Pixel Scroll 9/12/17 There Are As Yet Insufficient Pixels For A Meaningful Scroll

(1) ABRAMS BACK AT THE HELM. The Wrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven and Umberto Gonzalez, in “J.J. Abrams To Replace Colin Trevorrow on STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX”, say that Disney says that Abrams has been signed to direct this Star Wars film after Trevorrow, who has been attached to Episode IX since 2015, was given the boot.

 “With ‘The Force Awakens,’ J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in a statement.

Abrams directed and produced “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. He is also serving as an executive producer on the upcoming film “The Last Jedi,” out this December, which Rian Johnson is directing. Abrams will co-write “Episode IX” with Chris Terrio.

(2) A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. Time-lapse photography unexpectedly reveals that starships are built from wood.

(3) TOOTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM. And it’s time that the new series theme embarked on a shakedown cruise.

When it comes to Star Trek, a dynamic main title theme is key. In this behind-the-scenes video for Star Trek: Discovery, composer Jeff Russo leads a 60-piece orchestra in recording the new series theme.


(4) THANKS FROM THE CENTER. The Center for Bradbury Studies hit its fundraising goal.

THANK YOU! Because of your generous support, the #CenterforRayBradburyStudies exceeded its #fundraising goal to raise over $6,000! In May, the Center received a generous grant from the Indiana Historical Society with a matching requirement that you helped raise. Thanks to you, we will be able to move forward in our mission to preserve and advance #RayBradbury's amazing legacy. We promise to steward your investments wisely. We'll do our best to keep you up to date on what's happening at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and the impact of your support. For those who missed the opportunity, the Preserving the World of Ray Bradbury crowdfunding site is still open. The collection is huge and our preservation needs continue. Thank you again, great Bradbury supporters, including those of you who support us regularly!!! #RayBradbury @indianahistory https://iufoundation.fundly.com/preservingtheworldofraybradbury

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(5) VINTAGE TUBE. Echo Ishii has a new installment in her series of reviews of antique TV shows: “SF Obscure: The Tripods”

The Tripods TV series is a 1984-1985 YA SF series based on a series of books The Tripods by John Christopher. It ran for two seasons on the BBC. There are many changes from the books to the tv series though the basic concept remains the same.

The show begins in the future 2089. We see a pre-industrial version of England. Horse drawn carriages, family farms, etc. A young man in a suit is being congratulated by his friends and family for his “capping “ceremony. He takes off his hat to reveal his shaven head. Out of the sky comes a giant metal tripod, that lands in the lake and pulls the young man up inside.

(6) BELIEVERS IN THE MISANDRY CONSPIRACY. At the Emperor’s Notepad a blogger who writes books as Xavier Lastra is convinced he has come up with a more profound explanation for the anti-male bias claims Jon Del Arroz has been selling online this week: “‘Lit Bait’ and preferences/discrimination in genre literature”.

Because the artistic preferences of SF&F editors go way beyond a possible gender bias (which I’m sure exists in some places.) You could be a woman of color with an African-Asian name and a card-carrying member of the Communist Party that if you write a certain type of story, it will be ignored. If it gives off just a whiff of testosterone or sounds like an action-packed adventure yarn with a preference for honest and unironic drama and fun, without any pretense of being “mature,” it won’t be accepted. After all, they have an artistic image to maintain. They can’t just publish any pulpy trash!

And here’s where the feminine aspect comes into play. Obviously, women write all sort of stories, but there is a specific female subset that seems to be especially apt at writing the sort of sentimental Literary Bait, dripping with status anxiety and cheap progressive performances, that routinely gets awarded. It happens at all levels, from school contests to international literary awards. Call it “discrimination” or simply “preferences,” but it’s there.

(7) CAN YOU SAY, “ECOLOGICAL DISASTER”? I KNEW YOU COULD. The more I hear about these hippo books, the more intriguing they become. The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fic & Fantasy Blog’s Martin Cahill gives Sarah Gailey’s latest two tusks up: “The Hippo Mayhem Continues in Taste of Marrow.

Earlier this year, Sarah Gailey treated us to a book that made the phrase “alternate history western hippo caper” part of the vernacular. River of Teeth is a fun, nuanced tale of an alternate 19th century United States in which hippopotami were introduced into the environment to make up for a livestock shortage and soon overran their boundaries (something that really almost happened, save for a fateful vote in Congress).  It’s a novella chock full of what we love in a debut: memorable prose, a lush setting, precise worldbuilding, and a cast of diverse characters trying their best to pull off a caper, even with the odds against them.

If River of Teeth asked why and how this hippo-hunting posse formed up, sequel Taste of Marrow asks a different question: why do they stay together? Especially with the caper is in shambles, a key member of the crew dead, and another presumed dead at the hands of a pregnant assassin?

Several weeks after River of Teeth, the feral hippos once penned into the Mississippi have been let loose, and Archie and Houndstooth are fleeing to parts left un-feraled.

(8) WEIN REMEMBRANCE. NPR’s Glen Weldon paid tribute to the late Lein Wein on Morning Edition: “Comic Book Legend Len Wein Dies At 69”.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: Len Wein wrote and edited the adventures of many well-known superheroes over the course of his career – your Batmans, your Hulks. But he created Wolverine with artists John Romita Sr. and Herb Trimpe. Hugh Jackman played him on screen for years. With his extendible, razor-sharp, adamantium claws, he isn’t much of a talker.


WELDON: He’s more of a grunter, and slasher and stabber.


WELDON: Wolverine was an innovative superhero in several ways. He was hotheaded. He was hyperviolent. He was Canadian. Most importantly, he was an antihero, one of an emerging breed of characters who strained against the good-guy-versus-bad-guy formula of old-school comics. As Wein explained in the 2016 PBS documentary, you couldn’t pin the guy down.


Video Games Day

History of Video Games Day

The history of Video Games Day is really the history of the video game, and that history goes back much farther than most people imagine. The first game ever created is often thought to be Bertie the Brain, an artificial intelligence designed to play Tic-Tac-Toe. Considering that Bertie was a 4 meter high machine built on vacuum tube technology, you can imagine it didn’t get out much, in fact, it was disassembled after the Canadian National Exhibition it was revealed at, and never rebuilt. A year later a computer was built called Nimrod, Nimrod was a computer built and displayed at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and designed to play a game called Nim.


  • September 12, 1958 The Blob premiered.
  • September 12, 1993 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman premiered on the small screen.


  • Born September 12, 1942 – Marge Simon, Grand Master of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association.

(12) HURRICANE HARVEY FALLOUT. The 100 Year Starship Symposium that was scheduled for this weekend in Santa Monica has been postponed til next year.

While we were busily and excitedly preparing for the debut of the NEXUS 2017 event in Santa Monica this month, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the administrative, programming and operational headquarters of 100 Year Starship (100YSS).

As you know from all the news reporting, Hurricane Harvey effectively stopped Houston business, transportation, commerce and private activities at homes for five days or more.  All aspects of the work on NEXUS was severely disrupted.  And though the skies are clear in Houston now, the problems of catching up in the face of clean-up and remediation of this natural disaster — currently called the most severe in U.S. history – continue.  We tried diligently, but it has been impossible to overcome Harvey’s impact.

The NEXUS event team huddled and decided to postpone NEXUS so that it will be the type of wildly transformational, engaging and magical event planned.

Space. Radical. Vital. Down to Earth.

We are working to reschedule NEXUS for the first quarter of 2018 and should have new dates shortly.

However, one of the weekend’s scheduled events will still take place —

The 25 Strong! Celebration under the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the Oschin Pavilion of the California Science Center will take place in Los Angeles on Friday, September 15 as originally scheduled since most of the planning and logistics activities were handled there.  If you had planned to attend, are local or have safe travel plans, then please join us.

Patrick S. Tomlinson will be hosting 25 Strong.

(13) LAWS WERE BROKEN. In “Still A Harsh Mistress – Andy Weir: Artemis” at Spekulatív Zóna, Bence Pintér reviews the new novel by the author of The Martian.

Nevertheless, Jazz needs money. Very, very much. And that’s the point when one of her old clients, a Norwegian billionaire businessman comes up with a plan. It is complicated, but it’s a piece of cake for a woman as talented as Jazz. The job pays a lot of money. It is also illegal as hell. And as it turns out, it can really affect the future of Artemis. By the way: why everyone is suddenly crazy about the failing aluminium industry?

The start is a bit bumpy, but after we learn more about Jazz and her ways, the novel shifts to full throttle. The elements are almost the same as in The Martian: a lot of fun in the narration by the badass protagonist and loads of Moon-science instead of Mars-science. Also with some sparkling dialogues and one-liners, the Brazilian mafia, and a collection of misfit friends of Jazz. Jazz is doing a lot of illegal stuff, so forget about the heroism of Mark Watney. And also say goodbye to space potatoes: all you got in exchange is algae-based food called Gunk, which is awful by all accounts.

(14) 19TH-CENTURY RESISTANCE LEADER. GF Willmetts of SFCrowsnest has some iconoclastic things to say about “The Forgotten Genius Of Oliver Heaviside by Basil Mahon (book review)”.

Much of the formulas and his science, especially his legacy, are in the footnotes at the back of the book. It would have made more sense to have incorporated much of this into the main contents of the book. If readers couldn’t understand it, they can easily skip it but placing in notes brings it to secondary importance. I think even Heaviside would agree his maths is more important than his life.

(15) NOTE FROM THE DEAN. Crooked Timber’s John Holbo helps you visualize what happens when “Robert Heinlein writes letters to editors and librarians”.

Enough Lovecraft! Robert Heinlein! I’m reading Innocent Experiments:Childhood and the Culture of Popular Science in the United States, by Rebecca Onion. Chapter 4, “Space Cadets and Rocket Boys: Policing the Masculinity of Scientific Enthusiasms” has quite a bit of good stuff on Heinlein – well it would have to, wouldn’t it? If you’ve read some Heinlein you kind of know what Heinlein is like. But there’s good stuff here about his exchanges with editors. The guy was one serious SJW, insisting on his minority quotas. Of course, he always manages to make it weird in his cosmopolitan-but-All-American, messianic-rationalist-masculinist libertarian-disciplinarian anti-authoritarian-but-in-an-authoritarian-way way.

(16) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY GAINS RECRUIT. Marvel says you can expect to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar space when the comic’s next issue appears.

The Guardians have been tasked with some wacky and big adventures while doing the Grandmaster’s bidding, which includes stealing from The Collector – and Star-Lord even accidently destroyed one of his favorite mix-tapes. Now, as they prepare for their Legacy arc THE INFINITY QUEST, they’ll have to team up with the group that has been on their tails – the Nova Corps – as well as one ex-Avenger if they want to keep the universe safe.

“We’re excited to have an Avenger joining the ranks of the Guardians…or is it the Nova Corps? Or both? Oh, you’ll see,” teased editor Jordan D. White. “Just know, he beat out some stiff competition, as you can tell by that cover of issue #12!”

Who exactly is this Avenger? One of the five Marvel superstars on this cover should give you a hint…

(17) HWA ANTHOLOGY. The Horror Writers Association’s Haunted Nights will be released October 3:

Sixteen never-before-published chilling tales that explore every aspect of our darkest holiday, Halloween, co-edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most successful and respected genre editors, and Lisa Morton, a leading authority on Halloween.

In addition to stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, vengeful ghosts, otherworldly changelings, disturbingly realistic haunted attractions, masks that cover terrifying faces, murderous urban legends, parties gone bad, cult Halloween movies, and trick or treating in the future, Haunted Nights also offers terrifying and mind-bending explorations of related holidays like All Souls’ Day, Dia de los Muertos, and Devil’s Night.

  • “With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds” by Seanan McGuire
  • “Dirtmouth” by Stephen Graham Jones”
  • “A Small Taste of the Old Countr” by Jonathan Maberry
  • “Wick’s End” by Joanna Parypinski
  • “The Seventeen Year Itch” by Garth Nix
  • “A Flicker of Light on Devil’s Night” by Kate Jonez
  • “Witch-Hazel” by Jeffrey Ford
  • “Nos Galen Gaeaf” by Kelley Armstrong
  • “We’re Never Inviting Amber Again” by S. P. Miskowski
  • “Sisters” by Brian Evenson
  • “All Through the Night” by Elise Forier Edie
  • “A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds” by Eric J. Guignard
  • “The Turn” by Paul Kane
  • “Jack” by Pat Cadigan
  • “Lost in the Dark” by John Langan
  • “The First Lunar Halloween” by John R. Little

(18) NOPE. Madeleine E. Robins explains “No, I Won’t Put You in My Book” at Book View Café.

I have a lot of friends who tuckerize, or even kill off people who have hurt them in their fiction. Sometimes they auction off  naming for a character for charity. Sometimes a friend just works his/her way into a story. I found myself a member of the NYPD a few years ago, which was kind of interesting. I have nothing against having real-world names or real-world people showing up in fiction; I sometimes find it distracting, if it’s a real-world name or person I personally know, but that’s not enough reason to demand a practice be stopped. I don’t kill off my enemies (wait, I have enemies?) or exes in my work, but again–that’s me.

(19) CAT HERDERS. SJW symbols survive Irma: “Hurricane Irma: Rare animals survive devastating storm”.

As Hurricane Irma cut a devastating path through the Florida Keys islands, a colony of six-toed cats appears to have survived without a scratch.

The furry felines, descended from a pet owned by Ernest Hemingway, ignored orders to evacuate as the winds swept through the writer’s historic house.

Endangered deer native to the islands also appear to have survived the storm.

Florida Keys and western parts of the state bore the brunt of Irma in the US, with winds of up to 120mph (192km/h).

“Save the cats. Get all the cats in the car and take off!” the late Mr Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel, urged in a video posted on Friday.

Staff responsible for maintaining the Hemingway Home Museum in Key West, Florida, chose to ride out the storm over the weekend in the property with 54 of their feline friends.

(20) SJW CREDENTIALS – ALL ABOARD! Unfortunately I can’t get my computer to pick up an excerpt from “What It’s Like to Ride Japan’s Cat Café Train” at Atlas Obscura. You’ll love the photos.

(21) ALWAYS NEWS TO SOMEONE. To make up for it, I will run another SJW Credential story I missed when it came out in 2016: Seanan McGuire and the TSA.

(22) SCARES MORE THAN CROWS. “Giant Star Wars AT-AT model built in front garden” – video at the link.

A man has built a giant Star Wars model in his front garden.

The 20ft (6m) replica AT-AT – a combat vehicle in the Star Wars films – was built by Ian Mockett, 54, at his home in Harpole, Northamptonshire.

It took him and his friends a month to make it out of wood for the village’s annual scarecrow festival.

(23) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Burn Out. JJ has anointed this a “strong contender for the DP Short Form Hugo.”

Stella, a space mechanician, has broken down and ended on a desert planet. While she is in despair, a little girl appears out of nowhere. Following the child into a tunnel, in the depths of the planet, she discovers a big cave full of objects that belonged to her, reminding her the dreams she has left behind.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Alan Baumler, Cat Eldridge, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

104 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/12/17 There Are As Yet Insufficient Pixels For A Meaningful Scroll

  1. (19) Leslie Fish raises 6-toed cats, too, as I recall.

    P.S. Do Moe-Droids Dream of Electric Sheps?

    P.P.S Thanks for the title credit.

  2. 6) One of the commenters to that post has the following to say:

    People do tend to mistake what they like for what is good and for what other people will like.

    At last. At least one of the puppies gets it. And then, he promptly blows it by insisting that editors should be representative of the reading public, which presumably consists solely of straight white men who like nutty nuggets.

  3. @2: ISTM that this shows the ship is built on wood, not from wood; most of the hull just appears. OTOH, being built of wood wouldn’t surprise me; “it’s only a model”.

    @3: they’re using a cimbasso (quick view @ 1:18)! I only heard about them a few years ago — they’re ~obsolete in classical music and the concerts I sing in usually can’t afford the extra — but Wikipedia says it’s often heard in movie scores.

    @15 is unsurprising to those of us who differentiate between the earlier and later RAH. (I’m also amused by the induhvidual who objected to the idea of children divorcing their parents; halfway between then and now I was an onlooker to a ~”petition for the emancipation of a minor child”.) It’s also unsurprising how hard he fought for his plot points; I get the impression he had no easy-to-get-along-with side. The comments are fascinating, even if Farah’s reading of the end of Podkayne is … limited.

    @20: the BBC has a video (subtitled; turn down the wretched soundtrack)

    @21: I suppose TSA is looking for regularly-shaped things — which a sleeping cat is not — but I would have expected them to wonder.

  4. 6- Someone had to carry the ‘if it ain’t me it ain’t fair’ torch for JDA as it was getting heavy.

    9 – I got so absorbed absorbed with video games (Fire Pro World and Yakuza) I completely forgot to finish my own bet SFF games list. But logic parameters for osbcure pro wrestlers required editing darn it.

    Speaking of SFF games for a non book Meredith Moment there’s a Gamefly sale for FFXV and Prey, and Xbox One sale for the ultimate edition of Star Wars Battlefront for $5. Pew pew.

  5. (6) Thank God they didn’t use the word ‘gatekeepers’; at least I didn’t see it. And I hate the bean-counters on all sides of the aisles who are busy looking for examples and reasons to be offended. Only this time with Mathemagics!! That seemed to be a lot of effort for something so minor. Maybe JDA’s publishing problem is that he’s exhausting to deal with.
    (15). First comment already on my nerves. I had the urge to write “Gee, Heinlein is a complex,flawed,at time irrational, at times irritating person. Who knew?”
    On the bright side, there is a rerun of Ed Sullivan on with both Topo Gigio and Caterina Valente.

  6. Chip Hitchcock: @2: ISTM that this shows the ship is built on wood, not from wood;

    Thanks for straightening that out, Chip. Someone might have accidentally thought I was joking.

  7. (6) The man makes the argument that stories that I would call “SF Adventure” simply don’t get published anymore, but this isn’t correct. They’re plentiful, even if they don’t dominate.

    What doesn’t get published is dumb stories where all the problems are resolved by someone who simply uses violence. I think those have been a hard sell for sixty years or more, though.

    As for the Del Arroz article which he links to, the first thing I want to say is that the statistics are terrible. Most of what he’s reporting simply isn’t statistically significant.

    But, more seriously, even the things that are statistically significant aren’t meaningful. It’s absurd to expect magazine issues to reflect the contents of the slush pile. Readers want some variety. If the slush pile were full of lots of stories about lovesick AIs but just a few about AI detectives, it wouldn’t be discrimination for an editor to choose to run just one of each. Likewise, even if 80% of stories in the slush pile have male protagonists, it’s not unreasonable for a magazine to choose to run equal numbers. The composition of the magazine is not based on the distribution of the contents of the slush pile–it’s based on what the editors believe their customers want to read.

    Come to think of it, though, the stories nominated by the Puppies over the last few years actually do look like they were drawn directly from the slush pile . . .

  8. Greg Hullender: Your critique is on target, but it’s controversy Del Arroz is after, not making a forensically sound case. And this week he’s made great strides in getting attention, landing on Nick Mamatas’ hit parade on FB. He wants to build his puppy base by cultivating personal hostility toward him of people who came out against slating a year or two ago.

  9. Matt Y on September 12, 2017 at 8:20 pm said:

    9 – I got so absorbed absorbed with video games (Fire Pro World and Yakuza) I completely forgot to finish my own bet SFF games list. But logic parameters for osbcure pro wrestlers required editing darn it.

    You misspelled Firewatch and The Turing Test

  10. (5) VINTAGE TUBE

    I object to The Tripods being “antique” although I guess obscure is valid because I don’t recall seeing it repeated on British TV at any point. Did it ever make it to the US? Anyway, I remember being suitably spooked by the whole thing. The book trilogy it was based on was also very good, although the later prequel was just weird.


    I preferred yesterday’s publication policy on JdA.


    I haven’t got to the sequel yet, but River of Teeth was fun. Perhaps the concept was a bit better than the execution, but still worth a read.

  11. (6) One of the jobs of being a critic is to learn how to understand the qualities of something you don’t like, and to examine what makes you like or dislike a work. This article shows what the failure of being a critic ends up like, with a bonus dose of misogyny.

    (Personally, I like a helping of nutty nuggets every so often. As long as they’re not all I get. And they don’t contain turds.)

    (12) It took them so long to realise they had to reschedule after Harvey hit?

    (15) One of the things that keeps Heinlein interesting to me is the way he carries his biases and contradictions so openly, as I think John Holbo points out in the comments: he can’t imagine a higher calling for girls than being mothers, but at the same time he was a firm believer in education and individual accomplishment for everyone. Similar contradictions seems to inform his views of minorities.

    So the continued discussion on Heinlein in these topics is because he is interesting. Unlike say Asimov, where you are done in less than five words.

  12. “If you’ve read some Heinlein you kind of know what Heinlein is like.”

    If that were true, I wouldn’t have spent the past 20-odd years abandoning Internet discussions after they’d turned into Heinlein flame wars. I don’t care whether they agree with me or not; once they start getting into passionate defense of their position, it’s going to take over the entire thread, so I’m out.

  13. 9) “It may seem hard to relate these origins to the quaint ceremonies of today, in which rustic communities cleanse themselves of “bad opinions” by designating a woman as ‘critic’ by drawing of lots or popular vote, constructing a wicker cage or ‘console’…”

  14. Re 6: I’m not a believer in any “misandry conspiracy” in SF&F, it pretty much says that in the text and even in the part you quoted, which mentions that the cause of the “discrimination” (which I actually say it can be interpreted simply as different preferences) is the content and style of the stories. And I focus more on awards than publication.

    Anyone who has read this last year’s short story Hugo finalists can see what I mean. “My Talons can Crush Galaxies” is the sort of sentimental bait I was talking about, and it’s also awfully written – it even has bullet points! Or you could check out 2017 Nebula nominee, “Things with bears,” which is a bad “The Thing” fan fiction where MacReady is suddenly gay and the “Thing” is a metaphor for AIDS and MacReady ends up blowing up police precincts because he is now fighting The System along old-time Black Panthers (I’m not joking.)

    I think it’s pretty obvious there is a specific subculture going on here which prefers a specific sort of stories. The fact that the writer is or isn’t female is tangential to the issue, which should be obvious if you hadn’t failed to quote the part where I specifically say that a double blind method wouldn’t work to solve any alleged (a word I use) “discrimination” because the main cause is one of content and style.

  15. I’ve honestly never seen “My Talons can Crush Galaxies” described as “sentimental” before. While not my favourite Hugo finalist by a long shot, describing its writing as awful is obviously wrong – you may not like the style, but it’s effective.

    Things With Beards I didn’t particularly take to either, but again “bad fanfic” is so far off the mark as to be obviously wrong. (Hmmm, and where have we seen the use of “bad fanfic” to put down a story before, I wonder?) Again, you may not like its style or its conclusions, but it’s well-written.

  16. Oh, and let’s consider Brooke Bollander’s previous award finalist “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead”, which was action-packed cyberpunk with lots of swearing. Can you fit that into your theory?

  17. emperorponders:

    I do agree that there can often be biases in what is awarded. Just as there might be biases in what you read and would like to have been awarded. As you say, this has absolutely nothing to do with discrimination. Tastes differ, that is all. And people who take their time working on awards or reading for them usually have different tastes than those that read only to pass the time.

    But why are you so prone to exaggeration?

    “If it gives off just a whiff of testosterone or sounds like an action-packed adventure yarn with a preference for honest and unironic drama and fun, without any pretense of being “mature,” it won’t be accepted.”

    Which of course is ridiculous. There’s plenty of books like that published. I mean, Tor Books even published The Destroyer books!

  18. I love the juxtaposition of this bit:-

    If it gives off just a whiff of testosterone or sounds like an action-packed adventure yarn with a preference for honest and unironic drama and fun, without any pretense of being “mature,” it won’t be accepted.

    – with item 7), which is presumably a subtle, nuanced, thoughtful and feminine tale of hippos rampaging across Louisiana.

  19. @Steve Indeed. The plot of River of Teeth takes from the trope of “Ten Little Indians”, which we all know is about 10 individuals having a frilly tea party, not being killed off one by one, in gruesome ways.

  20. Of course, there are some very dull stories out there. I’m reading one now; I’m nearly a quarter of the way through, and the plot’s barely got started, everyone keeps making these hellacious long-winded speeches all the time, the last chapter was nothing but a committee meeting, and the one I’m on right now involves some whiny woman who is joining the cult of the Triple Goddess because her mean father is interfering with her sexual self-expression…. Yes, it is “Vox Day”‘s A Throne of Bones, now you come to mention it.

    (This is one of the things that really bugs me about the Puppies. They promise all this slam-bang action and adventure and excitement, and then they don’t deliver.)

  21. Karl-Johan Norén: (12) It took them so long to realise they had to reschedule after Harvey hit?

    The event is being held 1,550 miles (2,500 km) from Houston (approx. the distance from London, England to Bucharest, Romania). Their hope to go ahead with the event was not an utterly unrealistic one.

  22. whiff of testosterone

    Amuses me when my fellow nerdy blokes whip out their “testosterone” argument. Typically it’s someone who works behind a desk in IT or accountancy or something, and spends their free time reading and playing games. I’m obviously fine with all that but let’s not pretend that being “politically incorrect” is the true mark of a hunter-warrior.

  23. Typically it’s someone who works behind a desk in IT or accountancy or something, and spends their free time reading and playing games.

    It me!

  24. @Niall McAuley :I think the idea is that the six-toes come first (since that is a mutation that cats are already prone to), and from cats with this feature, thumbs are then possible.

  25. (5) Vintage Tube.

    I think The Tripods novels were the first SF books I ever read, after discovering them in the children’s section of my local library in the late 60s. They are responsible for a lifetime of SF reading ever since. Thank you, John Christopher.

  26. I’ve seen the British TV show THE TRIPODS. It was bland, and I never finished it. It was low budget. There was supposed to be these implants on the bodes of the affected, but it looked like these bionic pieces were taped or glued on, and badly, as they moved or shifted within a scene.

  27. @Robert Whitaker Sirignano

    Well, yes, it was a BBC series so ropey effects are mandatory.

    I seem to recall the Tripods looking pretty good though, so I imagine that’s where most of the budget went.

  28. Mark on September 13, 2017 at 4:21 am said:

    It me!

    Hope you’re watching out for testosterone poisoning.

  29. The Tripods was also on German TV back in the 1980s when SF of any kind was rare on TV, so I have fond memories of it. Definitely not obscure for me.

    I was one of the people who nominated “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, because I genuinely felt it was one of the five best stories I’d read it 2017. I can understand why someone might not like it, but sentimental it definitely isn’t.

    Regarding Things with Beards, I like Sam J. Miller’s work a lot, though that story didn’t work that well for me. I wouldn’t call it bad fanfiction though, unless you think the various Lovecraft and fairytale retellings are also bad fanfiction.

  30. The Tripods was a pretty good adaptation… for its time, and its budget (by BBC SF standards of the day, it was positively lavish.) I do rather wish they’d managed to finish the trilogy – the series stopped on a rather abrupt cliffhanger at the end of the second book.

    The books themselves, of course, were in my local library when I was a wee nipper, and formed part of my introduction to SF, along with Heinlein and Andre Norton and the inimitable Hugh Walters. Fond memories.

  31. Personally, I thought that Things With Beards was easily the best The Thing slash fic I’d ever read and I was sorry that it didn’t make the Hugo award ballot. (All right, there’s not that much competition – less than a dozen stories on AO3 – but I thought the metaphor was really well done.)

    Anyway, if the idea that ‘literary’ style is somehow biasing genre awards and publications in favor of ‘feminine’ writing is kind of silly given how major literary awards are still so much more likely to go to male authors.

  32. 6) @cora:

    People do tend to mistake what they like for what is good and for what other people will like.

    It was hilarious to see this in the comments to that piece. You can see them aaaaaaaaaaalmost getting there, and then faceplanting on the landing.

    @John A Arkansawyer: That was also my first thought.

    @Karl-Johan Norén:

    One of the jobs of being a critic is to learn how to understand the qualities of something you don’t like, and to examine what makes you like or dislike a work. This article shows what the failure of being a critic ends up like, with a bonus dose of misogyny.

    Additionally, one is supposed to be able to see how something one doesn’t like may still be good, and how something you like may actually not be very good at all. (It’s still okay to dislike the good thing and like the not good thing, though. You just have to be able to see that, and understand, or at least attempt to understand, the why of it.)

    At this point I’m taking the misogyny and other nonsense from these folks as read, but even then I cannot get past the lack of craft. I mean, Dave Sim turned into a complete loon by the end, but he was at least still phenomenally skilled in his chosen medium. These folks aren’t even arguing for work from “masters with distasteful ideas”. This stuff is like the thinly-veiled fanfic I remember friends passing around in middle school.

    (I also didn’t care much for “My Talons can Crush Galaxies”; I found it conceptually interesting, and actually quite liked the bullet points, but found the prose itself to be mediocre and very first-draft-ish… but I definitely wouldn’t call it “sentimental”. And it was so much better than that Wright story, which just oozed “I think I’m being profound but actually I’m just being creepy”.)

  33. (2) — Barrington J. Bayley’s Star Winds (which I just reread last week) had wooden ships sailing ethereal currents into space. I think Philip Reeve’s Larklight &c. also had wooden spaceships.

    Tripods: I don’t think I ever saw the BBC adaptation, but when I was young I read the original three books so many times. In the elementary school library there was one copy in particular of The Pool of Fire where the checkout card just had my name written over and over and over. I also liked Christopher’s The Lotus Caves, but I don’t think I ever read anything else of his.

  34. Hampus Eckerman on September 13, 2017 at 2:00 am said:

    Which of course is ridiculous. There’s plenty of books like that published. I mean, Tor Books even published The Destroyer books!

    Sigrud je Harkvaldsson (The Divine Cities) doesn’t have just a wiff of testosterone but might be made of it. Waypoint Kangaroo and Kangaroo Too are fun adventures, Bubba and the Cosmic Bloodsuckers is coming up (and I don’t know anyone who can beat Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series on the testosterone fueled adventure front), Kings of the Wyld even has a metal band font on it, based on a recommendation here I’m reading The Greatcoats which is so far about 30% swordfights.

    None of which I read because anything with a wiff of testosterone is impossible to get published.

  35. @Joe H.

    Same here WRT John Christopher — never read any other of his works (although The Death of Grass is on my TBR list). After finishing The Tripods though, I did strip the children’s section of the library of any book with a rocket on the cover, and then moved on to Greek and Roman myths and legends, which I considered were SF adjacent.

  36. (5) I was quite fond of The Tripods and disappointed that it ended before adapting the third book. One of my local PBS stations aired it after Doctor Who. The young actors on the show were quite good.

  37. The fact that the writer is or isn’t female is tangential to the issue, which should be obvious if you hadn’t failed to quote the part where I specifically say that a double blind method wouldn’t work to solve any alleged (a word I use) “discrimination” because the main cause is one of content and style.

    Let me introduce you to the internet, where there are these things called “links” that connect people directly to the source material so they can go and read the full article being quoted. You might notice that (6) in fact has such a link and if anyone wants to read all of your tedious ramblings, they can do so.

  38. Iphinome on September 12, 2017 at 11:06 pm said:

    You misspelled Firewatch and The Turing Test

    Firewatch I still have in the backlog but not The Turing Test, will check though this site already adds too much to my to read mountain and occasionally to my movie/tv show mountain, and if it starts adding to my gaming mountain I’ll never see the other side of that mountain range. I heard it’s a land called productivity but that might be just a myth.

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