.

  31. @Leonore: Thanks!

    Ive followed the BBC-link. Mmh, Bright looks interresting… but the makeup is horrible. That might actual be a dealbreaker for me- the fantasy creatures dont look like fantasy creatures, they look like bactors in a low budget 80S movies. Its the worst makeup since Andromeda.

  32. Xtifr: We probably all have weird foods from our childhood that we still like for bizarre reasons–I know I do–but I have a…a thing about Miracle Whip. It’s the mullet of sandwich spreads.

    What’s wrong with mullet? (I don’t mind it myself, in a curry or crispy-fried. It’s a relatively cheap species of fish. Oh wait, did you mean the hair-style, short front & sides, long at the back? That was very much a look from the 80s that doesn’t need to return.)

  33. 3) I’ve read the 3 Midnight, Texas books (and it appears that there aren’t going to be any more), and I’m willing to give the show a chance. The usual grumbles about casting people who don’t look anything like the characters aside — among other things, Bobo is supposed to be a blond surfer-boy type and the Rev is small and dark, Mexicano/Indio — the trailer looked like fun. One important thing this reviewer misses (probably because he hasn’t read the books) is that Midnight is a refuge for a lot of people who would get lynched pretty much anywhere else.

    @ robinareid: Harris seems to be mixing it up with characters from several of her other series in this one. Manfred is my favorite secondary character from the Harper Connelly series, and someone from the Stackhouse books makes an appearance in book 2.

  34. Recent reading: Dennis LeHane’s THE DROP. This is a novelized version of his short story “Animal Rescue”. The short story is very tightly written; I believe it won an award. The novel provides an interesting example of an author stretching and expanding a short work into novel-length. Extra characters, subplots, viewpoints, etc. Overall, tho’, I preferred the short story. (Did I mention it was tightly written?) The novel feels a bit loose and the additions feel extraneous or distracting from the main man-dog-girl plot.

    (Apparently there was a film version of THE DROP in 2014, with Tom Hardy, I hadn’t been aware of.)

  35. I grew up on Miracle Whip, enough that when I first encountered mayonnaise, I thought there was something wrong with it because it WASN’T tangy like Miracle Whip was.

  36. For years I assumed Miracle Whip was one of those whipped cream spray can products and I was really confused about why anyone would want to put it in savoury sandwiches. It made a lot more sense when I found out what it actually was.

  37. @Chip Hitchcock I feel as though there was a time when boys did accept female characters as fictional role models. Menolly, Kitty Pryde, Princess Leia, and Eilonwy were just as important to me in the late 1970s/early 1980s as F’lar, Logan, Luke Skywalker, and Taran. Makes me wonder if the 1980s/1990s rise of hard-core gendered marketing for toys is a factor in changing this.

  38. Rob: I suspect you were anomalous in your time, but that’s just a SWAG — I’m old enough that I have no idea how common it was for boys to look up to any of those. (I loved Menolly too — but she had a special in to the serious-amateur musician, little removed from several failed auditions and the resulting music starvation, that I was when she appeared.) OTOH, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were backlash later; I remember the actress playing Susan Silverman saying that her character was softened from the books because it [was] the “post-feminist” 1980’s.

  39. Bonnie McDaniel: Her latest, The Refrigerator Monologues, is a shorter length (147 pages, so I guess it’s a novella) that I really liked… I think it’s the best of her work I’ve read so far.

    I wanted to try that, but I’m not a reader of comics or watcher of superhero movies, so I worried that I wouldn’t be able to appreciate it. However, if it’s only 147 pages, I’ll be glad to give it a try.

    It grieves me that I didn’t enjoy the works of Valente which I’ve read more than I did. I’ve seen her on panels at Worldcons, and she’s incredibly intelligent, quick-witted, and funny.

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