Pixel Scroll 4/6/18 The Scroller You Tick, The Pixeler You File.

(1) ARGUMENT AGAINST COLORBLINDNESS. Chesya Burke now has set to “public” her analysis of the lack of diversity in anthologies generally, and in the horror genre particularly.

Some of the arguments I’ve seen mentioned excusing the exclusion of diverse writers:

  1. Editing is hard. Many anthos are put together as an “afterthought,” editors are forced to simply search out writers they “like.”

Putting together anthos as an afterthought is the first redflag. It’s shocking that anyone would think this is a good idea or will yield good results. An editor who does not have a strong grounding of current writers in the genre is a second. White editors who only choose writers they “like” is the final straw. You’re literally editing white boy escapism at that point. Let’s call it what it is.

  1. Just mentioning race is racist.

Since when is simply mentioning race racist? That’s absurd. Some people are white, some black and many others. There is nothing racist about pointing this out. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Ignoring someone’s racial identity is racist, because the default is white. There’s all kinds of research on this, it’s called colorblind racism.

  1. Editors just want the best stories, expecting them to publish writers who don’t deserve it is reverse-racist and sexist. Having black only or women only anthos is “cringy.”

There are LOTS of anthos with only white men writers filling the ToC, especially in the horror genre. It is irrelevant that they didn’t put out a call for only white men, because the outcome is the same. White men have, as we’ve seen, been the default. This is why claiming “I don’t read black or white writers, I just want good stories” upolds the status quo. But never once in the history of ever have you heard a white man writer say that he felt “cringed” because he was published because he was a white man, at the expense of writers of color and women. Because this is what happens, don’t fool yourself.

Burke launched a good discussion, both from people who unintentionally provided examples of the problems, and others talking about the work it takes to overcome them. Among the latter, The Dark Magazine’s Silvia Moreno-Garcia:

Silvia Moreno-Garcia Here’s some free advice for those who may be like but there’s nothing I can do to build diversity and I’m an editor. I funded Innsmouth Free Press paying a penny a word and managed to get POC and women to write in a very male dominated sub genre, Lovecraftiana and Weird fiction. I did this by actively recruiting writers and convincing them my efforts were worth. Writers who had their first credits with me include Daniel Jose Older, Nadia Bulking and Molly Tanzer. I worked out hard, talking about how women and POC were welcome, and then *showing* it. Over time people have come to understand I’m an editor who values work from women and POC, and they sub to me. Because I want to encourage more authors to submit, I just ran a successful Kickstarter for THE DARK, where I’m an editor. I’ve done this and more starting with a penny a word and my friend Paula to support me. Because I truly wanted to be a better editor and give a place to women and POC. And I’ll continue that with the help of The Dark, Sean Wallace and hopefully future authors reading this.

(2) BEEB. Jonathan Cowie of Concatenation did these links in dialect: “First (and forgive me if you’ve already covered) today in Brit Cit we have the start of a mini-series of Mielville’s The City and The City on B Beeb Ceeb 2.”

RadioTimes invites you to “Meet the cast of The City And The City”.

(3) PETER WATTS IN CONCATENATION. And Cowie also informs they have, “advance-posted (that is it is up but not yet on our index and what’s new pages) an article on SF author and biologist Peter Watts scientists that have inspired him. This is part of an on-going series with previous contributors including SF authors
and scientists (different disciplines) Paul Mc Auley, Ian Stewart, Andrew Bannister, and Tony Ballantine. Most people use .rss or the regularity of our seasonal postings to keep tabs on us. But a very few follow us on Twitter for advance alerts only (no chat). For this dedicated few we have just tweeted an advance alert:”

Peter Watts’ post begins:

It’s taken me nigh on two years to compile this list. Perhaps half that time was spent fuming over the demand that it be ten scientists long? I mean, what if I don’t find that many twentieth-century scientists inspirational? What if my pop-culture recognition of Fermi and Feynman doesn’t really rise to the level of inspiration, what if the scientists who did inspire me did so on a purely personal level, without achieving rock-star status? What if the people who inspired me aren’t even real scientists, huh?

Concatenation’s full summer issue is expected online April 15.

(4) CAMERON’S SF HISTORY. A Syfy Wire writer is impressed: “James Cameron joins Spielberg, Lucas for AMC’s ‘Story of Science Fiction’ series”. I’m still waiting to see some writers’ names on these lists:

How exhaustive is Cameron’s trip into the genre’s storied past?

“Throughout each episode of the six-part television series, [Cameron]… explores science fiction’s roots, futuristic vision, and our fascination with its ideas through interviews with A-list storytellers, stars, and others whose careers have defined the field,” says AMC, “including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Guillermo del Toro, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, and Sigourney Weaver, among some 100 other series participants.”

Whoa — now that’s a lineup that definitely has our attention. To check out more video previews of the one-on-one talks Cameron will be sharing with some of the genre’s biggest luminaries, head on over AMC’s landing page.

(5) SNAPSHOT. Another cat snoozing in the vicinity of SFF:

(6) SFF ART WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIPS. Artists have until April 12 to apply for the two scholarships being offered to the Muddy Colors 2018 Illustration Master Class being held in Amherst, MA from June 11-17.

Arnie Fenner notes, “I think it’s something around $2800 to participate so it’s a pretty sweet give-away.”

The IMC is a 7 day workshop focused on making you a better artist with the help of some of the best illustrators and fine artists in the world. All disciplines (traditional or digital) and skill levels are welcome. Old or young. Novice or pro. Anyone may apply for this scholarship.

Full guidelines at the link.

(7) TAKAHATA OBIT. Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata has died at the age of 82.

Mr Takahata was nominated for an Oscar in 2015 for The Tale of the Princess Kaguya but is best known for his film Grave of the Fireflies.

He founded Studio Ghibli with iconic director Hayao Miyazaki in 1985.

It became a world-renowned animation studio, producing blockbusters such as Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Mr Takahata started his career in animation in 1959 at Japan’s Toei studio, where he met Mr Miyazaki, who is usually seen as the face of Studio Ghibli.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 6, 1967 Star Trek’s “City on the Edge of Forever” first aired.
  • April 6, 1968 — Stanley’s Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey makes its debut in movie theaters.

(9) HAL ORNAMENT. And the anniversary makes this io9 story more timely than it would have been: “Hallmark Has a Talking, Glowing HAL 9000 Ornament Headed for Your Christmas Tree”.

Hallmark is continuing its celebration of the 50th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey right to the end of 2018 with a new keepsake ornament that lets you hang a miniature version of the film’s HAL 9000 computer on your Christmas tree, complete with its menacing, glowing, red eye.

The ornament doesn’t exactly scream “happy holidays,” of course; HAL did kill most of Discovery One’s crew. But as bad guys go, the computer, with its perpetually calm voice, remains one of the most disturbing antagonists in film history, and that certainly earns him a branch on my Christmas tree.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY LANDO

  • Born April 6, 1937 – Billy Dee Williams

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian discovered the Wizard of Id having a kind of entmeet….
  • JJ admits Incidental Comics’ “Stages of Work” isn’t genre. In case you have a strict rule about that sort of thing.

(12) LOST IN SPACE. It’s time to “Meet Dr. Smith.”

(13) GUARDING THE GUARDIANS. Karl Urban is back says The Hollywood Reporter:

Karl Urban is returning to the small screen.

The Star Trek and Lord of the Rings actor has landed the starring role in Amazon Studios’ straight-to-series superhero drama The Boys.

The Boys takes places in a world where superheroes embrace the darker side of their massive celebrity and fame, and centers on a group of vigilantes known informally as “the boys” who set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty.

(14) PORTION CONTROL. Walking With Giants demos its “Mini Bacon and Eggs.” You might need to order seconds.

(15) HOW THE JURASSIC ERA WOULD REALLY END. Brandon Carbaugh’s thread breaks down how today’s social media would dispose of Jurassic Park.

Includes:

(16) THE BEES KNEES. Camestros Felapton showed me once more why he’s a Best Fan Writer Hugo nominee in his instant filk about the robot bees story linked in yesterday’s Scroll.

(13) To the tune of Yesterday

Robot bees, were tired of flying into trees,
Now they live were there ain’t no seas,
Oh Mars is fine for robot bees

Suddenly, the bees aren’t where they are supposed to be,
There at the poles digging furiously
Oh robot bees teraformingly

Why they had to fly
To the poles
And nearly freeze?

They found, something bad
Now I’m sad
For robot bees

Robot bees, fighting ancient martian zombie fleas
Trapped for eons in a polar freeze
Oh robot bees are hard to please

Monster fleas wiould conquer Earth quite easily
But they can’t defeat a robot bee
Our last defence is an apiary

Why they fight so tough
Is it enough,
To kill the fleas?

They sting twice as hard
They’re battle scared
Those robot bee-ee-ee-ee-ees

Robot bees, fought on Mars apocalyptically
They went and saved humanity
Oh robot bees beat zombie fleas
robot bees beat zom-bie fleas….

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mark Hepworth, Stuart Gale, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, ULTRAGOTHA, Carl Slaughter, Arnie Fenner, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

27 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/6/18 The Scroller You Tick, The Pixeler You File.

  1. Evening. Definitely not morning. At least not here.

    Why didn’t anyone warn me away from The Good House by Tananarive Due? That it is too dark? Too much really bad stuff happens? That it is not at all my and of book?

    Unwarned, I acquired the audiobook. And can’t stop and am nearly done and I still don’t know if the dog survives…

    You should all have warned me that it was too good for me to be able to stop when I realized it was too dark for me.

    That’s a fair and reasonable expectation, right?

  2. Lis, I am not in any condition to respond, as I have just enough self-possession to realize that I was looking for a way to turn your query into something about bees. I should do my stretches and turn in.

  3. KipW wrote:
    “I have just enough self-possession to realize that I was looking for a way to turn your query into something about bees.”

    Custom-made Beespoke humor?

  4. Beestalk!

    Apparently I’m 59% through The Way of Kings – which, judging by the Kindle equivalent of pagecount, means I’ve read almost twice the material of an average length novel, and even most doorstops would be starting to wrap things up around now – but it feels like the plot hasn’t even started. There’s certainly sparks of compelling worldbuilding and political tension here and there (and even the occasional interesting character moment, though not from any of the leads), but most of it has been grindingly dull scenes of men fighting in a really stupid war 🙁 I don’t understand this at all…

  5. 2) I caught the first episode of The City and the City last night – I was favourably impressed, on the whole. David Morrissey gives a good solid performance in the lead, and I liked Mandeep Dhillon as his potty-mouthed sidekick.

    They’ve done some interesting things with the direction and the camera work – the two cities have a distinctive look, with Beszel all slightly grubby and sepia-toned, while Ul Qoma is cooler and brighter… but they add to the feeling of obfuscation by the way shots are framed; a lot of the shots have sections of the screen obscured in some way, by shadows or objects in the way. There’s a neat bit where Borlu is talking to a guy in a cell, and the guy leans back and nearly disappears from view, behind an angle in the wall behind him that the viewer doesn’t notice until he does that. There’s a continuing sense that we’re not seeing everything there is to see – which is very apt, of course.

    There are some false notes, I guess. The random diacritics stuck over letters in the Beszel signage reminded me of nothing so much as “Gellerese”, the phony generic-Eastern-European script used in the old Mission: Impossible show to indicate the team was in Furrin Parts. But, by and large, it’s a good start, and I hope it carries on just as strongly.

  6. Was Youtube diving for bee material when I stumbled over this:

    Gloriously weird.

    ETA: since the embed didn’t. Orkestra Obsolete play New Order’s Blue Monday on 1930’s instruments.

  7. Just finished Crash Override and it was a bit mess of a book. A little bit of biography, but not very much. Part history of gamergate, but kind of incomplete and missing much. A kind of handbook with tips on when you are the target of online mobs, and it gave me a few things to ponder. But the most important was the enormous impact the hate movement gamergate had on one persons life and how a person without a celebrities protection really can’t afford to be open about everything.

    Not sure how to rate this one. Glad she seemed to have had fun at Worldcon anyhow. Hope she will this year too.

  8. (6) Thanks for posting about the Muddy Colors workshop scholarships! I’ve never heard of this, and I’ve FWD’d the info to my niece, for whom this wold be a perfect fit.

  9. Lis, Jeff, I appreciate your efforts to stay sane in a world gone apiary. It’s like there’s some huge sting going on in the hive mind.

  10. 2017 Novel Reading Part 5 (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4)

    In Evil Times by Melinda M. Snodgrass
    [The Imperials Saga #2]
    Synopsis: In The High Ground, a class of space academy cadets managed to thwart an attempted takeover of the space station and kidnapping of the Emperor’s heir, a young woman who bucked centuries of tradition by attending the all-male academy and becoming a pilot in order to prove her fitness for succession. A decade on, they are now officers in the Solar League space force, posted on various battleships throughout the galaxy. One of them, who had been a scholarship student from a poor family, finds that becoming an officer has not stopped his noble-born colleagues from continuing to target him for harassment and worse. The heir to the throne, forced by politics into an unhappy marriage with a fellow officer of noble birth, faces challenges by those who object to her presence in a traditionally-male military force. And after the crews to which they belong are ordered to engage in forced “assimilations” of settlers on colony worlds, each of them comes to question the rightness of the military and the government of which they are part. When the common-born officer witnesses a horrific event that threatens the fragile peace between humans and aliens, the heir to the throne must decide where her loyalties really lie.

    What I thought: The High Ground is very good — it’s definitely “18-year-old cadets stop terrorists” competency porn, but the second book, In Evil Times, picks up 10 years later, so there’s lots of character development and political machinations going on, with a hefty dose of action and adventure. Although it’s a series, each book tells a complete story. There’s a related story, “The Wayfarer’s Advice”, in Neil Clarke’s Galactic Empires anthology, which takes place later in the timeline, and is quite good as a taster for the series. The third book, The Hidden World, will be out in July.

     
    The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire
    [October Daye #11]
    Synopsis: Life has finally settled down for October Daye. The cure for elf-shot has been approved, and is being used to bring back fae who were previously doomed to sleep for 100 years. The new Queen in the Mists has grown into her role, and the kingdom is running well. All Toby has to do is plan her wedding to the King of the Cats, and spend time with her family, who are all the more precious to her for having nearly been lost. Of course it’s too good to last: Toby’s capricious, negligent mother appears and demands her help in finding another daughter who’s been missing for over a hundred years — and she takes Toby’s loved ones hostage in order to force her unwilling cooperation. If Toby can’t find her half-sister, who disappeared in 1906, her mother will not hesitate to punish her failure by destroying everyone she loves.

    What I thought: This is another satisfying entry in the series, which will almost certainly please fans but probably leave people who are unfamiliar with the books utterly lost. The author always manages to hit my sweet spot with just the right level of snark in this series, and I feel as though the major characters are part of my “gang”, even if I don’t always like them as people (for wildly varying values of “people”). I don’t particularly care for Urban Fantasy or Mythic Fantasy, and yet I still love this series.

     
    The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
    [The Interdependency #1]
    Synopsis: In the far future, humanity has left Earth to create a glorious empire. The empire’s outposts are utterly dependent on each other for resources, relying on extra-dimensional pathways between the stars which connecting world and enable trade. But pathways are changing course or disappearing, which could plunge every colony into fatal isolation. A scientist will risk his life to inform the empire’s ruler. A scion of a Merchant House stumbles upon conspirators seeking power. And the new Empress of the Interdependency must battle lies, rebellion and treason. Yet as they work to save a civilization on the brink of collapse, others have very different plans.

    What I thought: I prefer an SF story to have good science in it — but I’m quite willing to overlook a bit of dodgy or handwavy science, if the story is engrossing and the characters seem real to me. This is a novel positing a pretty-much-unbelievable phenomenon of interstellar “jetstreams” which permit FTL travel among distant star systems. But the story and characters are such rollicking great fun that I enjoyed it massively and didn’t mind the handwavery. I gave it 4+ stars and will happily pick up the sequel, The Consuming Fire, which comes out in October.

     
    Tomorrow’s Kin by Nancy Kress
    [Yesterday’s Kin #1]
    Synopsis: The aliens have arrived… they’ve landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They’ve come to ask for help — because the disaster which will hit Earth in ten months is going to hit their planet, too. In this “Separated at Birth” tale, a human geneticist who has made a groundbreaking discovery in mitochondrial DNA research is singled-out by the aliens to be part of a joint research team. But while other members of the team are engaging in research to help stop the apocalypse, the geneticist is assigned to a very different project: to identify those humans who are distantly related to the aliens — and the aliens have their own hidden agenda regarding their distant cousins. Interspersed with the alien storyline is one detailing the dysfunctional dynamics of the geneticist’s own family: their struggles with themselves and with each other — drawing an interesting contrast with the different types of relationships, both among humans and between the humans and aliens.

    What I thought: The first half of this novel consists of the 2014 novella Yesterday’s Kin. I have to admit that I thought the novella was great, and was eagerly anticipating the novel — but I didn’t feel that the second half really delivered on the promise of the first. Nevertheless, I will be reading the sequels — If Tomorrow Comes, which was just released, and Terran Tomorrow, which will be out in November.

     
    All Good Things by Emma Newman
    [The Split Worlds #5]
    Synopsis: A couple of centuries ago, the World was split to protect humans from the much-more-powerful Fae. Now the Fae reside in their land of magic, Exilium, which is separated from the mundane world by the Nether, a mirror-image version of Mundanus where society is frozen in that of Regency/Victorian times and populated by the people who chose to leave the real world and serve the Fae in exchange for near-immortality. When she was younger, child of nobility Catherine managed to escape to the real world, where she built a modern, independent life for herself before being dragged back to the Nether for a forced marriage to one of the other noble families. Since then, she has escaped from domestic abuse and is working to lesson the oppression of women in the Nether, with the assistance of a friendly Arbiter sorcerer and a powerful renegade sorceress — who may or may not be trustworthy.

    What I thought: This is final book in the series, bringing together all of the threads fromt the previous four volumes in a satisfying conclusion. The author avoids fairy-tale endings in exchange for realistic human messiness. The characters are well-developed, and the worldbuilding well-realized, but this book can only be appreciated when read in sequence after the other four.

     
    Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař
    Synopsis: This is the story of an astronaut sent on a current-day space mission by the Czech Republic as a way for that country to prove that it deserves equal stature on the world stage. However, once the mission is underway, he is visited in his spaceship by a ridiculous talking apparition / alien which may or may not be real, as his sanity completely disintegrates.

    What I thought: On page 1, the astronaut brags about having deliberately dehydrated himself (which increases the risk of impaired cognition and slowed reflexes), because he’s so egotistical that he doesn’t want to make his historic speech upon reaching orbit with wet astronaut diapers. And it’s downhill from there. In the next 50 pages, we learn: there is only 1 astronaut, not a class of 3 or more in case any of them become ill or wash out for some reason; that astronaut, rather than being the usual expert in 2 or 3 specialties (such as piloting, navigation, medicine, chemistry, computers, robotics, etc) and in superb physical condition, is an academic with one specialty, astrophysics; he was selected for being a celebrity rather than professional and temperamental suitability; he has had less than 6 months of training as an astronaut; he is a hair’s-breadth from full mental illness, because psychological stability was not a criterion in his selection; and he is simultaneously very concerned and not concerned at all about the danger posed by loose food crumbs flying around the cabin of the spaceship.

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of how bad the science in this psychological horror novel marketed as a “science fiction” book is. As a bonus, throw in some dodgy cosmology and astrophysics. Filers, I am the one who loves the space operas in which many of you poke scientific holes, and this one stomped on my notoriously-generous willing suspension of disbelief so hard that it still hasn’t completely recovered. This novel is what happens when an American MFA grad student (who emigrated from Prague as a teenager) decides that their novel will be science fiction, but that there is no need to do any actual research for the novel, nor to acquire a beta-reader with a science background to provide scientific accuracy. (I checked the Acknowledgments: there’s one “Dr.” listed, and they’re an assistant professor of literature with a PhD.) Curious to see whether other readers had a reaction similar to mine, I Googled and discovered that not only is the science part of the book awful, but (according to some Czech readers) the author has apparently butchered Czech cultural history due to lack of research as well. The only recommendation I can make for this book is to burn it in a very, very hot fire.

     
    The Ice by Laline Paull
    Synopsis: It’s the day after tomorrow and the Arctic sea ice has melted. While global business carves up the new frontier, cruise ships race each other to ever-rarer wildlife sightings. The passengers of an Arctic wildlife cruise ship have come seeking a polar bear — but instead they witness a dead body as it is disgorged from a disintegrating glacier. An inquest is called into the circumstances of the death of the man three years before in a cave-in on the glacier; he was the pro-environment business partner of an Arctic business entrepreneur who managed to escape that cave-in and survive. But is the story the survivor told at the time what really happened? And what has really been going on with his Arctic business during the last three years, while he’s been ignoring it in a state of denial?

    What I thought: This is a political mystery, not SFF; the only speculative element is that melting of the polar ice has progressed even farther than it has today. Nevertheless, I found it interesting enough to read the whole thing. Recommended if you’re into political mysteries which closely reflect current global political and corporate machinations. If you’re looking for science fiction, you’ll probably be disappointed.

     
    A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis (collection)
    Synopsis: This collection of 12 Christmas-related stories is an expanded version of Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. It contains 3 novellas which have never before been collected: All About Emily, deck.halls@boughs/holly, and Now Showing; plus the novellas All Seated on the Ground and Just Like the Ones We Used to Know which were in other collections, but not in Miracle. (The Miracle short story “The Pony” is missing.)

    What I thought: The author has a particular style which I enjoy, but which is not necessarily appreciated by everyone, and Christmas stories are not universally appreciated, either — but these mostly tend to focus on humanism rather than religion, with thoughtful themes lightened by humor. Willis fans who are completists, or who have not read one or more of the 5 additional novellas, will want to grab this. Readers who have only read one or two of her stories but enjoyed them might find the stories in this collection very entertaining. All About Emily is my particular favorite here, and one which even those who are not Willis fans might appreciate.

     
    Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen
    [Waypoint Kangaroo #2]
    Synopsis: On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner — code named “Clementine” — might have information about who’s behind the sabotage. But the informer will only deal with Kangaroo’s personal physician — a former military doctor, who was once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies the doctor as a courier, smuggling the informer’s payment in the pocket universe that only he can use. What should be a simple infiltration is hindered by the nearly one million tourists celebrating the anniversary of the first Moon landing. And before Kangaroo and the doctor can make contact, Lunar authorities arrest her for the murder of a local worker. She won’t explain why she met the victim in secret or erased security footage that could exonerate her. To make things worse, a sudden terror attack puts the whole Moon under lockdown. Now Kangaroo has to get the informer to talk, clear his doctor’s name, and stop a crooked scheme which threatens to ruin approximately one million vacations and the historic Apollo landing site.

    What I thought: This is the sequel to Waypoint Kangaroo, and I loved it. It’s definitely in my list of Top 10-ish novels from 2017. I’ve mentioned before that I have a somewhat low tolerance level for what I call “tryhard humor” — humor in SFF which is trying so hard to be funny that it just falls flat for me, and gets annoying really fast. I’m pretty sure that I would read Chen’s grocery list if he published it, because he manages to hit my sweet spot with just the right amount of snark and sly humor without going over-the-top of my tolerance. YMMV. As promotion for this novel, the author created a small website and embedded clues in the book cover for fans to find a “secret” URL where they can play a text adventure prequel to the novel. You can find a brief explanation and all the clues you need here. I managed to get through the game to a successful end, and found it enjoyable.

     
    Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns
    [Shieldrunner Pirates #1]
    Synopsis: Faced with crippling student-loan debt and a need to make themselves financially-secure, a computer systems expert and her ex-soldier partner decide to ditch their mundane, subsistence-level future and hijack a colony supply ship, using it to buy their way in to a successful space pirate gang headquartered on the abandoned Barbary Station. But the station isn’t the pirate paradise they’ve been led to believe: the pirates and the colony of refugees who’ve each staked out a home on the station are trapped there by a station AI which perceives them as hostile forces, and will neither let them live in peace nor let them leave.

    What I thought: There’s a pretty good action story here, with some really interesting worldbuilding. But I have to admit that I found all the “Babe” this and “Babe” that dialogue between the two main characters, who are in a relationship, really saccharine and annoying, and these are the only two of the characters who really get any character development. However, I still found the book worth reading. The second book in the series, Mutiny at Vesta, will be out in October.

     
    The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear
    [The Lotus Kingdoms #1]
    Synopsis: The Lotus Kingdoms are the scattered remains of a once great empire, small kingdoms each with their own rulers, and with widely-varying geographies and resources. Such a setup means that the rulers of the poorer, more desolate lands covet their richer neighbors, positioning themselves to take advantage of any momentary weakness. Two mercenary-adventurers are escorting a trade caravan, with a secret second mission: to bring a powerful sorcerer’s message to the young ruler of one of the wealthier kingdoms. As they approach their destination, they realize that they are riding into an impending war.

    What I thought: I was able to read and enjoy this without having read the earlier Eternal Sky trilogy, which took place in the same world, but centuries before this one. I enjoyed it enough that I am now going to pick up the original 3 books. There is excellent worldbuilding here, but this is very much a setup novel, and is not really a complete story on its own. However, I will definitely be reading the subsequent books in the series. Those who dislike being left hanging might do well to wait until the next book has been released.

  11. 4) And how many people from fandom are they interviewing?

    9) “I’m sorry Dave, but I cannot allow you to jeopardize this holiday…”

  12. The woman who plays “Dr. Smith” is the significant indie actor Parker Posey, so the show could prove quite interesting.

  13. UK filers: per Adam Whitehead all four eps of The City and The City are available on iPlayer right now. I’m away otherwise I’d be grabbing snacks and settling in for a binge watch.

    (Non-UK filers: no idea when you get it, sorry)

  14. @JJ I liked the first Imperials book. Sounds like I might like the second book more…I really liked All Good Things, and The Stone in the Skull, too.

  15. JJ: You’ve reminded me to put Waypoint Kangaroo on my wish list (Which doubles as my “Now what books am I forgetting I wanted to read?” list…)

  16. JJ: I also recently read Tomorrow’s Kin. I liked it and it’s well-written (of course) but not another Probability Sun (which has her best character IMO). I’m eagerly waiting for the next book to out in softcover.

    I read and liked David D. Levine’s Arabella and the Battle of Venus as well, the 2nd book of the trilogy. The only thing is that some readers may not like one particular aspect of the ending.

  17. I love the Arabella books! My favorite reading material for annoying places like airplanes because I get transported right into the regency-barsoomian madness.

    Also loved the Bee-tles filk. Since Timothy didn’t make it to the list (probably due to some Australian conspiracy) I’ll have to cast my vote for Camestros.

  18. @JJ: Thanks for the reviews! I’m very grateful to the people who nominated the Toby Daye books for the special Best Series Hugo last year, since I would almost certainly never have tried them otherwise. Urban fantasy isn’t usually my thing, and I hadn’t really liked the stories from the series that had been finalists in past years. However, I read the first book, liked it enough to continue with the series, and ended up reading them all. So, thanks, nominators!

  19. (13) GUARDING THE GUARDIANS.

    One of the characters in the original comic book, The Boys, was based on actor Simon Pegg (before he got famous). Pegg himself was probably out of Amazon’s price range, so we’ll be seeing Jack Quaid playing Simon Pegg. 🙂

  20. @JJ: In addition to the caution about needing the previous four books, I’d caution people starting this against reading #4 (A Little Knowledge) if #5 is not on hand; I dropped #4 halfway through because I dislike cliffhangers and could see that this one was going to be be especially dire. (#4 is mostly the same people but enough of a new arc from #’s 1-3 that a reader could stop at #3.) Newman’s Fae aren’t quite as nasty as Pratchett’s, but they’re (mostly) smart-nasty rather than stupid-nasty which makes them much more dangerous — not to mention various other dangerous groups.

  21. @JJ: Thanks for the novel reviews! And thanks for answering a question in the back of my head – whether Tomorrow’s Kin is a sequel to or an expansion of the original novella or what exactly. Now I know. Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading several on your list (including that one).

    I also loved Kangaroo Too (I enjoyed the first a little more), but tonight, at least, I’m not smart/patient enough to try to figure out the secret URL. Maybe I’ll take a look next weekend. Thanks for mentioning it, though; I don’t believe I knew about that thing!

    @Lenora Rose: Waypoint Kangaroo! 😀 Waypoint Kangaroo! 😀 Waypoint Kangaroo! 😀

    😉 Ahem, sorry, I got carried away. That’s so two years ago. I meant to say: In Other Lands! In Other Lands! In Other Lands!

    ::blush:: I’m coming on too strong, huh.

    ETA: Waypixel Scrollaroo? In Other Scrolls?

  22. Mark on April 7, 2018 at 12:53 pm said:
    UK filers: per Adam Whitehead all four eps of The City and The City are available on iPlayer right now. I’m away otherwise I’d be grabbing snacks and settling in for a binge watch.

    (Non-UK filers: no idea when you get it, sorry)

    I loved it. I found the first part slightly awkward, but by the end I was completely won over. I wonder what language they used for Illitan?

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