Pixel Scroll 11/28/17 Peering Into The Scrolloscope, I Perceived The Pixels of Mars

(1) COLD TRUTH. Rudy Rucker was a Windycon 44 GoH – and he confesses what was going through his mind at the time.

…Despite the good moments, I did have a very strong flash of “What am I doing here?” when I awoke on each of my three mornings at the con. It’s usually like that. And then I feel guilty and ungrateful for tiring of these dear and all-too-human souls. This annual event is their source of joy, their gay holiday of fun and magic, and they look forward to it, and work on it, and plan for it, and make all the pieces come together, and I, the aloof interloper, I have grave doubts. So I’m a horrible person. What a payoff.

“Why can’t you just relax, Rudy?” says my wife’s voice in my head. “Be happy for them that they’re having fun. They’re touching. Love them.” Well, maybe my wife wouldn’t go that far. Maybe that’s Jesus’s voice, or the Buddha’s, or the White Light’s…

…Well, okay, I was nice to everyone except for a fellow panelist on a “What are your fave books? panel. It was all the GoHs on the panel: GoHs for science, art, videogames, writing, cosplay, and signing (in the sense of translating talks into sign language in real time).

The panelist sitting next to me wouldn’t shut up about some dipshit fantasy books, lavishing cliché praises upon them, trading heartfelt hosannahs with a another motor-mouthed fellow panelist, who claimed to be the “moderator.” And they get onto William Goldman’s Princess Bride (a fine work but, I would humbly submit, not the greatest novel ever written).

And I manage to break in and mention that Goldman wrote a good coming-of-age novel called The Temple of Gold and that it was, in a way, a bit like Catcher in the Rye. And the panelist next to me cries: “The Temple of Gold is SO much better than Catcher in the Rye!” And I’m like, “Well, they’re different.” And the panelist is like “No, Catcher in the Rye is whiny garbage!” And, without turning my head, I deliver what is, for me, the mild-mannered math prof / SF writer, a withering put-down. “And you’re an…English teacher? Hm.”

(2) SEEKING AUTHENTICITY. The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna, in “How Pixar’s ‘Coco’ became a huge box-office hit”, looks at the ways that Disney/Pixar worked with Mexican consultants on Coco, which not only solved cultural sensitivity problems, but made for a better story.

The company was about two years into the making of “Coco” when it committed a significant PR blunder. For its marketing, Disney in 2013 applied to trademark “Día de los Muertos” — the Mexican holiday the movie centers on — sparking a backlash from prominent Latino voices.

Mexican American cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz (“La Cucaracha”) helped give image to the outcry. Alcaraz, who had tweeted that trying to brand the holiday came across as “awful and crass,” created the Mickey Mouse-spoofing cartoon “Muerto Mouse,” with the caption: “It’s coming to trademark your cultura.”

According to Jason Katz, the story supervisor on “Coco,” the backlash to the Southern California parent company’s trademark attempt was tough to take in the Bay Area, where Pixar’s Emeryville studio is located.

“Working at Pixar, you’re in a little bit of a bubble. We’re removed from the machine to a certain extent,” Katz told The Post’s Comic Riffs while in Washington. “[We were] trying to be as genuine and authentic as you can. It wasn’t something we were expecting. We were all just disappointed and sad.”

The incident, though, led to a realization. “We needed to make sure that even though we were reaching out to folks, we needed to make this movie differently than any other movie we’d made…”

(3) BY DESIGN. Ada Hoffman’s series of tweets begins with a swing at Rocket Stack Rank, but it’s also a thought experiment about building an sff review site:

Here’s one of her thoughts:

(4) EVERYONE’S A CRITIC (OR COULD BE). Likewise, Vajra Chandrasekera — critic, author, fiction editor at Strange Horizons, and one of this year’s Shadow Clarke jurors – blasts away at Rocket Stack Rank in a set of tweets you enter here. Apart from that, he is thought-provoking on the issue of awards-driven reviews and criticism.

(5) GONE GUY. New tech issues, new “solutions”: “Foiled! Electrician Used A Snack Bag As A Faraday Cage To Sneak Off The Job”.

For a while, Tom Colella had found his escape at the bottom of a bag of crunchy corn snacks. But it was not to last.

Earlier this month in western Australia, the Fair Work Commission, a workplace tribunal, found that the electrician — who was fired last year — had indeed been fired for good cause: He had been ditching work while on the clock, the commission concluded, and had hidden his whereabouts from his employer by MacGyvering a Faraday cage out of an empty bag of Twisties.

But let’s back up a step: A Faraday cage, named for 19th century scientist Michael Faraday, blocks electromagnetic fields. Faraday found that an enclosure — or, in this case, the foil-lined interior of the cheesy corn snack bag — can keep these charges out if there’s enough conductive material.

It appears Colella, 60, had slipped his company-mandated, GPS-enabled personal digital assistant into the bag to block the signals that enabled the device to track his movements.

(6) FROM CARD COUNTING TO GEIGER COUNTING. Another tech trick: “Berlin police find radioactive iodine on playing cards”.

Police raiding a Berlin restaurant have discovered playing cards which had been laced with a radioactive substance.

Detectives believe players could wear a hidden detector on their bodies allowing them to recognise certain cards, giving them an advantage.

The scheme was discovered when a routine check at a waste treatment facility uncovered an increased level of radioactivity in a rubbish truck.

Police managed to trace the vehicle to a restaurant in Berlin.

(7) CONSPIRACY THEORY? Visit Ingolstadt, “The birthplace of the Illuminati”.

The idea that clandestine Illuminati gatherings could be taking place in the small Bavarian city may seem far-fetched, but Ingolstadt does have a history of them. The city is the birthplace of the infamous secret society that has become part myth, part historical truth, and the foundation of countless conspiracy theories.

(8) GROUND SHORTAGE. “The buildings designed to house the dead” — Chip Hitchcock says, “Not exactly Silverberg’s urban monads, but a vertical solution to a different kind of population problem.”

In the last 50,000 years, it’s been estimated that around 101 billion people have lived and died on planet Earth. Like it or not, everyone alive today – and that’s more than seven billion of us – is likely to join them within the next century. So what will we do with all the bodies?

As human populations continue to expand and flood into crowded cities, traditional methods of handling bodies after death are coming unstuck. The issues range from a shortage of vultures in India – which has led the Zoroastrian community to abandon the ancient practice of sky burials in favour of dystopian “solar concentrators” instead – to the 40-year old corpses in Germany that remain mysteriously fresh after decades in the ground. In many European countries, it’s normal to re-use graves after 15-20 years. But recently some of their inhabitants have been refusing to rot.

(9) LEGO IDEA. BrickBros UK’s “Tron Legacy Light Cycle” has been selected as the next LEGO Ideas set.

The tron light cycle is based on the Disney : Tron Legacy film and consists of a tron light cycle with a user minifigure Sam Flynn it also comes with a Grid base to mount the light cycle on for display.

The light cycle allows a minifigure to easily fit into and clip onto the handles, the light cycle its self has a console in front of the user, two handle bars and detailing down the sides, there is also a power stream behind connected to the light cycle. The Sam Flynn minifigure comes in a tron suit with helmet and disc connected on the back of the minifigure for added detail. The light cycle can easily be mounted on to the Grid base with two connection points and the base has the Grid effect with black and trans-blue tiles creating a tron feel and has a medium azure trim for finish.

(10) POLITICAL FOOTBALL. Vox Day blogged something that reminded Camestros Felapton he hadn’t finished critiquing the new anti-SJW book: “Reading Vox Day So You Don’t Have To: I forgot this was a series”.

Vox is engaged in a similar exercise in extreme ontology to divide each and every fuss about something into either an example of

  • whiny SJWs being whiny and destroying civilisation because they are so evil and lefty…or….
  • a valiant struggle of brave souls against the forces of SJWs even if it doesn’t seem much to do with them.

Unhappy with how Marvel is directing it’s comic books? Well, the great fascist sorting hat says that is an anti-SJW crusade regardless of what your opinion is or that you are objecting to how a major corporation is acting.

Unhappy with the choice of coach for a college football team because of his past association with a convicted child abuser? Well, the great fascist sorting hat says that is lunacy and you must be one of them evil SJWs.

You can retrospectively sort of work out why one and not the other but it is hard to spot in advance.

(11) THE NOT-SO-NEWBORN KING. The Bangor Daily News wants to simplify your shopping — “Eight holiday gifts for the Stephen King fanatic in your life”.

Overlook Hotel keychains

You can let fellow Constant Readers know you’re a fan in a low key kind of way (pun intended) with these cool, retro-looking keychains inspired by various locations in King’s novels. Places like the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining,” Room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel in New York, and a keychain from Darnell’s Auto Repair from “Christine.” Speaking of “Christine,” how about this fun replica of the famed 1958 Plymouth Fury from both the book and the movie?

(12) LEIVA. In 2010, Steven Paul Leiva created and organized Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles. Steven’s novel Made on the Moon has just been published as an ebook by Crossroad Press. For $3.99 you, too, can be made on the moon. Find it on Amazon here.

(13) BRADBURY PRESERVED. The Indiana University Foundation wants to crowdfund $5,000 for the work done by “Students Preserving the World of Ray Bradbury”. They’ve raised $1,139, with 32 days left in the campaign.

Students help preserve over 100,000 papers of correspondence, documents, and photographs in the collection at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Their work has just begun and we need your support.

…Graduate interns and research assistants are important to helping preserve Bradbury’s collection of books, literary works, artifacts, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and so much more. Hear these students tell what they do in the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and what this work means to them.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Hampus Eckerman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

93 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/28/17 Peering Into The Scrolloscope, I Perceived The Pixels of Mars

  1. Holden Caulfield is undoubtedly a whiny character. And Catcher in the Rye captures and articulates his whininess with great clarity. As Bruce Arthurs says, that doesn’t make the book whiny garbage.

    2017 novels: recently finished Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng – a story of Victorian missionaries to Fairyland, with lots of sexual tension and a surprising amount of well thought out theology. Well worth a look if you’re into that sort of thing. Ng appears to be Campbell-eligible, and I’ll certainly be thinking about her name when the nominations open – it’s that strong a debut novel.

  2. @Standback I love the books you mention too. I haven’t read anything from this year that’s been close to them in style, but some 2017 books I have loved are:

    Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley – more historical weird along the lines of her last book. Nice bro(?)/romance alongside some minor mysteries as the explorer tries to understand something completely outside his experience.

    Mightier than the Sword by KJ Parker. Short imperial fantasy. All about the voice of the narrator which is dry and deadpan and makes something slight feel bigger.

    And, outside genre but probably the best thing I’ve read so far this year – Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre. A goodbye to the old circus. Picking over the corpse of the Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Melancholy and full of what ifs. And pretty good state of the nation stuff what with Brexit 🙁

    I’m looking forward to City of Brass next.

  3. There were two (or more) TRON arcade games. I would say the Discs of TRON (ideally with the cabinet where you could sit down to play it) was its true legacy. The regular TRON game, not so much. They should have done a whole game just on the Light Cycles. Certainly the best part of the movie and the best part of the TRON game.

  4. I won’t exactly defend Catcher in the Rye. I will say I read it when I was a depressed college student and identified with Holden. Which may say more about who I was then than anything about the book.

  5. Many thanks for all the recommendations! I appreciate them muchly, and by all means keep them coming (I opted for the 12-credits-in-one-blow option at Audible…)

    @Dann: Yup, alas, I’m not going to jump into a Vol. 5… It’s taken me this long in the year to pick up even a standalone 😛

    @PhilRM: The Rift (and Nina Allen) sound really intriguing! Unfortunately, seems like that’s not on Audible. I think I’ll get that in text-based format…

    Infomocracy: Thanks for the recommendation! It’s on-target — I preordered Infomocracy as soon as I stumbled across the blurb — but alas, I bounced really hard off of it, and I won’t be coming back for vol. 2.

    Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. and the Elizabeth Bear novel both sound worth trying. I’ll be trying both of ’em, I hope 🙂

    Many many thanks!

  6. My favorite thing to come out of TRON was probably the TRON 2.0 video game (originally on Xbox but currently available for PC on Steam) which was, I think, a better sequel than the second movie; and did a great job of capturing the look of the first movie (with the neon colors and weird geometric shapes).

  7. robinareid: I actually wandered over to read Rucker’s whole screed and thought what a piece of elitist crap that was.

    This sums up my thoughts perfectly. Given the current atmosphere-piercing height of Mount Tsundoku, I feel no need to add any Rucker books to it. Ever.

  8. A humble wish for the second half of ST:Discovery’s season:
    (SPOILERS through S01E09, “Into the Forest I Go”)

    V jnag Trbetvbh onpx.

    V’ir xrcg njnl sebz “bssvpvny” fcbvyref naq pbzzragnel, fb V unir ab vqrn vs guvf vf va nal jnl yvxryl.

    Ohg vg frrzf cerggl urnivyl vzcyvrq gung gur raq bs “Vagb Gur Sberfg V Tb” unf gur Qvfpbirel ynaqvat va na nygreangr havirefr. Naq, jvgu gur ohvyq-hc gurl unq orsber gur whzc (naq ubj hggreyl, hggreyl rssrq-hc Ybepn yrsg uvf fvghngvba onpx ubzr), V guvax gurer’f ng yrnfg n qrprag punapr gung guvf havirefr-ubccvat vf tbvat gb or na nep, abg whfg n bar-bss, fvatyr-rcvfbqr ivfvg.

    Naq vs gung’f gur pnfr…

    Gura nygreangr Trbetvbh pbhyq or n erthyne punenpgre.

    Vs guvf unccraf… VS… V pnaabg qrfpevor ubj qryvtugshy gung jbhyq or.
    (N) Trbetvbh jnf n sernxva’ snagnfgvp punenpgre, naq V’q ybir gb unir ure onpx, va nal jnl, funcr be sbez.
    Naq (O), yvivat fvqr-ol-fvqr jvgu na nygreangr Trbetvbh jbhyq or n snagnfgvp jnl gb engpurg hc grafvba jvgu Oheaunz, znxvat ure zhgval naq snvyher fbzrguvat rire-cerfrag, va n jnl gung “fb jr arrq gb svtug ybgf bs Xyvatbaf” whfg qbrfa’g nppbzcyvfu.

    Ab vqrn vs guvf vf erzbgryl yvxryl. Ohg gur vqrn znxrf zr unccl, fb, ::svatref pebffrq::V jnag Trbetvbh onpx.

    V’ir xrcg njnl sebz “bssvpvny” fcbvyref naq pbzzragnel, fb V unir ab vqrn vs guvf vf va nal jnl yvxryl.

    Ohg vg frrzf cerggl urnivyl vzcyvrq gung gur raq bs “Vagb Gur Sberfg V Tb” unf gur Qvfpbirel ynaqvat va na nygreangr havirefr. Naq, jvgu gur ohvyq-hc gurl unq orsber gur whzc (naq ubj hggreyl, hggreyl rssrq-hc Ybepn yrsg uvf fvghngvba onpx ubzr), V guvax gurer’f ng yrnfg n qrprag punapr gung guvf havirefr-ubccvat vf tbvat gb or na nep, abg whfg n bar-bss, fvatyr-rcvfbqr ivfvg.

    Naq vs gung’f gur pnfr…

    Gura nygreangr Trbetvbh pbhyq or n erthyne punenpgre.

    Vs guvf unccraf… VS… V pnaabg qrfpevor ubj qryvtugshy gung jbhyq or.
    (N) Trbetvbh jnf n sernxva’ snagnfgvp punenpgre, naq V’q ybir gb unir ure onpx, va nal jnl, funcr be sbez.
    Naq (O), yvivat fvqr-ol-fvqr jvgu na nygreangr Trbetvbh jbhyq or n *snagnfgvp* jnl gb engpurg hc grafvba jvgu Oheaunz, znxvat ure zhgval naq snvyher fbzrguvat rire-cerfrag, va n jnl gung “fb jr arrq gb svtug ybgf bs Xyvatbaf” whfg qbrfa’g nppbzcyvfu.

    Ab vqrn vs guvf vf erzbgryl yvxryl. Ohg gur vqrn znxrf zr unccl, fb, ::svatref pebffrq::

  9. Well, let’s not forget that Rucker was part of the original Cyberpunk Movement (which is distinct from what we now refer to as the cyberpunk genre). Those guys were going to save science fiction from itself by being…um, new and different, I guess? Though how they were being new and different was never really clarified. They weren’t doing what those darn hippies had done with New Wave, but were still being out-of-the-mainstream somehow. Which made them inherently better than everyone else.

    Most of the old cyberpunk crowd mostly got over themselves as they got older. Gibson remains a fantastic writer, and Sterling is doing outstanding work. But it sounds like Rucker is still trying to cling to some sort of vague feeling of inherent magical superiority. Which is too bad–I do like some of his stuff, though there’s nothing I’d call great.

  10. @Bruce Arthurs: A book may not necessarily be whiny garbage, even if it’s about whiny garbage.

    But whether it is perceived as such depends a great deal on individual readers, and clearly quite a few people don’t see CitR as some universal/human/exploration of the psyche blah blah blah which is just what happens with every. single. book. Some people love it, some hate it. But the ones who love it don’t get to claim the authority to declare it universal/great literature as if everybody who hates it is just “subjective.”

    As people have pointed out, the context in the panel was “favorite” books which also allows for “not favorite” books.

  11. @Xtifr: Though how they were being new and different was never really clarified.

    Oh, well, Jeanne Gommoll thought it was pretty clearly stated by Bruce Sterling when he dismissed 70s science fiction which of course included the first major wave of openly feminist sf and the growth of sff by women writers generally:

    http://www.reocities.com/athens/8720/letter.htm

    And I still have the occasional nightmare about the first Pop culture conferences I attended in the early 1990s when academic men “discovered” the wonder that was cyberpunk (yeah, it takes academics a while), and there are multiple paper sessions (all. male. scholars) rhapsodizing at length about the wonderousness of this wonderful new wonder stuff.

  12. @Standback: I also loved Allan’s The Race, so if you like The Rift you should check that out, too.

  13. Dann on November 29, 2017 at 7:42 am said:

    @Standback

    Sebastien de Castell’s

    As an aside you recommended the Greatcoats trilogy to me and while I’ve only read the first my wife and l enjoyed it a lot and look forward to the others, thank you!

  14. Standback on November 29, 2017 at 12:44 pm said:

    Many thanks for all the recommendations! I appreciate them muchly, and by all means keep them coming

    All Our Wrong Todays maybe? My wife liked it but I wasn’t in the mood for paradox defying time travel.

    The Wanderers might also be an interesting fit. Walkaway for sure if you haven’t read it already, possibly the most uplifting dystopia I’ve ever read.

  15. @Matt Y

    You’ve made my day. Thanks very much.

    I hope you and your wife enjoy the series as much as I have.

    As a bonus, Sebastien is a terribly nice guy via email. I hope he hits it big someday.

    VBR,
    Dann

  16. I’ve only read the first of the Greatcoats triology, I’m holding out on the rest for my vacation in February. But I really liked the first one.

  17. Standback – 2017 novels?
    I see Infomacracy and Null States mentioned. I loved them, but I see you didn’t. I hope you might give it another try, but could you tell me why you bounced? I’m curious because I’ve been suggesting these all over the place.
    Autonomous by Annalee Newitz might fit the bill.
    Ken Macleod’s Corporation Wars trilogy had its last book (Emergence) come out this year.
    Void Star by Zachary Mason may fit the bill (I’ve really got to better organize the currently reading queue).

  18. Rucker is certainly a condescending, elitist ass.

    Catcher in the Rye definitely struck me as whiny garbage.

    When I write reviews, my only goal is that other people should be able to recognize books they’ll like or not like, hopefully regardless of whether I liked or disliked it. No great and high goals of writing criticism for the ages.

  19. Lis Carey: When I write reviews, my only goal is that other people should be able to recognize books they’ll like or not like, hopefully regardless of whether I liked or disliked it. No great and high goals of writing criticism for the ages.

    This. ^^^  So much this.

  20. @Lis Carey: When I write reviews, my only goal is that other people should be able to recognize books they’ll like or not like, hopefully regardless of whether I liked or disliked it.
    That is a standard to which every reviewer should aspire.

    ETA: With the caveat that the role of criticism is somewhat different, which is why I prefer to separate ‘reviews’ from ‘criticism’.

  21. @Lis Carey

    When I write reviews, my only goal is that other people should be able to recognize books they’ll like or not like, hopefully regardless of whether I liked or disliked it. No great and high goals of writing criticism for the ages.

    Indeed….+1….and similar such stuff.

    I try to point out what works in a book as well as what doesn’t work within the context of the book. While my preferences are sure to be perceivable, it isn’t the focus for my reviews.

    Regards,
    Dann

  22. As I was prepping Samuel Delany’s “Racism and Science Fiction” for a class next semester, I was amused to read (technically re-read, but I hadn’t remembered this part of the essay) about his Nebula win for The Einstein Intersection and the speech given by a Big Name SFWA member (the organization being only three years old at the time!) about how SFWA was “letting itself be taken in by (the phrase was, or something very like) ‘pretentious literary nonsense,’ unto granting it awards, and abandoning the old values of good, solid, caftsmanlike story-telling. My name was not mentioned, but it was evidence I was (along wtih Roger Zalazndy, not presnt) the primar target for this fusillade.”

    This happened in 1968.

  23. @Standback I also haven’t read anything in 2017 similar to the books you mention (well, Seven Surrenders, but I’m sure you’ve already got that one), but in the interest of getting a positive attitude back into my reading and my life, here’s some stuff I’ve recently enjoyed that might work for someone:

    The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera: Fantasy novel in an Asian setting (China/Mongolia with the serial numbers filed off) about two girls with the godly powers, fighting demon zombies and the overwhelming political forces trying to keep them apart. Central lesbian romance, and I loved having female main characters who are unapologetically superpowered – and in one case, fabulously arrogant about it – but still face challenges and make mistakes etc. Structurally, it’s a bit odd, as it’s mostly told in second person by one main character to the other, narrating events that she was there for, but I got over that pretty quickly.

    An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King The SF is kind of light in this one (it reads like a family drama for lots of the first half, which stretched my tolerance, though I enjoyed the setting enough to persevere), but it’s an interesting what-if extrapolating from the one child policy in China to a country with 50 million unmarried men, where government social engineering is desperately trying to maintain stability and keep masculinity valuable, while also permitting polyandry. The setup is pretty plausible stuff, especially having studied (and, from living in China, occasionally experienced) that government’s ongoing efforts to promote a gender unequal family structure through stigmatisation of “Leftover Women” (Leta Hong Fincher’s book of the same title is my recommended non-fiction read on that subject).

    And +1 for The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden – I agree that it was a hot mess, falling somewhere between a mosaic novel and a single story told through multiple viewpoints in a way which means it doesn’t really come together as either one, but it still really hooked me and there are so many fun worldbuildy things going on that I couldn’t help but love it.

    I’m personally partway through [With] Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley Beaulieu, which is shaping up as well as the first one did for me, although I’m reading very slowly at the moment and had to take a break altogether after finishing the Bloodprint, which, alas, was a very strong Did Not Do It For Me (sorry to those who recommended on here!). I also just cleared my entire TBR-sooner list, which was getting uninspiring, and had a mini e-shopping spree to refill it with recommended novellas from the palooza, as well as Weave a Circle Round (how good does this look!) and the next book in Cat Valente’s Fairyland series (“The Girl who Soared…”). So, if I’m not satisfied after all that, I guess there’s no hope…

  24. @Doctor Science: Delaney doesn’t say. My recollection, however (I don’t have the book to hand at the moment) is that Delaney goes on to say that, rather ironically, this same person later went on to champion his (Delaney’s) fiction.

  25. @robinareid: it’s hardly surprising that some Big Name SFWAn grumbled about The Einstein Intersection; SF writers are no more collective/herdable than any other cats. That was about the time that two ~equal-sized batches of writers paid for ads in one of the magazines, one ad opposing involvement in Vietnam and the other favoring it. I admit I’ve liked some Delany and bounced hard off at least as much — and I’m a lot younger than any BNS of 1968 would have been.

    I wonder whether books like Catcher will still be noticed a few decades from now; if @Nicoll’s younger-readers panels are any indication, there’s a lack of sympathy for the concerns of previous generations. (Is Rebel Without a Cause still respected? I remember not thinking much of it when I saw it 20 years later.) Or would Salinger’s reputation in general, or Catcher‘s reputation in particular, have faded if he’d written more and/or not made himself such a conspicuous recluse? (FWIW, I was assigned “Esme” twice in the late 1960’s, and never felt interested in reading further.)

  26. @BravoLimaPoppa3:

    I see Infomacracy and Null States mentioned. I loved them, but I see you didn’t. I hope you might give it another try, but could you tell me why you bounced? I’m curious because I’ve been suggesting these all over the place.

    Watch out! I try not to go around harshing on books I didn’t enjoy, but soliciting my opinion can be like inviting a vampire into your house. No backsies 😛

    Seriously, though: The concept is fantastic, but no other element of the book worked for me. I felt like there was no plot or direction; the characters felt cardboard; the stakes were nonexistent (or perhaps, overblown and hollow).
    Worst of all, I felt the concept was just developed really poorly — a complete overhaul of democracy, with almost no focus on how society has been affected by these changes; just a frenetic struggle over who wins the next election under the new system. Which, um, I just didn’t care about 🙁

    It was also much, much more of a thriller than I was expecting, and I really don’t like thrillers.

    I reviewed the book at length on Goodreads . Besides the review itself, you can see the comments I jotted down as I was reading (in the “Reading Progress” section. I’d be happy to discuss further, here or there or anywhere 🙂

  27. THANK YOU ALL for all the recommendations!

    Some of them sound right up my alley; others of them sound like they’ll get me out of my comfort zone 🙂

    I’m very unlikely to read them all, but I’m going to make an effort to at least sample the ones on this list. It looks like a pretty awesome list 😀

  28. Thanks Standback. I’ll go dust off my Goodreads account and take a look.
    I don’t mind thrillers and that my be the break point.
    But a re-read may be in order.
    Thanks again!

  29. @Doctor Science: Delaney does not say and as noted above the guy became a fan after he actually read the novel. Delaney says he was going on a friend’s response. I imagine the name could be found through some archival searching.

  30. @BravoLimaPoppa: I’m pretty sure you don’t need an account to read the review — but if you do dust it off, do send me a friend request 😀

  31. @Standback
    Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty might be right up your alley, if you like mysteries. I haven’t read The Tiger’s Daughter yet, but it sounds good.

    As for Star Trek Discovery, I very much agree with you.

    V’q or irel unccl vs Fgne Gerx Qvfpbirel ghearq vagb n havirefr/qvzrafvba ubccvat irefvba bs Iblntre (nibvqvat fbzr bs gur ceboyrzf bs gung fubj), orpnhfr gur jne jvgu gur Xyvatbaf vf abg nyy gung vagrerfgvat senaxyl.

    V’q nyfb ybir gb frr Trbetvbh onpx, orpnhfr fur jnf n terng punenpgre naq Zvpuryyr Lrbu fubhyq or va nyy gur guvatf naljnl. Gubhtu V jnag ure onpx nf n erthyne be frzv-erthyne naq abg whfg nf n pbafgnag erzvaqre gung Zvpunry Oheaunz vf gur jbefg crefba rire(GZ). Orpnhfr gur pbafgnag erzvaqref gung Zvpunry vf nccneragyl gur jbefg crefba va Fgnesyrrg rire jrer ernyyl tengvat naq vaqrrq Qvfpbirel fgnegrq gb vzcebir bapr gur fubj fgnegrq gerngvat ure zber nf n zrzore bs gur perj naq yrff nf gur ubeevoyr, ubeevoyr zhgvarre.

    Fb qebc gur jubyr Xyvatba jne naq zhgval nep, gerng Zvpunry nf n erthyne zrzore bs gur perj, jevgr Ybepn zber yvxr n erthyne Fgnesyrrg pncgnva yvxr va rcvfbqr 9 (hagvy ur qvq jungrire ur qvq ng gur raq), qba’g yrg Nfu Glyre ghea bhg gb or Ibd naq oevat onpx Trbetvbh.

  32. Pingback: Top 10 Posts For November 2017 | File 770

  33. I’m always wary when non-Asian authors tackle faux-Asian settings. Seems from the top review on goodreads for The Tiger’s Daughter that my wariness is well deserved.

  34. @Oneiros urk, I hadn’t read that review and I didn’t pick up on most of that while reading – my knowledge of Japanese history and culture is very limited so I interpreted the main culture as primarily Chinese (especially the view of their cultural superiority while taking things from their own periphery), but I can see how the author directly importing Japanese language and concepts would be offensive if they are used poorly as this suggests. Sigh to problematic faves.

    (I do disagree with the review author telling the book author – who is Latina – to stay in lane and stick to Latinx fantasy in the comments, though.)

  35. (3rd time lucky – sorry Mike!)

    @Arifel: I’ve never actively researched Japanese history and culture but I have been involved with some of its more traditional elements for quite a few years now, so sadly I would pick up on some of that weirdness. I’m familiar enough with Japanese honorifics and suffixes to be struck by the weirdness of using o- like that, and also why -sun and -tun? If it’s male/female that doesn’t quite map to Japanese suffixes so I could see the reason for that change, but if it’s levels of formality/familiarity…

    But the real thing that would throw me out of the story is the things to do with weapons. There’s historical and cultural reasons surrounding why the naginata is considered a woman’s weapon, but that doesn’t make it any less deadly and the women who use them any less kickass.

    But I also agree with your point that a latinx author should be able to write about whatever they want, just as well as any other author. But all authors should research, particularly when it gets into touchy topics like the cultural exchange between China and Japan, or something intrinsic to a language/culture (how and why and when honorifics and suffixes are used) or historically important/interesting details (naginata).

    I don’t mind so much about the made-up words or borrowing Japanese words, but there needs to be a level of consistency there that doesn’t seem to be present.

    I’m positive it’s a very enjoyable book, btw, but as I said, I’m always uneasy stepping into a novel that draws on Asian themes (and particularly when they use Japan/Japanese things.)

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